UK companies lack data, security, Python, Ruby, UI and UX talent

The tech sector lacks talented candidates in data, security, Python, Ruby, UI and UX, according to report into IT skills.

The report, by Hired, investigated supply, demand, interview requests and job offers.

Job Interview - Via Shutterstock
Job Interview - Via Shutterstock

Demand for security engineers spiked by 234% in the last 18 months alone and in addition the report found that the average salary for tech workers in London are lower than in Silicon Valley and New York. Salaries were found to be 38% higher in Silicon Valley than the UK and 35% higher in New York.

Hired conducted a survey to find out the views of companies and candidates. As a result the Mind the Gap report was created to identify which digital skills are in demand.

Jacqueline de Rojas, techUK President, provides a forward for the report in which she writes: “Digital skills are not just about the needs of tech companies – be they start-ups or multinationals. The UK needs people with the skills to help them keep pace and thrive in a digital future.

“This starts with inclusion – we must make sure that no part of the UK is left behind in the digital revolution, and people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds are given the tools and access to education to develop their digital skills.”

She added: “We must commit to challenging our employees and peers to learn new skills, or to update their current set, to ensure we remain ahead of the curve.”

Commenting on the report Claire Cockerton, CEO of ENTIQ, said: “Over the last decade the UK has worked tirelessly to become a centre of excellence in innovation and technology; today the industry is worth an incredible £161bn to the economy and supports more than 1.5million jobs across the country. Yet, as Hired’s report reminds us, there is always more we can, and indeed must do.”

“The statistics revealed a yawning skills gap emerging, with new skills such as data and security both vastly underserviced with talent. When considering the potential impact of Brexit, this becomes an even more concerning statistic. To address it, as an industry we must ensure we support free movement of talent and review the list of skills that are open for working visas, particularly in these key areas of technology that are currently underserviced.”

“Secondly, we must look to the long-term and work together with the Government to solve the education issue. There is a need to implement new initiatives in the curriculum that are consistently updated to reflect the ever-evolving nature of technology. Not only that but we must begin to celebrate our successes – and indeed openly address our failures; we must work together to showcase our technology entrepreneurs to the wider world to inspire tomorrow’s leaders. For the UK to remain a global player, it must address both of these points now, working to upskill current talent, as well as addressing the next generation. Only by doing that can we futureproof UK GDP. A failure to do so will see us fall behind on the global scale.”

Richard Shea, Managing Director EMEA Search of Futurestep , said: “This report has highlighted something the industry has been talking about for the last five years; but obviously, not enough action has been taken. The growing digital skills gap is worrying. By 2020, the UK alone will require 2.3 million digitally skilled workers. But according to these latest findings, supply is already falling incredibly short of catering to demand.

“To start bridging this gap between the cry for technology talent and the shallow pool we have on offer, we need to look to our grassroots and begin with education. As the UK continues to develop its digital economy and fuel the UK’s Plc, we are seeing an absence of students going on to study technology subjects at higher levels. This is where the pipeline of talent begins to leak and we lose potential members of the tech workforce.

“Yet too many organisations are waiting for governments or even competitors to do something to address it. All companies within the technology sector must take ownership of helping educate the younger generations; whether it’s through early employment careers, graduate recruitment or simply visiting schools with role model spokespeople, to solidify the UK’s future as a leading global hub with tech talent being the centre of its success.”

Paul Brown, Head of HR, Business and Application Services at Fujitsu EMEIA, said: “The findings of this Mind The Gap report make for concerning reading - particularly the fact that the uptake of technology degrees is falling over time. Our increasingly digitally-led business environment and society means that STEM and digital skills are essential in the UK, both within technology firms and virtually every other industry. Expertise in the fields of data analytics and security are increasingly important for all organisations, but we are already battling against skills gaps in these areas.

“STEM subjects clearly still suffer from an image problem. It’s often assumed that the only jobs that you can get with a degree in maths or engineering are highly technical and perhaps dull. We need to tackle these misconceptions and showcase how roles in technology are addressing some of the most important issues in society and creating new career paths as well as advancing economic growth.

“It’s also important to recognise that creativity and innovation can be as important as technical skill in ‘Digital’ jobs. Through engaging a diverse array of young people in STEM subjects and maintaining their interest through education and in to the workplace we will help protect the UK’s future competitiveness.”

Companies need to widen the net on STEM talent to attract more females

shield-1020318_640Companies need to widen the net on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) talent if there are a lack of female Computer Science graduates coming through the pipeline, according to Christine Flounders, London R&D Manager at Bloomberg Technology Labs.

Speaking to WeAreTheCity during the WISE Conference 2015 at The Mermaid in Blackfriars last week, Flounders said: “Businesses need to figure out how to widen the net on talent in Stem. In the US you can change your mind about your studies and be hybrid. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at first and it’s not until university where you find out what you want to do and what your course actually means.”

Flounders said Bloomberg launched an enhanced bootcamp course for new employees that are not from a computer science background: “We have set up a bootcamp for new recruits to get up to date on Bloomberg and we have created an enhanced bootcamp for those who are not from a computer science background. When we go to universities, to recruit, we bring women with us.”

She studied Computer Science in New York and started at Bloomberg after graduation: “I came to London to build the London team. We’ve grown to 550 employees in 13 years with 70 different products.

“Two years ago we were at about 330 staff and I was expecting us to have employed more women by that point. I was in a position where I could do something about it and it was clear what the aspect of diversity could do for us. We had a good mix of people, but most of them were men.”

Flounders noted that a lack of women in front-end developer roles can put a company at a disadvantage when designing products: “The business case for diversity was not quite realised until about a year ago – it’s about making better products and being more competitive.

“The amount of decisions developers make are humongous, so ownership and decision making are key skills. We also have a lot of R&D initiated products so if there aren’t enough women in those roles that creates issues too.”

High performing companies devote best talent to digital, says McKinsey survey

Leadership and talent are the biggest hurdles to business success, a survey from McKinsey has revealed.

The Cracking the Digital Code: McKinsey Global Survey found overall that the most successful UK businesses are reshaping their strategies more often than others, devoting more of their best people to digital and making an effort to keep their employees engaged.shaking hand

High performing companies were found to be dedicating the best people to digital and were keeping them engaged through cutting edge and exciting work. High performing companies were also found to be more than twice as likely to allocate their best people to digital. 47% said working on cutting-edge digital projects helps to attract and retain digital talent. The culture, energy and morale within a company also placed high on respondents’ lists.

The survey of almost 1,000 respondents found that 31% of all businesses struggle to find internal leadership, both functional and technical, for digital projects.

Companies found to be outperforming others had more active digital agendas, with three quarters saying their business activities are in a digital nature.

High performing companies more often reported having strong digital leadership, true ownership for initiatives and a clear career path for digital employees.

In addition, successful companies said speed plays an important factor in their business, with 43% saying digital initiatives take less than six months to go from idea to implementation.

Two-thirds of high performing companies CEOs were found to be personally sponsoring digital initiatives within their businesses and that companies with more involved boards were more successful as a result. 35% of high performers said their boards sponsor digital initiatives compared to 16% of their peers.