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How the tech recruitment market has changed throughout 2022

In our latest webinar, an expert panel discusses the latest tech recruitment trends. Gain actionable insights into candidate expectations and how to maximise tech hiring.

Tech trends webinar on demand

CWJobs’ Tech Hiring 101 webinar presented key insights from UK IT professionals. The webinar was well represented with over 300 registrations from companies such as HMRC, Hays, and NHS Digital.

CWJobs’ Director, Dominic Harvey, was joined by Kimberley Cook, Software Engineer and Director at Codebar; Zoë McFarlane, Senior Insights Manager at StepStone; and Nimmi Patel, Policy Manager for Skills, Talent & Diversity at techUK.

The current state of the UK tech market

Dominic began the event by sharing some statistics about the current UK tech market. He highlighted that Tech Nation’s recent People and Skills Report found that more than 2 million tech vacancies have been advertised over the last year – more than any other area of the UK labour market.

He shared that in 2022, tech salaries are on average, 80% higher than salaries for non-tech jobs in the UK and that almost 80% of advertised tech roles are at a senior level.

According to research from Robert Half, the most hired for tech roles in the UK are information security, software development and testing, cloud, and infrastructure. The hardest roles to hire for are architecture, leadership, cloud and infrastructure.

In discussing the key trends in tech recruitment, Dominic revealed that after a slow start to the year, CWJobs recorded a huge uplift in applications per vacancy (APV), reflecting a high level of candidate activity. The platform saw a 67% APV uplift year-on-year and companies have seen a 211% APV increase year-on-year for Network Analysis roles.

Zoë commented: ‘‘The positive news is that candidates are coming back online. Average applications per vacancy continue to recover strongly as we move throughout 2022. Comparing year-on-year, we can expect two-thirds more candidates to be applying for roles now. We’re seeing the cost-of-living crisis having an impact on salaries but we’re also hearing that candidate confidence is driving a lot of these applications.’’

Digging deeper into demand for specific roles, Dominic shared that the top job postings from 2021 to 2022 for sub-disciplines in the UK market were Software Development, Support, and Infrastructure. Overall, the most posted roles on CWJobs in the first half of 2022 was Java Developer, Business Analyst, and .Net Developer.

The most applied for roles in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year was Business Analyst, Scrum Master, and Project Manager, and the most popular search terms on the platform in the first half of 2022 was Business Analyst, Project Manager, and IT Support.

Kimberley commented that the term ‘‘software engineer’’ is so broad that the skills needed by companies are really varied. She said that companies have different expectations for the role and so they need to be specific in their job ads.

Nimmi added that it’s important that employers are willing to include training information in their job adverts. She said that candidates need to feel they will be supported at every stage in the recruitment journey.

Candidate activity and salary expectations

In discussing the drop in candidate activity last year, Zoë said recovery for the tech sector has been significantly better than the recovery of the wider UK job market.

Dominic shared some insights from CWJobs’ Confidence Index 2022, revealing that 57% of tech workers expect their salary to increase over the next 12 months. He said that 24% of tech workers feel they deserve a promotion over the next year, and that 23% of senior leaders are planning to increase the number of pay rises in the next 12 months. Similarly, 30% of senior leaders plan to offer pay increases to combat the rising cost of living.

Nimmi commented: ‘‘I’m surprised that only 30% of senior leaders are offering pay increases – I’d expect this to be higher because we’ve seen such a huge need to retain talent. Surely it would be more economical to offer pay increases rather than to recruit new people?’’

Zoë added that there’s a real squeeze on salaries within the tech market. She said that two-thirds of all workers across the UK expect no pay increase, which is almost the polar opposite of expectations in the tech market.

Kimberley said that having salary security is really important at the moment. The cost of everything is going up. Because of this, working with a start-up could be seen as risky.

How to maximise tech hiring

Dominic commented that due to the workplace changing so significantly over the past two years, employee expectations have completely transformed. Sharing insights from CWJobs’ What Tech Workers Really Want 2022 report, he revealed that 49% of tech workers want flexible working options, 30% want clearer career progression, 21% have asked for mental health benefits, and 26% aspire to work with leading technology.

In discussing how to support employee wellbeing, Nimmi said that supporting staff with mental health benefits is a great retention strategy. She said that since the pandemic, she’s noticed companies have been treating mental and physical health as equal. It’s important to highlight mental health benefits in job adverts and reiterate them throughout workers’ careers through mental health awareness workshops, training, and through appointing champions.

Kimberley added: ‘‘Companies need to be aware that candidates talk about their experiences. People want to know that they’re going to feel safe and supported in a role.’’

Actionable advice to attract, hire and retain tech talent

The next 12 months will be critical for tech employers and recruiters to attract and hire the skills and talent they need to navigate the market challenges ahead. According to CWJobs’ Confidence Index 2022, 31% of IT decision makers will focus on hiring industry specific specialisms, such as cybersecurity (33%), and artificial intelligence (32%).

What’s more, 38% will focus on building diverse and equitable teams, and 39% will put a stronger focus on tech hiring to remain as competitive as possible. On a wider scale, 41% of companies will make better use of recruitment technology.

Dominic shared the following advice to help companies attract and retain tech talent: