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What is the state of play in the UK tech market in 2020?

Posted on 22/10/2020
by Nick Boulton

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Despite everything that has been thrown at us, I still expect a post-pandemic recruitment boom. 

I know that sounds bold, especially as we teeter on the precipice of yet another nationwide lockdown. But technology has played a crucial part in ensuring business continuity throughout these turbulent times. And with the rapid shift to remote working, every business has relied on it.

Strangely, the pandemic could be credited with bringing many business leaders up to speed with the future of modern technology and the people that power it. Seemingly impossible to imagine eight months ago, full-time WFH is now the new norm and on the whole, it seems business as usual. 

Perhaps a little context to back up my outlandish claims.

They say things come in threes, right?

Well, it seemed just as we had got our heads around IR35 (1) and got some clarity over the UK’s potential relationship with Europe (2) at the start of the year, CEOs and their management teams could finally look forward to slightly more certain times ahead….or so we thought. 

The Covid pandemic (3!) then struck out the blue, sending all markets into a tailspin and all bets were off!  

After years of sustained job demand, salary growth and a huge shortage of talent, the UK technology job sector took a hit. Job openings plummeted, unemployment soared, and uncertainty took hold. But once the dust had settled and businesses came to terms with how they needed to operate, technology hit back, businesses reinvented themselves, innovation returned, and technology started to lead the way back to the long road to recovery. 

Organisations have become far more dependent on technology as a result of the pandemic. For many businesses, having to adapt to remote working quickly forced them to rely on cloud-based technologies, video communication and remote software in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago.

So, what trends have we seen develop and what does this mean for the future of the technology recruitment landscape?

  • A wider geographical catchment 

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was widely believed that nearly half of all the UK tech talent worked in London. Remote working has brought technology roles to individuals outside of cities, meaning that businesses can cast their nets wider when searching for the best talent. 

For many graduates, especially those from local socio-economic backgrounds and even those who live further afield, a career in technology has previously been harder to achieve. However, the pandemic has opened the door for remote work, especially in tech roles where a computer and internet connection are all that is needed to succeed.

  • A more diverse workforce 

In a similar way to ending geographical restrictions, remote working could also provide that much needed extra layer of flexibility that will help improve diversity in the workforce. 

The technology market is notoriously lacking in diversity, with many campaigns over the years to get more women into technology failing. This new flexibility will help solve this.

Most candidates will expect a more flexible attitude to their working day after the pandemic, which means no more 9-5. Without this rigid work schedule, opportunities open up to a more diverse group of people. 

It’s no secret that a diverse workforce is more creative, productive and can benefit a business hugely.

  • Increased demand for specific skill sets.

Covid-19 has also accelerated the demand for particular skills and disciplines, specifically cloud and security roles. Software development, cloud migration and project management have been in huge demand. In terms of specific jobs, DevOps engineers, programme leads, software developers, solutions and network architects have topped that list.

They say everything is impossible until it isn't. The resiliency of the tech market has been on show throughout 2020, redefining what is possible in the world of work. Amid the gloom, there is much to look forward to. 

One final thing...

Don't miss our Women in Tech webinar on 4 November, where we'll be exploring what companies can do to both increase their pool of female technologists and ensure they grow and develop. Register you and your team here


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