Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

UK Tech Hiring bounces back in Autumn, but competition for jobs at record high

U.K tech hiring activity has grown by 52% between May and September 2020, according to job sites and

  • U.K tech hiring grows +52% from the May low point. 65,000 tech jobs currently live. 
  • Wales, The North & North West recover fastest, London & S.E lag behind
  • 50 candidates per tech vacancy - a 10 year competition high; graduate outlook poor
  • Amazon, Facebook & Google still cautious with European hiring
  • U.K unicorns Revolut, Cazoo & Spotify lead the comeback
  • New job titles created during the crisis: ‘Head of Remote’ & ‘Remote Work Director’

U.K tech hiring activity has grown by 52% between May and September 2020, according to job sites and While recruitment of new tech company staff is still well below pre-pandemic levels, the tech sector has seen promising hiring growth into the autumn, despite the uncertain economic outlook and the winding up of the furlough scheme this month.  

Britain’s top 100 startups & technology companies were analysed and ranked by Adzuna by comparing hiring behaviour from January to September 2020. The distribution of tech jobs around the country, by sector and by job title were also analysed to determine where tech jobseekers should be looking for jobs this autumn.   

The spring of 2020 showed more than half of U.K tech companies either pulling back on hiring or freezing recruitment altogether. The summer saw waves of redundancies and furloughing across the sector, but we are now seeing a sustained comeback in tech hiring, even in the face of new lockdown restrictions and 'circuit breakers'. There are currently 65,000 open roles being recruited for in British technology companies. Wales (+80%), Yorkshire & Humber (+70%) and North West (+61%) have seen the quickest recruitment bouncebacks - surprising, as these are some of the regions currently experiencing the most severe, new local lockdowns. We are still well off pre-pandemic hiring levels, when there were 100,000 open technology roles, but these are clearly the first green shoots of recovery. 

Despite vacancies growing, competition for tech jobs has intensified. With new graduates and I.T jobseekers flooding the market, competition for vacancies has reached 50 candidates for every role, up from 36 candidates per role in April. We're told that in the 10 years Adzuna has been studying the U.K job market, this is the most competitive technology job market we’ve ever seen. 

U.S giants Amazon, Facebook & Google remain cautious with their European hiring efforts this autumn. Despite all 3 companies experiencing record high share prices over the summer, and a combined market cap of over $3 trillion, onboarding of new staff in the U.K has been tempered. Amazon & Facebook are hiring 15% less staff now than they were in May, and while Google’s European hiring is up fractionally, it remains a far cry from this time last year. 

While many seed and Series A funded companies remain cautious with recruitment, the U.K tech comeback looks to be being led by growth and unicorn stage companies with ambitious plans and cash to spend. Despite a tough summer for fintechs with substantial layoffs in June, Starling Bank, Monzo, GoCardless & Revolut have weathered the storm and accelerated hiring efforts in the last few months, with Revolut currently hiring well over 100 new roles. Spotify, Cazoo, Transferwise & Notonthehighstreet are also upping hiring as we move into the autumn.   

The return to hiring has been coupled with a new breed of job titles being advertised by some of the world’s biggest technology companies. ‘Head of Remote’ & “Remote Work Director’ jobs could be the next big hiring trend as Facebook, Quora and GitHub all advertise vacancies to look after staff who never see the office. 

Andrew Hunter, Co-founder of Adzuna said “I’m feeling increasingly optimistic that, after a dreadful summer for the U.K job market, U.K tech companies look set to lead Britain’s hiring recovery into the winter and 2021. It’s particularly pleasing to see the, often overlooked, North West playing a key role in the recovery, even in the face of new local restrictions. There are definitely tough times ahead - we anticipate unemployment to significantly worsen as we move into winter and it’s clear that large chunks of the tech sector are keeping a lid on hiring while we wait out the second wave of the virus. Confidence is key to getting Britain hiring again, and that will come from stopping the spread of the virus, a strengthening economy and continued government support for our sector and its entrepreneurs.” 

For a full list of U.K tech companies hiring right now, Adzuna & Workinstartups have put together this nifty, up to the minute list -