Vacancies in IT fastest growing of any industry

17 January 2022 2 min. read
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The number of permanent IT vacancies in the UK is growing at one of the fastest rates across all industries. As they struggle to fill such roles, firms may begin to seek to re-skill existing staff – a measure which may also see them be able to drive down the cost of IT labour.

Published by KPMG and REC, the UK Report on Jobs is compiled by IHS Markit, from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. Survey responses are collected in the second half of each month and indicate the direction of change compared to the previous month.

Amid the great resignation, many employers are currently experiencing difficulty recruiting or retaining staff across a multitude of industries. At present, however, few industries seem to be experiencing this pressure like the IT and computing sector. According to the study, of 10 monitored employment categories, the IT sector saw the strongest increasing in permanent vacancies for the second month running.

Vacancies in IT fastest growing of any industry

The news is the result of a perfect storm of pandemic conditions, according to the researchers. With more firms needing to accelerate their digital transformations to accommodate home working over the past two years, there has been a boom in technology jobs in the UK. This means candidates have more choice between roles, seeing them left open for longer. At the same time, having struggled to adapt at first, it seems that employers are only just getting chance to consider long-term hiring strategies, meaning they are not rushing to fill vacancies either.

Lisa Heneghan, Chief Digital Officer at KPMG, explained, “Businesses were scrambling to hire talent to support their efforts, but, for many, it was unclear what digital skills they needed for the long-term. Now that companies have breathing space to plan their future technology strategies, the data suggests that they are hiring smarter, not faster – reflected in the slowdown in the growth rate of permanent staff demand.”

The final month of 2021 saw the seasonally adjusted Permanent IT & Computing Vacancies Index drop to a nine-month low of 74.1. This was down from 75.2 in November and marked the sixth successive slowdown in the rate of permanent staff demand growth in the IT and computing sector. That said, the index still pointed to a marked uplift in vacancies as firms continued to try and expand their workforces. Temporary vacancy growth also slowed from November, but remained sharp.

Heneghan added, “Every company is using technology more and more, so I expect the IT and computing sector to retain its leading position for permanent vacancy growth for the foreseeable future. The challenge for companies will be where to find this talent as there are simply not enough individuals available to fill this huge void, especially as emerging technologies that require unique knowledge and experience are rolled out. Organisations already find themselves paying over the odds for skills that are in high demand, and smaller players will soon be priced out of securing the digital talent they need to survive. As a result, we will see more organisations turn to upskilling their existing employees instead to fulfil their digital requirements.”