Demand for IT professionals up 76% year-on-year in July 2021
Data preceding the pandemic highlights the true extent of skills shortages in the UK with applications to jobs down 47% between July 2019 and July 2020. According to real-time data from the global network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, the decline in applications, largely attributed to the pandemic, suggests that the UK was already experiencing talent shortfalls before lockdown.
Sectors worst hit
In the engineering, accounting and financial services industries, the demand for talent increased by over 100% in the year to July 2021. However, when compared to two years ago, Broadbean’s data suggests that talent shortages are worsening.
Broadbean’s data shows that engineering vacancy numbers doubled (up 103%) between July 2020 and July 2021. However, when compared to the latest data with July 2019, vacancies were down by 20%, with the number of applications decreasing by 54%.
The financial services sector also saw vacancies double (104%) between July 2020 and July 2021. But for July 2019 to July 2020, vacancies dropped 12%, and application numbers declined 57%.
In the accounting industry, vacancies were up by 104% between July 2020 and July 2021, but were down 31% when compared to 2019 figures, while application numbers from 2019 – 2021 also fell 56%.
Demand for IT professionals still rising
The fast shift to online working environments in the last year resulted in an annual increase of 76% in vacancies in the IT industry. The digital transformation of workforces continues to drive demand for this talent in this sector.
As Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology explained: “While there are ongoing reports of a post-Covid talent shortage, as the so called ‘Great Resignation’ impacts headcount and increases competition for talent, our data shows that the skills shortage was already well underway before the virus struck. Covid may have pushed the severe skills shortages the UK is facing into the public consciousness, but trouble was already bubbling under the surface in the early months of last year.
“This can, in part, be linked to the impact of Brexit on talent pools and the need for an appropriate visa route for independent professionals to encourage people from outside the UK to work in the country.”
Pre-Covid skills shortage
Olly Newton, Executive Director, The Edge Foundation said: “Figures from the Government’s own Employer Skills Survey showed 226,000 vacancies created by skills shortages in 2017, up from just 91,000 in 2011. These are jobs that remained unfilled because the right skills couldn’t be found – an economic and social tragedy.
“It has cost employers dearly – £4.4 billion has been paid out in the past year on recruitment fees, higher salaries and temporary staff. It has also cost young people dearly – young people who should have been given the skills they needed to get into and thrive in those jobs.
“Research from before COVID showed that these shortages were widening not shrinking. Research by the Open University publicised by the Edge Foundation shows that nine out of ten organisations (88%) report a shortage of employees with digital skills. Meanwhile, looking to the future, work by the Government’s own Industrial Strategy Council suggested that by 2030, 7 million workers could be under-skilled for the requirements of their changing jobs.”
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