Trends in technology opportunities in the UK
Despite the rising demand for cloud computing skills, the number of job opportunities available on LinkedIn declined by 57% last year.
Less than 55,000 technology industry roles were being advertising on LinkedIn near the end of last year, driven predominantly by reduced demand for cybersecurity and data analytics professionals. According to Accenture, the 57% decline during last year was sustained despite continued demand for selected skills in northern England and a significant rise in demand for cloud computing professionals.
Of the 55,000 open positions, approximately 35,000 advertised positions required professionals with skills in cloud computing, reflecting the growing trend of UK businesses shifting their workloads towards the cloud in response to the impacts of the pandemic.
Demand for professionals with skills in AI increased, rising by over 70% in six months, equating to nearly 7,000 roles. This was matched by similar rises in opportunities in positions associated with quantum computing and robotic skills.
The overall decline in technology opportunities is largely down to a reduction in listings for data analytics and cybersecurity-related roles, both experiencing just over a 50% drop throughout 2020.
Shaheen Sayed, the technology lead for the UK and Ireland at Accenture explains that while the pandemic has taken a toll on technology jobs in the UK, certain skills remain in high demand.
Businesses have accelerated their migration plans to the cloud quicker than anyone anticipated and many have enhanced their digital processes and utilised new technology available on the market. As more businesses look to hire talent in the cloud, AI and robotics, experienced professionals are discovering new skills to ensure they remain on top of the constant change in the technology industry and to enhance their marketability.
Overall demand for skilled professionals in robotics increased considerably in cities in the north last year, with a 450% rise in Newcastle, a 250% rise in Leeds and a 115% increase in Liverpool. These figures reflect that many cities are focusing on recruiting more technology talent and developing their status as key technology hubs. This is emphasised further by the government’s decision to base the headquarters of the UK National Cyber Force in the North of England, generating thousands of new technology-related opportunities in the region.
In other regions, Oxford experienced a 3,400% increase in demand for quantum computing skills, reflective of the rising scale of research projects and developments of businesses such as Oxford Quantum Circuits.
The overall decline in demand for technology skills over last year contradicts other figures that indicate a rise in employer demand for applicants with IT degrees. A study of one million job adverts by money.co.uk suggested that 60% of university degrees requested by recruiters were specifically related to IT and computing. Other findings from the Learning & Work Institute published data that suggested the skills challenge, with the number of young people taking IT related subjects decreasing by 40% since 2015.