This article is sponsored by CWJobs
UK tech employees are optimistic about the future of the tech sector in 2022, a new report reveals.
CWJobs’ fourth annual Confidence Index shows that, after a turbulent couple of years, tech workers’ expectations of employers increase as companies continue to focus on recruiting from a wider talent pool.
The Confidence Index 2022 comes at a challenging time for the tech industry. With the status of the IT department as a ‘hero’ fading, and with budgets being tightened, companies are continuing to face the challenge of attracting tech talent to fill their skills gaps.
However, the research, which surveys 1,000 tech workers and over 500 IT decision makers, reveals that confidence levels among tech workers remain high with 77% saying they feel confident in the state of the industry.
Looking at the broader picture, however, we see that there has been a continual decline in confidence levels over the past four years with figures dropping from 89% in 2019.
Employee confidence and concerns
Tech workers are acutely aware of how external factors are shaping the industry, with top concerns including the ongoing impact of Brexit (19%), world events such as the war in Ukraine (18%) and the impact of cost-of-living on the sector (17%).
Despite these concerns (which aren’t exclusive to tech), most workers expect their salary to increase over the next year (57%), and almost one quarter (24%) feel they deserve a promotion in the next year. With these high expectations, companies really need to focus in on what tech workers want from a role.
When tech employees were asked about which aspects of the UK tech sector gave them the most confidence at present, the top choices this year were the technology being produced in the UK (22%) and skills in the industry (21%).
This marks a shift from last year, when employees named the importance of technology in maintaining business continuity as the top ‘confidence driver’ (30%), reflecting trends during the pandemic towards remote working and digitising business.
This shift demonstrates that tech workers are now looking forward and are focused on what the industry has to offer them.
Risk to smaller tech companies
Despite uncertainty across the tech industry, workers remain optimistic about changing roles over the next 12 months. The research finds that just 24% of workers plan to stay in their current role, down from 29% in 2021. Micro companies* (1-9 people), like tech scaleups, are at the biggest risk of losing staff, with just 15% of employees saying they want to stay, compared to 29% of people at companies with 500+ employees.
It appears that the Great Resignation is set to continue across the tech sector. For the first time, the research observed tech workers moving from smaller tech companies to larger organisations, suggesting that job security is a growing consideration for candidates.
The top reasons for wanting to move jobs include, moving house as a result of flexible working policies (11%), wanting to re-locate (9%), and going for a tech role at a different company (9%).
Cautious salary optimism
A quarter of senior leaders (24%) are planning to increase the number of pay rises in the next 12 months. This is a smart move for employers that are looking to attract top talent as it’s clear that tech workers expect higher salaries this year.
These figures are in stark contrast to the number of senior leaders that plan to reduce the number of pay-rises (12%). What’s more, nearly a third (30%) also plan to offer pay increases to help combat the rising cost of living.
However, only 15% of IT decision-makers said their organisation is unlikely to be impacted by the current economic situation, with 30% saying they will explore more remote work to save on costs, 24% saying they will ask remote workers to take a pay cut, and 21% expecting a reduced IT budget.
Attracting talent in turbulent times
As tech workers’ focus shifts to career development, now is the time for employers to create a strong hiring strategy. The research reveals that 39% of IT decision-makers plan to put a stronger focus on tech hiring to remain as competitive as possible.
As such, companies need to ensure they have a wide talent pool to recruit from to ensure they have the skills they’ll need to meet demand and stay ahead of the competition.
The top elements that will help businesses attract, hire and build resilient technology teams highlighted by the research are:
- Focus on recruiting a diverse workforce – The role of diversity initiatives has been widely recognised in building high-performing, resilient teams, and two in five (38%) IT decision-makers surveyed reported this will be a focus over the next 12 months.
- Understand employee financial pressures and support their wellbeing – With the cost-of-living crisis intensifying, employees feel their company should be more mindful of their financial situation (49% agree compared to 10% disagree), and more mindful of their mental health (47% agree compared to 11% disagree)
- Investing more in recruitment initiatives including making better use of recruitment technology (41%), planning on experimenting with new recruitment channels (32%) – such as jobs boards – and turning to low-code technology platforms, AI tools and/or robotics to plug short-term talent gaps (29%).
- Focus on hiring industry specific specialisms (31%), with the top skills in demand over the next five years expected to be cybersecurity (33%) and artificial intelligence (32%).
Download The Confidence Index 2022 report to learn more about the research and get actionable advice to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent
* 1-9 employees category contains 47 respondents.