The current tech skills shortage is a challenge for businesses in almost all industries. The shortage of Digital & Technology skills is proving particularly challenging within the UK technology sector.
Demand in the UK for experienced professionals has never been so high. Tech skills shortages are proving particularly problematic in the following areas:
- Software Development
- Data Analysis
- Project Management
- UX/UI Design
- Digital Marketing
- Data Science
With technology advancing at a rapid rate, even ‘traditional’ sectors like finance, property and insurance are employing more tech specialists. Fintech companies are becoming more commonplace, as is the use of AI in decision-making. The demand for individuals with this kind of knowledge exacerbates the tech skills shortage even further.
The Skills Gap Is Growing
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of STEM job vacancies is growing rapidly. Conversely, the findings show that there is not enough skilled and available talent to keep up with the demand. In the last quarter of 2018, the number of unfilled vacancies increased by 24.3 per cent compared to the previous year.
The ratio of job seekers, who are technology professionals, applying for relevant jobs has fallen to less than 1:1. The ONS figures show there are more vacancies available in the tech sector than candidates looking to fill them.
Education Isn’t Enough
Given the current skills shortage, newly qualified graduates are often under the illusion that they can walk straight into their dream job fresh out of university. Unfortunately, industry research reveals that the opposite is true. Approximately 20% of recent Computer Science graduates were employed in unskilled positions or remained unemployed for around six months after graduating. This highlights what has been described as a “disconnect between recruiters’ wishes and graduates’ situations.”
A separate study reveals how access to labour and skills is a major concern to businesses in the North West. With the rise of the Northern Powerhouse, the region is set to create more jobs in 2019.
The annual employment trends survey, conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), found the following interesting statistics:
- 44% of over 100 businesses in the North West expect to grow their workforce this year
- 63% of businesses surveyed say that limited access to labour is threatening their competitiveness and growth
- 84% of North West businesses admit they are struggling to find the skills they need for their business to succeed
So how can candidates use the current tech skills shortage to their advantage?
- If you’re a fresh graduate, your degree alone won’t be enough for you to land your dream job. Unpaid work experience in the short term may not seem ideal but may help you go further in the long term. Despite the tech skills shortage, young people often find that the only way to acquire specific technical skills is to gain unpaid commercial experience within the tech industry.
- Maybe you don’t have a degree? Assess your long-term career goals and plan your route to success. For example, you may currently work in Tech Support but aspire to be an Infrastructure Engineer. Speak to your manager about the possibility of training. It’s often cheaper for an employer to invest in training existing employees than it is to hire someone who is fully skilled.
- Thinking of a career change? Now could be a perfect time! You don’t have to go to university anymore to achieve your dreams. There are plenty of credible online learning institutions which allow you to gain a recognised qualification at your own pace. Passion and determination go a long way these days.
- Build an online portfolio. What better way to demonstrate your skills to a potential employer than creating your own space on the internet to display your wares? Having your own website or being an active member of the GitHub community is often worth more to an employer than qualifications.
- Work on your soft skills. In a market where technical skills are scarce, soft skills such as eagerness to learn, the ability to work well with others, good time management and a strong work ethic will boost your chances of getting hired.
Investing in your skills and development in the short term may pay dividends in the long term.
How Recruitment Consultants Can Help Skilled Candidates Find Their Dream Job
When the tech industry is suffering due to IT skills gaps, many jobs never get advertised. In fact, some of our higher-profile technology employers stipulate that we must not advertise their job roles. In cases like this, consultants must purely rely on their headhunting and networking ability to place skilled workers with their ideal tech company.
Our specialist IT recruitment consultants get to know our candidates thoroughly, and provide them with invaluable advice and insider knowledge. Our aim is to help them find a job that is best suited to their experience, qualifications, expectations and career aspirations.
If you’ve looked at our list of advertised roles and not found anything matching your specific skills, it’s still worth registering with us. We have the digital technology to keep you updated the moment a job becomes available that we think you would be a good match for.