Is now the right time to seek a new ICT & Digital Technology role?

3 mins

There are currently more opportunities available for ICT & Digital Technology professionals than ever before. By focusing on the right offers, candidates will be able to find an exciting new role in one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors.

The last two years have been a highly unusual and challenging time for every sector in the UK, and the ICT and digital technology space has been no exception to this. COVID-19 has transformed many conventional business models, and for a time, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic resulted in widespread pauses on recruitment, making it difficult for even the most talented candidates to find new roles.

However, in more recent months, this trend has entirely reversed. With confidence having now returned to the IT sector, businesses across the UK are more eager to hire than ever before, resulting in a surplus of available roles. As such, IT professionals seeking a career change can now take their pick of a wide variety of promising opportunities.

Here, we explore some of the reasons why now may be the best time for ICT and digital technology professionals to find a new role, and offer advice on how to make the most of the available opportunities.

More IT job opportunities than ever

Ever since the UK’s lockdown rules started to lift, businesses across the country have been pursuing aggressive growth strategies in order to get themselves back on track. This is particularly the case for IT firms, many of which will have benefited from the widespread shift over to digital services seen during the pandemic.

As such, businesses are greenlighting new projects at a rapid pace and expanding their teams accordingly. This is having a number of beneficial knock-on effects for candidates within the jobs market:

  • Demand for talent is outstripping supply by a significant margin, meaning that candidates are likely to have six or seven potential prospects to choose from, rather than one or two. Because employers are aware of this and are seeking to aggressively compete for the best talent, it means that offers are likely to be made quickly by companies that do not want to miss out on a prospect.
  • Salary offers have risen by at least 7%, as companies adjust their salary bandings to become more competitive, and also to account for recent inflation trends and rises in the cost of living.
  • Prospective employers are becoming more flexible and willing to consider applicants with less experience than would have typically been required in the past. For example, cyber security is a high-demand area, and companies are now more willing to take on promising prospects with backgrounds in infrastructure or networking and help them retrain.
  • The rise of remote working has meant that most companies are now willing to consider candidates from further afield. Rather than restricting their searches to within 30 or 40 miles of a specific location, they are now looking for talent from across the country, and only require them to be on site a handful of times a month, rather than four or five times a week.

The consequence of all of these trends has been the creation of an extremely candidate-driven marketplace, in which the very best talent has unprecedented power in terms of choosing their next role. They can afford to ask for more money or negotiate on the specific benefits they will receive, knowing that companies will need to provide a competitive offer, or else risk them walking away to look elsewhere.

Is this a sustainable trend?

Although many of the factors driving these market developments can be traced back to the pandemic, it is clear that they also reflect wider trends that are accelerating growth across the UK IT and digital technology sectors.

Recruitment agencies such as Sellick Partnership have seen a significant rise in IT recruitment activity across all specialisms, including permanent, fixed-term and temp roles. This pickup has accelerated since September/October, and has been driven just as much by the long-term growth of the sector as by pandemic-specific factors.

This is particularly noticeable in the North East of England, which has quickly become one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country, with £86 million in venture capital funding injected into the region in 2020 alone. This trend is a reflection of the available professional talent in the region, thanks to the surfeit of highly-rated universities in the North East, as well as the fact that business costs are much lower than in traditionally busy regions such as Manchester and London.

As such, many of the world’s biggest IT companies are setting up bases in areas such as Newcastle and Sunderland, with cyber security firm Arctic Wolf’s choice of Newcastle for its new European headquarters serving as a key example of this. The British government is also investing in the region, pledging to move 9,000 IT jobs for HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions into the North East, which will further increase the status and competitiveness of the region.

Due to all of these factors, IT professionals should have confidence that the industry’s recent growth in the UK will persist even after the immediate impact of the pandemic is over - and that they can start looking for new roles in the sector with confidence.

How to make the best of the current opportunity

With so many roles available for IT and digital technology professionals, candidates will have greater choice in their job search, and more leeway to negotiate favourable terms. However, to make the most of the current opportunities, jobseekers are advised to maintain focus on the right roles, rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Rather than applying for as many positions as possible, it is best to carefully research each organisation and role to make sure they offer the best fit, and to focus on a maximum of three or four applications at any given time. This will give candidates the time and space to represent themselves as effectively as possible during the interview stage.

Similarly, if you are choosing to work with an agency partner to help with your job search, it is preferable to work with only one or two who can really get to know your requirements, circumstances and values, and carefully select the opportunities that would suit you best. By putting out too many applications and saturating the market, you are more likely to end up choosing a role that does not offer a good fit, meaning you will need to repeat the job search process within only a few months.

If you are looking for an agency partner to help you make the very most of the current opportunities in the IT jobs market, get in touch with Sellick Partnership. We have grown our team in this area over the last year, taking on two new consultants, and have a strong track record of success in helping candidates find digital roles in the public and private sectors.

To find out more about how Sellick Partnership can help you find the ideal role, visit our ICT & Digital Technology recruitment services page, where you can browse our latest available jobs and explore online resources to help you prepare for your next big career move.