UK tech jobs increase for first time since pandemic

The "war for tech talent" is expected to grow even more intense as businesses fast track digital transformations, says Accenture

Demand for tech professionals in the UK increased by 10% over the first six months of 2021, according to new research from Accenture.

The organisation's UK Tech Talent Tracker claims that this is the first time the job market for tech has grown since the pandemic, with over 93,000 tech job openings by July 2021. 

The number was only around 85,000 in January, according to the report, and the overall availability of tech jobs is still well below pre-pandemic levels at 76% lower than in 2019.

However, there is "significant" demand for skills in emerging technologies driving growth across the tech sector, with jobs in quantum computing seeing triple-digit growth (157%), while blockchain-related job listings have increased by 72%. A recent report from Gartner suggested IT executives are concerned that there will not be enough 'talent' to fill such roles.

"While the UK economy continues to bear the brunt of the pandemic, these figures are a ray of hope as technology helps to fuel the recovery," said Shaheen Sayed, technology lead for Accenture in the UK & Ireland.

"Investment in new software and machinery, particularly with the UK's roadmap in electric vehicle production, as well as more hybrid working, will likely kickstart greater demand for more technology skills. As businesses fast track their transformations and industries become permanently digitised, we expect to see the war for tech talent to grow even more intense."

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Job recovery in England is a little uneven, according to the report, with open tech roles increasing in Manchester (18%) and Leeds (15%), but declining in key hubs such as Liverpool (-20%) and Newcastle (-5%). Despite a stark rise in remote working since the pandemic, London has maintained its dominance as the UK's main hub for tech jobs, with the capital accounting for nearly half of all advertised tech vacancies in the country with more than 44,000 available positions.

"The North-South tech divide persists, but burgeoning hubs in Scotland and the North West of England are offering more opportunities for tech professionals at a time when more people are moving jobs and making lifestyle changes," Sayed said. "We expect the dust to settle on flexible working practices - as companies expand regionally - which should help to broaden the spread of tech talent."

The number of tech jobs in 2020 was said to have helped the overall market through the pandemic, according to Tech Nation data. After healthcare, the technology sector posted the highest number of vacancies.

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