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Confidence and job satisfaction among UK tech professionals remain strong in 2021

CWJobs’ latest Confidence Index reveals an optimistic future for the tech sector in 2021 and beyond. Although COVID-19 has clearly had a significant impact on the way companies operate and the overall workforce, we see boosted job satisfaction, responsibilities and purpose among tech professionals. Learn more about the current state of the UK’s tech industry and how you can future-proof your business.

CWJobs’ third annual Confidence Index 2021 addresses the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the tech industry and takes a deep dive into the current thoughts and feelings of IT professionals across the UK. We surveyed over 1,000 tech workers and over 500 IT decision makers (DMs) to gain insights into how confidence, job satisfaction and resilience are faring across the sector.This year’s report provides a wealth of valuable insights to help recruiters develop a robust hiring strategy and stay ahead of the competition. We reveal the tech skills that are driving confidence in the industry, the career plans of tech workers moving forward, and the factors that are influencing job satisfaction.

Tech skills ensuring business continuity

Confidence in the tech sector has remained stable, despite a slight drop (2%) year on year.Eight in 10 (79%) IT professionals said they are confident in the current state of the UK tech industry, with the primary concern being the impact of COVID-19.

The top three drivers of confidence in 2021 are the importance of technology in maintaining business continuity during the pandemic (30%), the technology being produced (28%), and the skills within the industry (26%).

Despite the sector’s confidence in its skillset, the skills gap remains a concern. Almost half of UK businesses (46%) report they are unable to hire the tech skills they need, with Brexit and IR35 reducing the talent pool for 61% and 18% of businesses respectively.

To help close the UK’s tech skills gap, CWJobs is urging the sector to focus on employee attraction and retention, as well as to develop digital skills as a top priority. Providing staff with ongoing training and the opportunity to upskill is essential to ensuring companies can meet the demands of tomorrow’s competitive marketplace.

Tech workers planning career moves

After over a year of uncertainty in the employment market, UK tech workers now have their sights set on their next career move. Just one in three (29%) are planning to stay in their current role in the next 12 months, with many considering other options like starting their own tech business (11%), going part-time (11%), changing locations (11%), becoming a contractor (10%), or leaving tech altogether (8%). We might conclude that time spent during lockdowns has made IT professionals reflect on their job security and career aspirations, prompting thoughts of future moves.

Boosted job satisfaction

Despite many workers planning to leave their current roles, overall job satisfaction remains high. Over half (52%) of the tech workers surveyed said they were satisfied in their jobs. We might surmise that this is down to the improved work-life balance that comes with being able to work from home and also the increased responsibilities tech workers had throughout the pandemic.

In fact, three-fifths (62%) of IT professionals say they have taken on more responsibility in their role and 57% are carrying out more meaningful work. As a result, 59% of IT professionals say they feel more valued by their business than before the pandemic

In being able to maintain business continuity, three-fifths (62%) say the tech department is now more valued by the board, and as a result, two-thirds are more likely to recommend a career in technology to others.

Demand for specialist skills

As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with business strategy, nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents believe demand for specialist tech skills will rise in the next five years.

According to our research, IT professionals believe the following specialisms will be needed to succeed in the tech industry in the next five years: artificial intelligence (39%), cyber security (36%), cloud (25%), internet of things (20%), and big data (18%).

Attracting top tech talent

In order to develop a strong talent pool, companies need to consider what attracts candidates to a role. Our research reveals that there’s a 55% increase in the number of tech workers calling for a pay rise. Also, 28% of tech workers want to work remotely full-time.

The report also reveals that digital fluency across the business is key to attracting talent. Two-thirds (68%) of tech workers say it’s important that the board has a good grasp of digital.

As a largely digitised industry, the tech sector inherently creates opportunities for employees to work outside of the office. Flexible working is one of the top motivators for employees in tech, so recruiters should draw attention to remote working opportunities to attract a larger talent pool.

Employer spotlight: Accenture

As one of the world’s leading technology consulting firms, Accenture has a strong focus on its digital skills programme. The company ensures it has the expertise – whether in AI, cloud, quantum or cybersecurity – to its clients on the pulse of industry innovation.

Like most businesses, Accenture recognises that the digital skills gap could affect its talent pipeline, which is why it has deployed its own digital expertise within the recruitment process.

Using data analytics, VR experiences and digital channels, Accenture’s recruitment cycle uses technology at every turn, and it has a clear impact on the development of its workforce.

Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs, says:

To avoid the ‘tech-xodus’, the importance of digital should be a permanent fixture amongst companies across the UK. Salaries and benefits packages should better reflect the value they bring, and tech strategies should be communicated to all employees. With wider factors such as Brexit and IR35 serving a triple blow to the industry’s talent pipeline, the future of the sector depends on it.

At CWJobs, companies can use programmatic ads to target a diverse pool of talent to fill roles faster. Our market insights provide unique insights into how to attract the necessary tech skills required for to futureproof businesses. Companies can also use their profile to promote the work they do in ensuring employee wellbeing, promoting diversity and inclusion, and providing training opportunities.

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Get the latest tech hiring insights to learn more on:

  • How tech workers feel about their roles, responsibilities, budgets and job satisfaction post COVID-19
  • What effect current market trends have on job security, career plans and in-demand tech skills
  • How businesses can leverage tech workers’ confidence and career prospects to increase employee retention, fill skills gaps and tap into new talent pools