UK tech jobs are proving to be a rare beacon of light in the wider job market, seeing the number of vacancies rise by 36% between early June and early August.
This is according to data from jobs website Adzuna, which was analysed by Tech Nation on behalf of the UK government’s Digital Economy Council.
It found that while the tech sector saw a decline in jobs advertised during lockdown, in line with other sectors, it has since rebounded. And while it has not yet reached pre-pandemic norms, with 90,297 jobs advertised in the week beginning 9 August compared to an average of 150,000 in the first three months of the year, it has grown to be the second highest sector for job vacancies after healthcare.
Tech jobs have also climbed 40% in the last two years, with the sector currently employing 2.93 million people.
In many areas of the UK, the sector is now leading for jobs, with nine cities employing a fifth of their workforce in tech. Cambridge and Belfast have the highest percentage of tech jobs out of UK cities, at 26%, with Edinburgh, Newcastle, Reading, Glasgow, Cardiff, Leeds and Bristol also being strong tech employers.
“For almost a decade the UK’s tech sector has been on a steady growth path, creating more startups and scaleups and attracting more venture capital investment each year,” said Gerard Grech, chief executive at Tech Nation.
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“The pandemic threatened that trajectory and hit some parts of the tech sector, as well as non-tech industries extremely hard. However tech companies have, in the last few weeks, found the confidence to begin hiring again. With digital adoption accelerating in every area of our lives, it looks likely that the tech sector will continue to be one of the best sources of new jobs this year and can provide the jobs of the future, right across the country.”
Top UK tech jobs
While tech jobs as a whole are rising in the country, certain positions and skills are more in demand than others.
Software developer is the most in-demand position in tech, joining key worker roles in the top five jobs for vacancies across all sectors.
Jobs requiring cloud skills have also climbed 22% since 2018, while jobs requiring knowledge of artificial intelligence or cybersecurity have grown 44% over the same period.
Notably, not all tech jobs require STEM skills. Client services, product management and scrum masters have all seen significant upswing, while data ethics positions have grown 31% within a year.
Tech salaries above average
Salaries for tech jobs are also higher than for many other fields.
For the whole of the UK, the average for tech positions was £39,000, compared to the non-tech median of £27,840.
This does vary significantly across the UK, however, with the lowest average for tech jobs being £28,500 and the highest – for jobs in London – being £55,000.
However, when taking into account varying living costs, London does not rank as the best option, with Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle, Belfast and Sheffield all proving better when taking living costs into account.
Digital skills gap remains a concern
However, despite the potential of the tech sector for UK employment, the skills gap remains a concern, particularly for those moving from industries that have seen a sharp drop in roles due to the pandemic.
“It’s fantastic to see the UK tech sector leading the way to help fuel the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery with a boom in technology related hiring and jobs,” said Cindy Rose, UK CEO of Microsoft.
“At the same time, it highlights the critical need for everyone – industry and government – to find ways to address the digital skills gap that existed before Covid but has only worsened since. Our collective commitment to close the skills gap will help ensure inclusive economic growth and opportunity for everyone.”