Optimism among tech employees remains high with 77% saying they feel confident in the state of the UK tech industry.
This figure was revealed in the 2022 Confidence Index published by CWJobs. The report is based on research carried out from over 1,000 tech workers and over 500 IT decision makers across the public and private sector in May 2022.
However, there has been a continued decline of 2% year-on-year in confidence over the past four years - largely for universal reasons, as set out below - and we are yet to see signs of a return to pre-pandemic levels of 89% in 2019.
The report lists the top concerns of tech workers, these include:
- 19% - the ongoing impact of Brexit
- 18% - world events such as the war in Ukraine
- 17% - the impact of cost of living
Despite these concerns, the majority of tech employees, 57%, expect their salary to rise in the next 12 months and almost a quarter feel they deserve a promotion.
These expectations mean that employers need to focus on understanding what their tech employees want from a role in order to retain top tech talent, with only 24% of employees planning on staying in their current role for the next 12 months (down from 29% in 2021).
Smaller companies, like tech start-ups, are most at risk of losing staff with the trend of tech workers moving from smaller to larger organisations (500+ people) seen for the first time.
A key factor is upskilling. For every “no experience” tech and digital role advertised, there are approximately eight senior roles available, despite the fact there are more STEM graduates in the UK than there are entry-level roles in the industry.
Out of these reports, 26% believe that upskilling themselves in new digital or tech skills will allow them to earn more in the future. Of the 16% of respondents who picked up a new tech skill since the pandemic, people have chosen to learn coding or cloud technologies, whilst others have learned data visualisation skills.
Companies that focus on on-the-job training for future developers and tech leaders such as London-based Multiverse and Manchester-founded Academy are continuing to grow to help increase the talent pipeline. Tech companies including Amazon and Google have also launched digital skills programmes to train employees across the UK.
Competing for Tech Talent
There are three principle areas where you and your company can find an advantage and widen the available talent pool:
Remote Working – more than half (54%) of businesses in the IT sector said they were using, or intended to use, increased homeworking as part of a permanent business model in early April 2022, according to the ONS. This is a 23 percentage point increase from November 2020 to April 2022.
The most common reasons given were improved staff well-being, reduced overheads, increased productivity, reduced carbon emissions, the ability to recruit from wider geographic talent pool and the ability to better match jobs to skills.
Salaries - pressure on salaries is continuing to increase as the demand for highly skilled digital employees outstrips the supply many times over, especially in London, Oxford, the M4/M3 corridor and Cambridge.
If a company is able to compete on salary, this will be an advantage. According to the Confidence Index report, 23% of the business leaders surveyed are planning to increase the number of pay rises in the next 12 months and 30% said they plan to offer pay increases to help combat the rising cost of living.
Visa schemes – post Brexit, new routes to work in the UK have been launched including the Innovator visa; the Start-up visa and the Global Talent visa schemes for investors and business development talent.
Short term visas include the High Potential Individual (HPI) visa and the graduate visa allowing talent to work in the UK for up to 2 years.
Longer term visas include the Skilled Worker visa; the Senior or Specialist worker visa (Global Business Mobility) and dependant visas which allow individuals with sponsorship to work in the UK for 5 years with the option to extend the visa.
For tech employers operating in a candidate-driven market while negotiating a high level of market uncertainty, it is crucial to adopt a strategy to address each of these areas to maximise the talent pool and attract highly skilled, ‘business-critical’, specialist people.