Robert Half reveals top 10 roles for 2020 as businesses compete for digital specialists

Digital specialists remain in demand in 2020, as employers compete for the top talent to navigate rapid technological evolution in the midst of a continued skills shortage, reveals Robert Half UK.

London UK, 6 February 2020 – Digital specialists remain in demand in 2020, as employers compete for the top talent to navigate rapid technological evolution in the midst of a continued skills shortage, reveals Robert Half UK

According to our Salary Guide, 49% of business leaders believe digital transformation will have the biggest impact on their company over the next 12 months. However, more than two-thirds of employers (71%) admit to struggling to find candidates with the right digital capabilities needed to succeed, while an additional 41% are concerned about their ability to attract and retain talent over the coming year. 

With employment levels at record highs, the war for talent will continue apace throughout 2020, meaning employers must attempt to attract highly skilled workers in a competitive market. The top 10 most sought-after roles for the coming year and their respective pay brackets are listed below:

1.    Payments Manager (£40,000 – £69,000)
With consumer payment habits shifting, companies are required to continually evolve their finance systems. Payments managers who effectively oversee settlements, confirmation, reconciliations and investigations with strong commercial awareness and effective communications skills will be highly sought after in 2020. 

2.    Compliance Analyst (£36,000 – £65,000)
As ongoing regulatory developments look set to become an everyday element of business life, a cultural shift is needed to ensure compliance operates as a core ‘always on’ function of the team. Whether it is navigating the complexities of GDPR or adapting the EU regulations as they are adopted to UK law, compliance will be a key competency going forward.

3.    Infrastructure Architect (£65,000– £82,000) 
As cloud-computing grows in popularity, so too does the need for the accompanying infrastructure to support it. Infrastructure architects with the technical skills needed to design and implement such information systems are hugely in demand as more and more businesses make the transition to the cloud.

4.    Digital Marketing Manager (£42,000 – £68,000)
Companies focused on improving return on investment are increasingly looking to alternative revenue sources, such as developing an online sales strategy. For some firms, they are aware that without a strategic e-commerce solution they will lose their competitive edge, making the development of one a key priority for many and consequently fuelling the war for talent.

5.    Company Accountant (£31,000 – £52,000) 
Whether a business grows organically or via M&A, company accountants with the right expertise are becoming increasingly invaluable as they perform the accounting tasks for their organisation and provide general financial advice to their managing director, shareholders and managers. What’s more, as some business leaders consider the possibility of restructuring as a result of Brexit, the value of such accountants will only increase as they look to consolidate their accounts.

6.    IT Project Manager (£44,500 – £80,000)
As IT becomes an increasingly integrated element of business, IT project managers play a pivotal role supporting wider tech change across companies and are now often viewed as key business partners. IT project managers who can deliver projects on time, within budget and give consideration to the short- and long-term strategic goals of the business with both expert technological knowledge and heightened commercial awareness are finding themselves more attractive across a range of departments.

7.    Assistant Management Accountant (£28,750 – £40,000)
While many of the most sought-after roles are more senior positions with significant experience behind them, it is also important that firms attract talent early on in their careers. The offer of study packages is an enticement for junior talent and enables companies to coach and develop promising employees in order to nurture and secure later success for the business. Research shows firms who hire talent and provide on-the-job training are rewarded with increased business productivity and employee loyalty.

8.    Applications Support Engineer (£29,000 – £49,000)
Companies are looking for employees with the digital capabilities needed to implement, test and support web-based applications in order to maintain a technological edge over their peers. Like those occupying e-commerce and IT roles, this is another area becoming increasingly integral to forward-looking businesses who understand that such teams should be made up of employees that possess proven soft skills not solely technological expertise.  

9.    Procurement Manager (£47,750– £105,000)
Responsible for the selection of key business partners and vendors, as well as assessing any potential risks from these relationships, procurement managers seek to reduce, and control company spend. Where businesses find themselves in unfavourable economic positions wanting to protect their bottom line from sales erosion, procurement plays a key role.  Diligent procurement managers will be highly sought after throughout 2020 in order to ensure the efficiency of companies.

10.    HR Advisor/Senior Advisor (£25,000 – £42,000)
While digital and tech-related skills remain the top priority for many businesses over the coming year, do not underestimate the importance of the right senior HR advisor to oversee the overall success of a company. Charged with ensuring adherence to employment legislation and regulations, defining workplace culture and creating a positive environment for staff, they are key to ensuring employee engagement and improving retention rates. This will be crucial to survive the on-going talent dilemma.

Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, commented: “As the UK is propelled into the fourth industrial revolution, businesses are focused on attracting top professionals that can help drive technological advancement and maintain their competitive edge. With the rapid implementation of new technologies, such as automation, AI and machine learning, the skills needed to ensure a company’s digital evolution are in short supply – making the war for talent all the more competitive.

“Companies must attract highly-skilled professionals to bolster existing teams, while simultaneously identifying opportunities to upskill existing employees. Evaluating current remuneration packages, as well as offering wider incentives such as training and flexible working practices, are core to attracting the right talent to help secure your business for the future of work.”


Notes to editors
Salary information based on UK salary ranges presented in the Robert Half 2020 Salary Guide

About the Robert Half 2020 Salary Guide
Since 1950, Robert Half has produced Salary Guides to offer business owners, hiring managers and professionals information on prevailing starting salaries and insight into the latest employment trends. Companies consult the annual Salary Guide to determine appropriate remuneration for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, marketing and business support professionals at all levels.

Information in the Salary Guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed each year by Robert Half's recruitment consultants, along with the company's ongoing surveys of executives. Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors – such as seniority, work ethic, non-monetary benefits, job performance and training – impact the salaries of permanent professionals as work histories develop.

Download the Robert Half Salary Guide

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and