Technology plays a crucial role in almost every business, but the pace of advancement exceeds the pace of skills development, simply because it takes time to learn new software or a new language. However, this leaves nearly three-quarters (72%) of businesses with a crippling skills shortage.
Whether your business was built around technology from the start, or adopted new technologies into an existing business model, every organisation needs the right tech skills to succeed. Our latest report, Demand for Tech Talent identifies the most prevalent issues and reveals the latest tech hiring trends.
Which technology jobs are the hardest to fill?
Almost all companies have hired tech employees over the past 12 months, with demand falling in line with trends within the sector. Pressure for businesses to protect their business and customer data means that information security roles, continue to be the most in demand with 59 per cent of businesses hiring for new team members in the past 12 months. Software development and cloud computing roles have also been popular.
However, the roles that are most in demand are not those that are the hardest to find. Tech managers are most likely to have trouble hiring for architecture, leadership and cloud computing roles.
The picture is not the same across all businesses. Software development roles are much harder for tech-adapted companies (those who have introduced technology to an existing model) to fill. Born-tech companies will usually have their own tech-stack, which allows more opportunities for DevOps talent to be creative and to progress in their field.
How are tech businesses retaining and attracting staff?
More than two-thirds (69%) of tech leaders have noticed an increase in the number of employees resigning in the past 12 months. While it is always important to retain existing employees with valuable skills, in a tight, candidate-driven market, it becomes even more costly and time consuming to attract top talent.
Businesses are pulling out all the stops to retain team members, with the majority focusing on shorter-term solutions like increasing salaries and reviewing pay brackets (38%) and promoting workers where it is appropriate to do so (35%). While this may work for now, other elements like corporate culture, working arrangements and flexibility will have a role to play in the longer-term.
For those who are looking to increasing headcount or fill open roles, salary is no longer the only factor to consider. While offering a competitive salary is essential, businesses are highlighting opportunities for progression, offering equity or share schemes and increasing paid holiday to differentiate themselves from others.
Remote, hybrid or office: what is the best option for tech workers?
Tech companies and departments were ahead of the curve on remote working, but more than a quarter (28%) of tech leaders whose companies were offering remote working before the pandemic have now abandoned it in favour of a hybrid model.
While remote working was a novelty before the pandemic, the dream became a nightmare for some during periods of lockdown. The desire for face-to-face contact is partly driving the move to hybrid working, but the pandemic also highlighted existing issues that are leading tech leaders to shift their approach.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of tech leaders agree that remote working impact opportunities for junior team members to develop new skills as they are less able to learn from or check work with more experienced staff.
The lack of face-time is also a concern for tech managers when it comes to cultural and pastoral issues – it is harder to identify signs of mental health issues, burnout and employee dissatisfaction when workers can hide behind a screen – so a move to hybrid can help to protect both workers and business interests.
A growing focus on corporate values and ethics in tech
Consumer scrutiny on businesses has been on the rise for decades, and this is doubly true when people consider where they want to work. Nine in 10 (90%) tech leaders who personally interviewed someone in the past 12 months were asked about the organisation’s impact, what it stands for and how it supports their staff.
From overarching concerns about environmental, social and governance policies to more specific interests like sources of funding or negative publicity, businesses need to be prepared to answer candidates’ questions, and to back up their answers with evidence.
Organisations are rising to the challenge, with 78 per cent recognising that having strong corporate values is essential for retaining and attracting talent. Many are strengthening their ESG programmes, either by enhancing their strategy, making information more accessible or hiring staff to enact new activities. Others are creating employee network groups, improving employee experience or reviewing suppliers, to ensure that the business is as ethical as possible.
More investment funding is being spent on recruitment and upskilling
Whether just starting out or well-established, increasing headcount is one of the most common ways businesses can achieve growth. It can help to broaden capabilities, enhance productivity and ultimately boost profits and revenue.
When it comes to spending private equity and venture capitalist funding, it comes as no surprise that recruitment is a priority to 42 per cent of businesses, second only to research and development plans.
The specific hires made vary based on business size, with smaller companies more likely to look for leadership and business intelligence talent that can help to set the direction of the organisation. Larger organisations are more likely to prioritise cloud computing and information security talent, which can provide the infrastructure companies need to scale without risking customer experience or data safety.
Find out what our specialist team of technology recruiters have to say about the report:
The Demand for Tech Talent report combines data collected from a survey of 750 tech hiring managers in the UK with insights from our specialist technology recruitment team. Get in touch with the teams for permanent or interim hiring, or download the full report here for more.