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UK Tech Executives See Challenging Hiring Environment Ahead

Research from CompTIA Finds Many Industries Competing for Tech Talent

Information technology (IT) industry executives in the United Kingdom see another year of challenges ahead on the hiring front, according to research from technology industry trade association CompTIA.

About one-third of UK tech executives surveyed by CompTIA think 2018 will be moderately more challenging than 2017 when it comes to recruiting new technology workers. Another 43 percent of executives say 2018 will probably be on par with last year.

“With employer demand for tech talent routinely outstripping supply, the year ahead will force more organisations to rethink their approaches to recruiting, training and talent management,” said Graham Hunter, CompTIA’s vice president for skills certification in Europe and the Middle East.

The data on hiring challenges is included in CompTIA’s recently published “IT Industry Outlook 2018.”

Even with the uncertainty over hiring, UK tech executives are generally optimistic about business prospects for the year. CompTIA forecasts a UK industry growth rate of 5.1 percent for 2018, with upside potential of 7.2 percent. That’s in line with CompTIA’s global forecast of 5 percent growth. 

“In the report, we can see year-on-year growth in the UK IT workforce and this is matched in the growth we’ve seen amongst our membership,” says Estelle Johannes, Director, Member Communities at CompTIA. “This is set to increase as the influence of emerging tech such as blockchain, AI and AR/VR revolutionises the way the industry conducts business, which is why we are putting our core focus into helping our members transition to new ways of working and help the sector grow.”

Among the hiring challenges technology companies face is competition for tech talent from other industries, according to a separate CompTIA analysis of the IT employment scene in the UK.

Beyond the information and communication sector, strong demand for tech workers is present among employers in manufacturing; professional, scientific and technical pursuits; human health and social work; and finance and insurance. 

Postings for core IT jobs across the UK surpassed 290,000 in Q4 2017, accounting for 13 percent of all jobs posted (2.3 million during the last three months of 2017. It also represented a 14-percent increase in core IT jobs postings from Q4 2016 to Q4 2017.

“For the full year in 2017 more than 1.3 million job postings for core IT positions were placed by UK employers, a 6-percent increase from the prior year,” said Amy Carrado, senior director, research and market intelligence, CompTIA. “The number of IT workers in the UK also increased last year, to an estimated 1.23 million.”

The top five job categories for core IT workers in the UK are:

  • Programmers and software development pros (242,020)
  • IT specialist managers (216,918)
  • IT and telecommunications pros (other) (173,426)
  • IT operations technicians (114,266)
  • IT business analysts, architects and systems designers (107,154)

The top locations for IT jobs, based on the number of workers in 2017, include London, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, and Manchester.

CompTIA’s “IT Industry Outlook 2018” report is based on a December 2017 survey of 674 IT industry executives, including 107 in the UK. The complete report is available at https://www.comptia.org/resources/it-industry-trends-analysis.

The “CompTIA UK IT Employment Snapshot” report is available at https://www.comptia.org/resources/comptia-uk-it-employment-snapshot-2017-q4.