The rise of the Specialist - Why the IT sector needs skills to continue growing

By Phil Piper

The IT marketplace is an amazing place to be for a good candidate. For every skilled, experienced tech candidate we have through the door, there are three times as many interesting, dynamic employers ready to hire them. Candidates literally have their pick of the technology bunch.

It’s hard to pick a specific role that recruiters are on the lookout for. At Search, we saw a slight, short-term dip, which coincided with the initial unease around the Brexit vote. Businesses were still looking to hire for the roles which keep the cogs running and operating efficiently, but not so much for senior people. That’s now back up to standard. Our opportunities cover all roles and seniority levels, from project management and development to security, across all sectors.

Most businesses are now digital businesses. Technology may not be linked to their core offering or service but it sure does help most businesses deliver on their promise. Whilst other qualifications may only be required in certain verticals or industries, tech specialists are required across the board, providing a great host of interesting and diverse opportunities. This can involve anything from optimising workforce operations, running ecommerce sites, managing networks or protecting data.

It’s very much a candidate-led market in all areas. Candidates who realised early on that they should specialise within their chosen niche, whatever that may be, are in particularly high demand. Take security or business continuity as an example. These sectors will absolutely continue to boom. Data is the new oil. Businesses are justifiably obsessed with keeping it safe from harm and theft and they need the specialist staff onboard to do that. Leaders are betting their whole business on the quality and competency of these members of staff, so they need to know they are up to scratch.

The reason so many computer science graduates fail to find work after university, say many business leaders, is because education is providing too many generalists, not professionals in a specific discipline. It’s also about cultural fit. Character is what our team here base all our placements on. We know we are doing well when we don’t need to send over CV’s – just call clients and say: ‘we’ve got the person for you’.

As the sector continues to develop, the obvious growth areas to watch out for are AI and biometrics. If you are considering retraining, now is the time. A variety of bodies are encouraging and supporting people who want a role in technology. Rather than just putting bums on seats, the best recruiters also put themselves through the qualifications to fully understand the best way to place candidates and fill roles.

Tech hubs are developing in the coolest cities: with Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds and London some of those at the forefront. Due to the scales of the demand, salaries are also growing to make it possible to enjoy everything that these locations have to offer.

Technology is a unique industry. It doesn’t matter how long it will be around, the pace at which it evolves means it will always be new, cool and dynamic and that’s got to be a big pull. It is for us anyway.

About the Author

Phil Piper is a forward-thinking and goal-oriented recruitment expert with over 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. 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.

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