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Article by Lynsey Skinner, specialist tech recruiter for Cathedral Appointments

In 2021, the tech sector had its most turbulent, but successful, year to date.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to control and change how we worked, the need for more effective, smarter technology became greater. Innovation hit a record-high and the market boomed like never before.

However, despite having had an incredible year, the lack of talent in this sector has been a constant challenge for business owners and recruiters alike. In fact, it has been revealed that there are over 100,000 vacancies per week, the highest levels since 2016.

But better days are ahead. While employers may grapple with a continued drought of talent for the first half of the year, I envisage it getting better as 2022 goes on.

So, what else might 2022 have in store for the tech sector?

Employers will be more open minded to junior talent

With demand for tech talent at its highest rate in five years, employers have been desperate to clinch the best of the best. Not only have these candidates helped them to meet consumer demands but they have also plugged gaps in specialist areas, such as coding languages or evolved job roles.

Of course, it’s been a battle of time for many employers and hiring managers. In the midst of the pandemic, these roles needed filling yesterday, and investment in training simply wasn’t an option for most. They needed the perfect candidate and they needed them now. This meant that many junior candidates were being left behind.

However, as the landscape has begun to settle and the feeling of crisis has calmed, recruitment will undoubtedly change in 2022. With government-run support, such as the Kickstart scheme and Data Science conversion courses, as well as more time and money ready to be invested in junior hires, it’s likely we’ll see a large uptick of new entrants into the tech sector in 2022.

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There will be an improved flow of talent 

2021 was an incredibly difficult year to not only hire talent, but to source it in the first place. The uncertainty that surrounded the job market left candidates feeling nervous about taking the plunge and searching for a new role. However, this year, I expect to see the market begin to move. Candidates in the tech market are aware of just how needed they are and that, wherever they go, their job is likely to be secure.

Additionally, while I’m not sure the ‘Great Resignation’ is coming, I do think the ‘New Year, New Me’ trend is still going to hit in the first quarter of this year. People will be contemplating whether they are in the right job or even the right line of work and many will desire change.

As we head into the latter half of this year, this improved flow will create much-needed relief for tightly squeezed employers and hiring managers. The gap between available talent and the number of jobs on offer will reduce significantly, making for a much for efficient and effective recruitment process for all.

2022 will continue to be a candidate’s market

The lack of tech talent wasn’t a new issue that was created by the pandemic – it was an existing problem that was exacerbated by the pandemic. Even when the recruitment landscape for the tech sector eases into something that looks a little more familiar, we will continue to see a market that is run and owned by candidates as the problem isn’t truly going to go away when this is all over. The demand for well-skilled, highly motivated talent won’t dissipate  and the crème-de-la-crème of the tech world will continue to be fought over.

Employers should anticipate that salary expectations will remain higher than average, with candidates looking for a well-rounded package that includes attractive benefits as well as remuneration. Retaining current employees should also remain a top priority. Candidates will be very quick to jump ship if they feel their potential has been exhausted in their current role or if they feel undervalued.

The workforce will become more diverse

Technology has always been a forward-thinking sector, with most companies offering sought-after perks, such as flexible and remote working, before the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, as most companies up and down the UK embrace this change, it’s likely we will see a greater increase of diversity in the sector. With little to no geographical boundaries placed on new talent, there’s no limit to the available candidate pool. This in turn will enable a much greater diversity of thought, skill, expertise and experience, a brilliant asset for the sector.

2022 is likely to be another record year for the tech sector and while it may feel more settled than 2021, there will undoubtedly be more change on the horizon. Nevertheless, it’s clear to see that the future of the industry is not only bright, but extremely exciting. Innovation will continue to dominate, and tech could just have its most thrilling year to date.