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Tech job vacancies soar past pre-pandemic levels

Hiring for the digital tech sector has surged past pre-pandemic levels with 132,000 vacancies recorded in a single week in May, according to new data.

Vacancies are now running at their highest level since 2016, having recovered sharply from a trough of 43,490 last June, data compiled by job search engine Adzuna and Dealroom for the Government’s Digital Economy Council found.

Researchers also discovered that with the rise of remote working, there has been a strong increase in vacancies in IT and tech outside London – with Manchester and Birmingham leading the way.

Since February this year, there have been consistently more than 100,000 tech job vacancies per week on the jobs site, suggesting the UK tech industry has recovered far faster than other sectors.

The total weekly job vacancies for all sectors reached one million in May – levels not reached since November 2019, with tech and IT-related job vacancies now making up 12% of all open job vacancies in the UK.

Researchers said this was partly due to a boost in demand for remote workers and jobhunters looking to take advantage of avoiding the commute.

Tech jobs have also soared in demand as businesses switch to online services in greater numbers as a result of the pandemic, with retail in particular seeing strong growth.

Around 30% of total retail sales are now online, up from 21.8% before the pandemic, and the use of digital healthcare is also rising.

The rise in vacancies also comes as UK tech companies continue raising record amounts from investors. Between 2015 and 2020, firms raised £48 billion in venture capital funding and created 96 unicorn tech companies.

London and the South East remain the strongest regions for tech hiring, with 43,529 in total.

But there was a sharp increase in the north-west of England, where IT vacancies are the highest outside the capital.

According to researchers, 18.4% of all available jobs in Manchester are now in tech, where The Hut Group and data company Matillion are based.

Birmingham has the third-highest number of IT vacancies – 3,235 – making up 15.5% of all open job roles in the city.

The average pay is also higher in IT, at £47,664 versus £32,386.

According to researchers, the most in-demand tech roles for companies across the UK are software developers, web designers and data analysts.

In April 2021 alone, there were nearly 10,000 vacancies for software developers – 9,783 – compared with 5,630 at the same time last year.

Currently, software developer roles make up 1.05% of all advertised UK jobs.

But the rise of AI programming is seeing a big increase in job vacancies in the space, with average advertised salaries of £58,946.

Brent Hoberman, executive chairman of Founders Forum, Founders Factory and firstminute capital, said: “The focus now must shift to filling those tech job vacancies with diverse software developers and highly skilled tech talent from across the country.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Facebook, said: “The scale of hiring by UK tech companies underlines both its strength as a sector but also its status as a global leader alongside Silicon Valley and China.”

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “The increasing number of vacancies in this sector and others shows how the economy is really beginning to get back on its feet, with surging sectors – like tech – bringing fresh, exciting roles forward to jobseekers.

“And it’s even more encouraging to see the wide-ranging roles that are now available around the country to go for, as we work to level up opportunities right across the UK.”