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Demand for UK tech talent remains strong

Employers across the United Kingdom advertised some 170,000 job openings for information technology (IT) workers in Q4 2019, an analysis of employment and labour data by CompTIA has revealed.

The Q4 figure for open core IT occupations represented a 1% increase over the Q3 2019 total and accounted for about 10% of the 1.7m total job openings across the UK.

“The quarter-over-quarter increase was modest, but it was counter to the typical trend of a hiring slowdown in the fourth quarter,” said Amy Carrado, senior director for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “This suggests that companies were focused on building up their technology staffs to begin the new year even with the uncertainties surrounding Brexit.”

For all of 2019, UK employers advertised an estimated 642,000 core IT job openings. The UK IT labour force is projected to expand by some 11,500 workers this year, to more than 1.31m.

In Q4, programmers and software development professionals were the most sought-after workers. With 61,018 postings for open positions, they accounted for more than one-third of all tech job postings, according to CompTIA’s study of data from Burning Glass Technologies Labour Insights.

Other in-demand occupations included IT business analysts, architects and systems designers (27,126); IT user support technicians (20,806); IT and telecommunications professionals (15,890); IT operations technicians (14,565); and web designers and development professionals (14,082).

The analysis of job postings also reveals the top baseline “soft” skills employers are seeking. Communication skills, problem solving, planning, troubleshooting and writing ability lead the list.

Local demand for tech talent was categorised as much higher than average in the London and Edinburgh work areas, and higher in Bristol, Belfast and Leeds.

Chris Kendrick, CEO and founder of Mercury xRM, which recently achieved Microsoft Gold Partner status in the Cloud Platform competency, said, "We have many tech recruiters in our client base and they are seeing strength demand in the market for sought-after skills. The requirement for candidates to drive initiatives in AI, machine learning and data science in particular remains very strong.

"Technological developments are constantly changing, just like the skills that are needed in order to maintain pace as we see ourselves as a tech business. 

"Even despite some difficulties in changing legislations, the demand remains for tech talent, we expect our clients in this space to thrive using the technology Mercury xRM makes available to them. Reaching the best candidates faster through powerful search and seamless integration with their Office applications and LinkedIn."

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