UK technology skills gap narrowed by pandemic

The UK's tech skills gap is set to narrow as half of British workers are considering a career change to IT, helped by their experience of the ongoing pandemic.

CWJobs commissioned research among 2,150 professionals, comprising of 1,120 tech workers and 1,026 non-tech workers. More than half (55 per cent) of non-tech workers who were contemplating a career change have considered or have begun the process of moving into a tech-based role - with eight per cent having already made the move.

The tech industry has long experienced a skills gap, with the demand for top talent far exceeding supply over recent years. The ongoing pandemic has amplified this, as businesses have recognised the increased value of IT and tech support. Consequently, nearly half (45 per cent) of IT workers said their company is actively recruiting for tech-based roles, offering greater opportunities for those looking to retrain and up-skill into the tech sector.

A fifth of IT workers said one of the main advantages of working in a tech role, over others at present, was greater career stability, as well as the fact that companies are prioritising tech due to the experience of COVID-19 (19 per cent).

For non-tech workers, 29 per cent agreed that their careers become more 'future-proofed' as they develop further IT skills, while 22 per cent have undertaken online tech training courses since the pandemic started.

Almost three in ten (28 per cent) IT workers believe their company needs to recruit new tech talent to the business due to the increase in remote working. Therefore, the top types of tech skills IT workers felt their company needed to recruit were IT support (33 per cent) and cyber security (23 per cent).

Again, nearly three in ten IT workers (28 per cent) said they would welcome new talent from outside of tech.

Nimmi Patel, policy manager for skills, talent and diversity at IT industry body techUK, said: "Having played an integral role in supporting business and the public throughout the pandemic, tech skills and roles are now more valued than ever.

"Now is the time for the industry to seize on the enthusiasm from those interested in different careers and grasp the opportunity to tackle the skills gap and create a more diverse sector.”

Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs, added: “Going forward, businesses must be open to welcoming individuals into the industry, considering various job backgrounds, levels of experience and the transferable skills that new candidates can bring to the role and their company.

"In doing so, the tech job market will remain agile and robust, offering unique opportunities for all.”

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