Thaw in investment freeze drives tech hires
Technology hiring is on the up, with employment within the industry forecast set to grow at 2.19% this year, nearly five times faster than the UK average, according to the 2015 Salary Guide from specialist recruiter Robert Half.
The company says that 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 CIOs, the main 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 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.
“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,” said Charlie Grubb, associate director at Robert Half Technology. “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.
Grubb continued: “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.”