CWJobs teamed up with Milkround, graduate recruitment experts, to look into the future tech workforce and presented insights from over 600 young candidates on what they want from a career in tech, the impact of Covid-19 on tech careers and how employers can engage with Gen Z tech talent.
During this webinar, Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs, and Chris May, Sales Manager at Milkround, discussed:
- Insights on what Gen Z are looking for in a career in tech
- The impact of Covid-19 on young talent’s career views
- What attracts young candidates to a tech role and makes them stay
- Tips on successfully engaging with Gen Z more efficiently
Watch the webinar
Here are the key highlights from the webinar:
What Gen Z are looking for in a tech career
Dominic kicked-off the session with a positive stat from Tech Nation’s 2020 report, that 2.9 million tech jobs have been created in the UK in the last 2 years. He also shared that 72% of UK digital tech workers are over the age of 35. This is a big driver as to why the tech industry needs to do more and attract the younger generation in order to ensure a steady stream of talent for the future.
Chris then shared the state of play in the graduate recruitment market with statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, that of the 2.4 million higher education students in the UK, 282,000 study computer science, engineering and technology. He said that there is potential to attract even more talent into the tech industry from young candidates who want to retrain and start a new career in tech. Especially if we take into consideration that 42% of students and graduates would consider a career in tech if they had the opportunity to develop tech skills.
Our poll asking attendees ‘How have you found sourcing young tech talent this year so far compared to 2019?’ revealed that 65% found it easier, 17% found it more difficult and 17% said they found it the same.
We also asked attendees to share whether their companies offer tech skills training to new starters/employees. The results revealed that 69% offer internal training; 21% said no; 7% said they weren’t sure and 3% said yes, they offered external training.
Looking into responses from tech candidates, the top reasons to consider a career in tech are long term passion, a desire to understand how things work and remote working opportunities. Students and new graduates said they consider a career in tech because of a need for a new challenge, salary and benefits and tech innovation.
You only have to look at Microsoft recently announcing that their workforce of over 150,000 are being offered permanent work at home placements. Young tech workers are certainly in the right space if they’re looking for remote working opportunities.
Dom Harvey, Director at CWJobs
The impact of Covid-19 on career views
65% of tech candidates said that Covid-19 has impacted the way they see their careers. In addition, 43% of students and graduates don’t feel they can have the career they were planning. When looking at candidate confidence levels, 46% of young tech candidates feel confident they will secure the tech job they are looking for, compared to 33% of students and graduates.
Students and graduates’ biggest concern at the moment is their lack of experience. I think it’s nearly 60% of candidates that feel their biggest weakness at the moment is their experience to date. There’s a real opportunity to increase that confidence.
Employers need to consider the impact that the last seven months has had on students. They may have had their last year at university curtailed, they may have had internships cancelled in the summer. They really are coming to the market slightly less prepared than they have in the past.
Chris May, Sales Manager at Milkround
When discussing what impacts candidate confidence, too many candidates, not enough jobs, the current situation with Covid-19 and not having enough experience were the main factors.
We’re not doing a good enough job in saying what opportunities are out there. As a community, we’re not making enough of the opportunities surrounding IT in all businesses across the economy.
Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs
As a way of future-proofing a career in technology, Chris revealed that 60% of tech respondents have either retrained in the last year or are considering retraining in the next year. He shared that 1 in 2 students and graduates have taken a tech course in the last year, with the top tech courses being data analytics, coding and cyber security.
What attracts young candidates to a tech role and what makes them stay?
Dominic explained that previous CWJobs research found that the key factors that impact career decisions are:
- salary and benefits
- work-life balance
- career progression
- training and development
When asked why they want a career in tech, young tech candidates say that innovation, new challenges and learning new skills are among the top answers. Good benefits, stability, learning opportunities and exposure to new technologies are also listed.
Dom shared insights from the Universum 2020 Talent Insights report, which shows that Gen Z’s values are a career, financial, security, purpose, belonging, respect and impact. Gen Y’s values are a career, financial, ethics, lifestyle, purpose, training and leadership.
Dominic and Chris asked webinar attendees if their company offers a clear progression path for young tech talent?’ The results revealed that 56% said yes, 33% said no, and 11% said they were unsure.
When discussing what employers can do attract young candidates, Dominic highlighted how CWJobs’ video recruiting tool enables employers to hold live interviews, share notes with colleagues and send pre-recorded interview questions. He also mentioned Good&Co’s fit score, which can help employers better understand a candidate’s match to a specific role.
Engaging with Gen Z more efficiently
Dominic shared a list of companies that are leading the way in graduate tech recruitment.
It’s interesting for me to see MI6 up there and to see how much public sector companies have moved up, surpassing many private sector businesses in terms of their attractiveness to students. The NHS and the police also now ranked highly, specifically for their tech roles.
Dom Harvey, Director at CWJobs
He went on to talk about changing business culture and how there’s an opportunity for the tech industry to impact the way teams are built, work and innovate. He said that by tapping into new talent pools and championing diversity and inclusion, we can improve the sector for the better. Whether that is by forming internal groups for people to get together and collaborate or partner with the industry – TechUK, and TechTalent Charter are two organisations CWJobs works with to help address some key industry issues and share learnings.
Dominic also shared how companies can improve their job adverts. He said that salary information and location are the most important pieces of information that tech candidates want to see. He also highlighted CWJobs’ Instant Candidate Recommendations tool powered by Artificial Intelligence which helps companies discover talent that may not have applied to a particular role but are a good match to the role based on applications.