Technology vs Skills - Part 1

By Phil Piper

In a recent interview with Manchester Evening News, I discussed how the UK’s technology sector is growing at a much faster pace in comparison to the number of new and skilled recruits needed to support and boost its expansion. In part 1 of my Technology vs Skills series, I highlight how the lack of skills is a real worry to the UK’s tech sector.

The scope of the shortage

According to a recent study released by the British Chambers of Commerce, three in four UK businesses have reported a digital skills shortage among their employees; despite 84 per cent of firms admitting that digital and IT skills are more important to their enterprise now than two years ago.

Currently, jobs are outstripping candidate availability. We are working within a candidate-driven market where any quality candidate looking for their next role will have the choice of a number of good opportunities. This is expected to accelerate throughout the remainder of 2017, especially in the interim and contract market following on from the uncertainly following the general election and the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

Our internal data alone shows that quality candidates will have a minimum of three opportunities running concurrently whilst searching for their next role. We are also seeing an increase in salaries and day rates as businesses vie for the best candidates.

Skills in highest demand

From security engineers to chief information security officers (CISO), good quality candidates are needed to fill an ever-growing client need. With less than a year to go until new general data protection regulations (GDPR) this need will only increase. The penalties for violations and loss of data are a genuine game changer and one that all businesses will want to keep away from.

Development is another area where the demand for skills is extremely high, especially across the languages of .Net, PHP and Java, and JavaScript. Cloud based technologies, DevOps and storage professionals also all remain in demand and our research and data shows that this will only continue throughout 2017 and 2018.

If you’ve worked in the technology industry or recruitment long enough, you’ve seen how open source has seized a significant slice of the market-share pie in a number of categories, including servers and smartphones. A rising number of companies now need tech professionals experienced in Linux and open-source. This means that IT professionals with the right blend of open source skillsets and experience can find employers anxious to employ them - provided the tech pros are certified and their skills are up-to-date.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series, where I discuss what employers can do to minimise the skill gap in the tech sector!

About the author

Phil Piper is a forward-thinking and goal-oriented recruitment expert with nearly 20 years’ worth of experience in the industry. He is currently the Director and Head of Search IT Digital & Change, managing teams across Manchester and Brighton, and recently expanding to Liverpool and Crawley. He has founded and continues to develop his Risk & Financial Crime recruitment team to cover regions across England. Phil is firmly committed to empowering his team through frequent communication, using his thorough industry knowledge to conceptualise and execute intuitive business strategies - both of which make him a strong leader in recruitment.

Are you an IT pro in search of your next role?

Search IT Digital & Change has an impressive track record of providing recruitment solutions to companies across both England and Scotland. We recruit for a broad range of perm and contract IT roles and specialisms with something for everyone. For specialised recruitment consultation, contact Philip Piper on [email protected] To find our full list of IT vacancies, simply…


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