UK Tech Job Openings Increase for the First Time Since Pandemic Began

Accenture’s Tech Talent Tracker shows technology job listings are still well below pre-pandemic levels, but growing demand is fueling a jobs recovery

LONDON; Sept. 22, 2021 - Demand for tech professionals in the U.K. increased by 10% over the first six months of 2021 – the first time the tech job market has grown since the pandemic - according to the latest UK Tech Talent Tracker from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

The tracker, which analysed LinkedIn’s Professional Network data, recorded over 93,000 tech jobs openings in July 2021, up from 85,000 in January. However, tech job listings are still well below pre-pandemic levels and are 76% lower than 2019.

Despite the significant decline, demand for skills in emerging technologies is driving growth in the overall technology job market. For example, open roles in quantum computing saw triple-digit growth (at 157%) and those in blockchain soared by 72%. As organisations focus on governance and respond to data privacy regulations, jobs in digital ethics and responsibility also increased by 27%.

“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.”

Scotland sees the fastest rebound

There are signs that Scotland’s tech sector is growing at a faster pace with job listings increasing by 25% over the last six months, compared to a 10% rise in the rest of the U.K. Edinburgh saw the biggest growth of all U.K. cities, with open roles growing by more than half (51%), followed by Bristol (48%) and Glasgow (at 33%).

The jobs recovery in England is more uneven. Open tech roles increased in Manchester (18%) and Leeds (15%), but declining demand in key hubs such as Liverpool (-20%) and Newcastle (-5%) offset growth in the North of England. Despite in the dramatic rise in remote working since the pandemic, London continues its dominance as the U.K.’s main tech jobs hub. The capital accounts for nearly half of all technology jobs advertised in the U.K, with up to 44,000 open roles.

Sayed added: “London continues to offer the lion’s share of tech jobs and is likely to lead for some time. 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. We expect the dust to settle on flexible working practices – as companies expand regionally – which should help to broaden the spread of tech talent.”

Significant skills boost

There are also signs that technology professionals have significantly expanded their skillsets in response to the pandemic, with the depth and breadth of technology skills increasing by nearly half (47%) on LinkedIn since July 2019. The most advertised technology skills are now in data analytics and cloud computing – at a time when 5G networks are expanding and businesses are accelerating their cloud transformations. Cloud computing skills are most in-demand overall and account for 40% of all tech jobs advertised.

“The surge in tech professionals with vital skills will help drive the economic recovery,” said Emma Kendrew, Accenture’s Technology Infrastructure & Engineering lead in the U.K. “The pandemic has quickly ushered in a digital economy – one that will require a new generation of technologists to move forward. Organisations will likely hire or upskill software engineers as they invest in core technology to reinvent how they operate and deliver new experiences around new platforms.”

Accenture UK Tech Talent Tracker methodology

Developed by Accenture Research, the Accenture UK Tech Talent Tracker queried emerging technology keywords on the LinkedIn Professional Network in the last week of July 2021. The tracker assesses skills of both existing roles and open positions, querying for nine technologies: data analytics, artificial intelligence, extended reality, blockchain, quantum computing, cyber security, robotics, cloud computing, and ethical/responsible technology. The research covered all of the UK, with a focus on the following cities: London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff, Brighton, Cambridge, Birmingham, Leeds, Oxford and Newcastle.

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