IT hiring shows resilience in face of rising unemployment

The tech sector has created 100,000 roles since the start of the pandemic and 67% of IT leaders plan to recruit in 2021

Businessman reviewing his resume on a wooden desk with laptop computer in background

The IT job market is still going strong despite the unemployment rate rising to a five-year high of 5.1%, according to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

1.74 million people were recorded as unemployed in the final quarter of 2020, with the job crisis, caused largely by the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting mostly those between the ages of 18 and 24.

Out of the 726,000 people who lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, 425,000 were under the age of 25.

Despite the grim figures, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) senior labour market adviser Gerwyn Davies said that that the unemployment rates “may be close to peak and may even undershoot official forecasts, especially given the reported fall in the supply of overseas workers”. 

What's more, CIPD analysis of the ONS figures found that the technology sector has managed to remain resilient in the face of rising job losses. The IT industry created over 100,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, and over 300,000 jobs over the last three years. A survey carried out by the firm also found that 67% of IT employers are looking to recruit in the first quarter of 2021

Bev White, CEO of the Harvey Nash Group, said the ONS figures “underline the strong health of tech amidst booming demand for digital and cloud-based solutions and services in the COVID era”. 

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This has prompted tech employees to be more demanding when it comes to the details of their contract. Harvey Nash analysis found that mass shift to remote working in the past year has led to ‘work location and remote working’ quickly becoming one of the most important factors when looking for a new job in tech, second only to pay. 

According to the IT recruitment company, the top three most important factors are now remuneration, work location and remote working, and a strong culture and strong leadership.

Moreover, White added that the success of the IT sector doesn’t show “any sign of this changing”, with “many thousands more jobs” in the tech industry expected to be created “through the rest of this year and beyond”.

“The pandemic has not dimmed tech – in fact, it has turned up the lights,” she said.

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