Friday, August 3, 2012

Current Trends in The UK IT Job Market


The technology job market in the UK has always been a solid source of jobs for individuals looking to find secure and well-paid employment in the UK. However recently fears have arisen surrounding the stability of this market in the wake of the UK and Global recession.  Many people would expect that the number of positions available would decrease and that a large proportion of people might face redundancy issues, or struggle to find a placement. However examining the trends in the UK IT employment market has shown some surprising results.

The UK IT Job Market  - Surprising Results

In fact it would appear that IT recruitment in the UK is as buoyant as ever, particularly for specialist fields such as security, development and support. UK IT recruitment consutlancies are commenting that they are receiving a very high number of requests for technical support personnel, especially in the fields of infrastructure and third line support and support managers.

Not only that, it seems that salaries for IT support staff have seemed to have remained stable, with not much change being seen from before the recession hit back in 2008. Job boards such as Monster and Total Jobs have backed up these figures stating a solid level of IT vacancies (15,000 in June 2012 on Total Jobs) consistently being posted at good salary levels.

Another area that seems to still be in high demand is that of developers both for software and web based products.Good quality, experienced developers especially with skill sets such as SQL, .NET and Ruby are in particularly high demand, especially in the London area. Anyone with middleweight experience and good communication skills has a good chance of securing work as we are not getting enough applications for this type of role.

Again developer salaries seems to have held their ground and companies from small SME venture funded initiatives to solid blue chips such as Google are still looking for good quality developers to join their teams.

IT Project Management

IT Project Management roles however do seem to have suffered. Salaries seem to have decreased from around £60k for a middleweight IT Project Manager in 2008 to around £40k now.
Project Management used to be our bread and butter placing around 5-10 per week especially in the London area. Now we are getting fewer requests (2-3 per month) for these individuals and the salaries do appear to have dropped. However we are getting indications that this may be changing and Development Project Managers and PM’s with social media skills are still definitely being sought after. The roles are still out there, it is just taking a bit longer to find them.

Senior Level IT 

Senior level roles (managers through to CTO’s) are also still in good demand. Companies are still looking for that key player who can make a difference to the business and perhaps in this economy people want to see improvements. 

The market however is definitely slower as people are less keen to move jobs if they feel secure, meaning that there is less mobility. Senior level jobs to be less advertised and networking and approaching head hunters or senior level recruitment specialists is often the best approach, as they will have access to roles that may not be available elsewhere.

Becoming More Selective

It seems that although the market is as buoyant as ever, the time it takes to secure a role has increased. Companies are being more cautious about who they take on and expect more from successful candidates than before. Where previously there might have been a single stage interview process, this is now often becoming a two or three stage process with more focus on technical and aptitude testing.  However if you have the right skill set and are good at what you do you should still secure a role in the UK IT market without it taking too long, however it is important to brush up on your interview skills and be sure your numeracy and literacy is up to scratch in order to pass technical tests.
One of the biggest challenges we face for our IT candidates is getting them through online tests. From interviewing them regarding their skills and experience they seem like a strong fit for some positions. However when they are asked to do the online testing their results are surprisingly lacking and they rarely progress to the next stage. It is definitely worth taking some numeracy and literacy practice tests regularly to keep your skills in this area up, as even if you do not use this type of reasoning in your everyday job, you will be expected to be able to pass these tests to a high standard.

Preparation Is The Key

A solid demand for certain skill-sets doesn’t mean that it is easier to get a job there. In order to even get considered for a role you need to ensure you have a solid well written CV that clearly states you strengths and achievements, you will need to know you technology inside out and be able to present yourself confidently and professionally at interview. 

Look Beyond Big Business

Many job seekers are focused on securing a role with a well-known blue chip names such as Google or Microsoft. However by just focusing on this area you may well be missing out on some very lucrative and exiting opportunities in the SME sector.

Creativity in the technological space has been booming, especially around concepts of AI and mobile technologies.  Small companies have found backing from larger corporations or venture capitalists and have began springing up throughout the UK (although concentrated in the London, Oxford and Cambridge areas). With government incentives in place to support small business, the increase availability of affordable company insurance, tax benefits and a population hungry for technology, small medium enterprises can offer an exciting and surprisingly stable career for IT professionals looking to join the UK industry.

Small companies and start-ups could really be the future of the industry. These agile technology companies are getting more and more support from the big players and are coming up with ideas and tech that people and businesses want. This transfers into rapid growth with requests being made for whole development and support teams, making them an ideal resource to target when looking to secure work in the UK.

The UK IT Market – A Good Time To Apply

There is a seasonal lull at the moment due to the Summer Holidays and this is nothing to be concerned about. However it is worth noting that now is actually a good time to apply for roles and get you name down with some good agencies, as recruitment is still going on and by acting now you might get ahead of others who wait until September to start their job hunt.

Overall it is reassuring and surprising to discover that there are still plenty of opportunities available for those looking to enter the UK  to further their IT careers. It seems that if you have the right skill set, determination and know where to look, a lucrative career could well await you in the British Isles. 
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