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Demand for tech workers by businesses outstrips rival sectors, as UK steps into cyber age

UK businesses are demanding more technology workers as the number of jobs and level of salaries advertised for the sector in 2019 increased rapidly, at a significantly faster rate than rival sectors, according to new data released today by Reed Specialist Recruitment (Monday 13 January 2020).

From analysis of 7.5 million jobs posted since the start of 2016, Reed Specialist Recruitment’s annual suite of salary guides found that technology was the fastest growing sector in 2019, with a 13.8 per cent increase in jobs posted and a 4.7 per cent increase in average salary. This was in contrast to a slowing number of overall roles advertised in 2019, following two years of solid growth. 

  • Advertised salaries across the UK increased by 3.5 per cent
  • Technology saw the highest increase in jobs advertised (13.8 per cent)
  • Most promising growth in jobs in 2019 include social media manager (58.4 per cent increase), MI analyst (41.1 per cent increase), maintenance engineer (26.1 per cent increase), and finance business partner (25.9 per cent increase)
  • Biggest salary increases last year included network security analysts (22.4 per cent), infrastructure security engineers (11.5 per cent), UI designers (7.5 per cent), supplier relationship managers in procurement (8 per cent) and engineering programme managers (5.6 per cent)  

Technology not the only sector showing growth

Technology was found to be posting roles at a much higher rate than the next nearest sector – engineering - which grew at 0.9 per cent, demonstrating that UK organisations are embracing the shift into the digital age.

Despite the significant growth of the technology sector, the highest rate of average salary increase was for hospitality and leisure workers at 6.1 per cent. This was followed by procurement roles (5.2 per cent). However, the technology sector holds a much higher average salary for its executive roles of £58,000 vs £31,000 for hospitality.

Tom Lovell, global managing director at Reed Specialist Recruitment, said: “2020 promises to be positive for many sectors across the UK. With continued record levels of employment, salaries are rising in response to skills shortages. This is particularly acute in the technology sector as digital transformation continues to be an area of significant investment. An aging workforce combined with a lack of new talent entering the engineering sector is also a challenge, leading to higher vacancy levels.

“Encouragingly we are seeing higher than average increases in salaries advertised in many of the lower level roles. This is a trend that I expect to continue through 2020, both in response to the increased national minimum wage, and also increasing take up of the real living wage. 

“In an ever changing and uncertain market the need for organisational agility and efficiency means that employers will need to be flexible in their approach to talent.  We expect to see companies increasingly seek to augment their core permanent skillsets with highly skilled temporary or interim workers to meet customer demands.”

Businesses recruiting to adapt to changing business climate

Of the salary increases identified, some roles have benefitted more than others in the last year with the biggest percentage of wage increases for below the £40,000 mark, including pastry chefs (28.2 per cent), catering managers (25.4 per cent) and payroll assistants (9.8 per cent).

For salaries above £40,000, roles with the highest salary increases include network security analysts (22.4 per cent), infrastructure security engineers (11.5 per cent), UI designers (7.5 per cent), supplier relationship managers in procurement (8 per cent) and engineering programme managers (5.6 per cent).

Tom Lovell continued: “In creating a great place to work employers need to consider important facets such as working environment, culture, flexibility, additional benefits and exciting projects, however getting the right pay rates is always a vital element. Our annual salary guides will help employers to understand the changing climate so that they can compete effectively in a talent-short market. 

“The guides also show how specific markets and sectors are responding to a changing political and commercial climate. It is no coincidence that talented pastry chefs are in demand, given an historic reliance on EU nationals and our changing relationship with Europe, meaning many chefs have returned overseas. In the wake of new GDPR rules and the ever increasing threat of cyber crime, talented analysts and cyber security specialists have seen their salaries soar. For instance, network security analysts have seen a 34 per cent increase in average salary since 2017 to £63,000. 

“To a less extreme degree, the importance of visual communications and better supply chain management sees UI designers and procurement supplier relationship managers secure healthy salary increases.

“In 2020, we expect the increase in the number of roles in technology, hospitality and procurement to continue. And emerging environmental issues are expected to create new, exciting roles for talented and strategically minded people within these sectors.”

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