12 September 2019 by Spencer Symmons
Earlier this year, the National Office of statistics revealed the UK’s employment rate to be at its lowest in more than 45 years. This, combined with the major shift happening within the vast majority of sectors due to the latest advances in technology, is creating and replacing many active roles within workplaces.
Whether a business is IT focused already, or is going through an element of digital transformation in order to stay up to date with their competitors, each industry, organisation and employer will require different skill sets within their teams.
The second quarter of 2019 saw over 140,000 job listings for IT professionals. More than 50,000 of these listings were for software programmers, while a further 21,605 were for system designers, IT analysts and digital architects. However, rather than a tech company topping the list, the UK’s biggest IT recruiter so far this year is the NHS.
This follows a familiar pattern, as every business seeks to become a “tech-first” organisation and the competition to attract those with the best technical skills increases even further. Increasingly, those in other sectors – including finance, health and manufacturing – are looking for candidates with the same skills that those in the tech sector are recruiting for.
That doesn’t mean, however, that hiring in the digital sector is slowing down – in fact reports show that the industry is responsible for 20 per cent of all new job openings in the UK. They also show that the tech sector is winning the war on talent, with these businesses dominating the rankings of the most desirable to work for.
So will businesses outside of the industry attract that top tech talent? And will those with in-demand skills consider working outside of the digital sector?
It could be that the high-pressure environment of tech leads workers to seek jobs outside of the sector. It’s thought that between four and 10 per cent of the population will experience anxiety or depression at some point in their lives – but for tech workers this rises to 52 per cent. That’s more than five times the UK average. This isn’t likely to benefit the NHS, however, who report similar figures.
Location could play into desirability, though, as 65 per cent of tech workers say they would be open to working remotely all of the time. Tech businesses tend to form centralised hubs – Silicon Valley being the most prolific – which means house prices, rent and cost of living can skyrocket. Many tech firms are happy to allow employees to work from home, but for the 35 per cent that want to go into the “office” and don’t want to live within the reaches of digital hotspots, there may be worthwhile opportunities outside of the tech industry.
What’s most likely to have an impact, however, is organisational culture – and this is something that the tech giants have struggled with in recent years. Google, Facebook and even Microsoft have been hit with scandals which have led to black marks upon their reputations. Candidates are increasingly interested in the corporate social responsibility of an organisation and want to be part of a business which has a purpose above that of satisfying the needs of shareholders. This doesn’t put them at odds however – research shows that topping a “Best Places to Work” list results in better market performance and an increase in stock price.
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