After over a year of uncertainty in the employment market, UK tech workers now have their sights set on their next career move, with just one in three (29%) planning to stay in their current role in the next 12 months.
According to the Confidence Index 2021*, the impending ‘tech-xodus’ will be driven by numerous career changes. One in eight (14%) tech workers want to go for a role at a different company, whilst starting a tech business (11%), going part time (11%), changing locations (11%) and becoming a contractor (10%) are also being considered. Meanwhile, a small proportion of them (8%) are contemplating leaving tech altogether.
1,000 tech workers and 500 IT decision makers (DMs) were surveyed about their current and future views of the UK tech sector and revealed that the skills gap is an ever-growing concern. Almost half of UK businesses (46%) report they struggle to hire the tech skills they need, with Brexit slimming the skills pipeline even further (61%). As a result, over half (54%) say the skills gap has placed greater pressure on their technology workforce – an issue the industry must address.
The Covid effect
The findings come as the general outlook for the future of the tech sector remains positive. Confidence amongst the industry has held steady – dipping slightly from 81% to 79% year on year – with the role that tech workers played in keeping businesses afloat during the pandemic the biggest driver.
Given the tech sector’s significant contribution to the UK economy this last year, over half of tech workers (52%) experienced a boost to their job satisfaction. By maintaining business continuity and delivering new digital services, three-fifths (62%) say the tech department is now more valued by the board. In response, two-thirds are more likely to recommend a career in technology to others, and 60% plan to stay in the sector for longer.
However, tech workers fear this progress won’t be maintained in their current company as the UK emerges from the pandemic, offering a motivation for planned career shifts. Four in 10 (38%) tech workers worry their role will be less valued as business continuity becomes less of a priority, and the same believe job satisfaction will also decrease (38%).
Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs said: “The pandemic has transformed the tech department’s reputation, which is now seen as a fundamental driver of business success, and is valued by the board more than ever. Whilst tech workers feel this spotlight may be temporary, the truth is anything but. To avoid losing tech talent, companies across the UK are encouraged to champion the importance of their tech teams, and offer salaries and benefits packages that reflect the value they bring. Like healthcare workers, delivery drivers, supermarket staff and more, tech workers deserve to be recognised as the heroes they really are.”
A window of opportunity
Whilst the ‘tech-xodus’ looms, there is a key opportunity for businesses to build upon tech workers’ current confidence and attract talent on the move. But they’ll face stiff competition from other businesses, as 50% are looking to up their tech hiring over the next year.
With the battle for tech talent heating up, CWJobs’ research revealed the top elements that will help businesses attract, hire and build stand-out technology teams:
- Tech employees value working for companies that intertwine their technology and business strategies, with two-thirds (68%) saying it’s important to them that the board has a good grasp of digital.
- A third of those surveyed (31%) want their business to offer more mental health support, whilst two-thirds (63%) would like flexible working.
- Unsurprisingly, tech workers are calling for pay rises; there was a 55% increase in those wanting one year on year.
- With 38% of tech workers concerned their role will be less valued, businesses should reinforce how much impact their skills have on their business outlook. Salaries and perks should be reflective of this and communicated throughout job ads when hiring.
- As almost half (46%) of the IT DMs surveyed state HR teams lack the tech knowledge required to make the right hires, HR teams must be offered training to hone their tech-literacy.
Tom Lovell, Managing Director of TechSkills at techUK, adds: “The UK has always had a historically strong technology industry, which has only been amplified by the pandemic. However, with mass movement expected, now is the time for businesses to focus on attracting and retaining top tech talent across the country. CWJobs’ report highlights how tech workers remain crucial in building back the economy – therefore, closing the skills gap has never been more important.”
*survey from CWJobs