Tech talent market to tighten in 2015 – skills shortage, salary rises and investment to follow

02 February 2015
  • Employment within the UK technology sector will grow by 2.19% over the next 12 months
  • Nine in 10 (91%) IT leaders plan to increase technology investment
  • New projects include information risk & security, business intelligence, mobile solutions, application development and virtualisation
  • Almost a third (30%) of UK CIOs plan to increase salaries, with the average increase at 4%
  • Biggest salary rises are in security and data architect roles – but rises are even bigger in the US tech market

London, 2 February 2015 – Technology hiring is on an upward trajectory, with employment within the industry forecast set to grow at 2.19% this year1, nearly five times faster than the UK average, according to the 2015 Salary Guide from specialist IT recruiter Robert Half.  The market is being largely driven by a surge in IT upgrades, calling an end to years of under-investment in IT systems, plus technology advancements that are driving huge business change and new ventures, and the need to protect corporate data. 

According to UK CIOs2, the top reasons for increasing permanent headcount include new projects/initiatives, product/service expansion and domestic expansion.  There is particular demand for programme and project managers who are strong communicators, who can deliver large technology initiatives to enable business growth on time and within budget. 

Security is another business imperative driving growth in demand for skilled IT professionals.  The majority (93%) of CIOs indicated that the number of security threats detected by their firms has either increased or stayed the same in in the past year.  As a result, an average of nearly one fifth (19%) of a company’s IT budget is being allocated to security. 

Much of this expenditure is going towards hiring permanent and contract professionals, either by companies themselves or the growing number of risk consultancies and third party IT outsourcing services companies set up to address security issues. 

Technology roles with the biggest rises in the UK are chief information security officers (CISOs) at 5.7%, data architects (5.5%) and software developers (5.4%).  The same roles in the US have attracted even larger rises at 7.1% (CISOs), 7.2% (data architects) and 6.9% (software developers). This suggests that the relatively stronger economic recovery in the US coupled with its larger tech industry is fueling an even more acute shortage of skilled IT professionals in the US than in the UK.

IT roles expecting the highest UK increase and the US equivalent

Top 5 UK 2015 UK average UK % change 2015 US average US % Change
Chief information security officer £97,500 - £145,250 5.7% $134,250 - $204,750 7.1%
Data architect £58,500 - £76,750 5.5% $119,750 - $164,750 7.2%
Software developer £31,250 - £72,000 5.4% $ 85,500 - $136,250 6.9%
Development manager £53,000 - £99,250 4.5% $109,750 - $146,750 4.2%
Information security manager £72,500 - £95,750 4.5% $110,500 - $145,250 6.3%

Source:  Robert Half UK & US 2015 Salary Guides

Charlie Grubb, Associate Director at Robert Half Technology, commented: “Heavy investment in tech businesses and start-ups has brought exponential growth to the hiring market in this sector, while further initiatives and IT investment in non-technology businesses have compounded talent shortages.  Candidates with niche skills are finding themselves with multiple offers and counteroffers, with businesses increasing salaries to attract the industry’s top talent.  In fact, this month has seen the strongest demand for permanent and contract technology professionals in the UK for many years.

“Organisations recognise the importance of technology in building their businesses, whether that’s launching new propositions and business models, protecting against security risks or achieving regulatory compliance.  All of those initiatives require highly skilled IT professionals and that means offering competitive remuneration and acting quickly to make offers to secure top talent.

“It’s interesting to note the relative rises in salaries between the UK and the US for positions in demand such as CISOs and data architects.  Salaries are growing particularly strongly in the US, where Silicon Valley continues to absorb high levels of venture capital and where corporates are investing in technology to help build and protect their businesses.  We often find that where the US leads, the UK follows – and the investment in TechCity, TechNorth and wider technology projects will ultimately lead to an even tighter tech talent market in the months to come.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

1www.e-skills.com/research/research-themes/employment-and-recruitment/

2 About the 2015 Salary Guide

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

Information in the salary guides 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, job performance and training -- impact the salaries of permanent professionals as work histories develop. The Robert Half Salary Guides can be downloaded at roberthalf.co.uk/salary-centre

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500 and #1 in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s “World's Most Admired Companies” list (2015). Founded in 1948, the company has over 340 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.