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ONS reports tech jobs boost – but workers voting to WFH means offices may need scaling back

Following the release of Office for National Statistics (ONS) jobs data today finding that UK Tech has created more than 100,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, new Harvey Nash Tech Survey 2021 data has found that technology companies may need to dramatically scale back their office space, as staff want to mainly WFH post Covid-19.

The preliminary data from the Harvey Nash Tech Survey 2021, which will be launched next month, found:

  • WFH post pandemic – Over three quarters (79%) of tech workers, the equivalent of over 1 million people working in the sector, want to continue working the majority of the week (3-5 days) from home after the pandemic. 95% want to work 2-5 days a week from home. This compares with only 42% of tech professionals working 2-5 days a week from home prior to the pandemic.
  • Work location and remote working second only to pay for job seekers – The extraordinary shift to on-mass WFH in the past 12 months has also led to ‘work location and remote working’ being identified for the first time as one of the top three most important factors when looking for a new job in tech, second only to pay. The top three more important factors are now – remuneration (1.), work location and remote working (2.), and a strong culture & strong leadership (3.).
  • Distance between home and work increasing – Over a third (38%) or tech professionals also reported that homeworking during the pandemic has increased the distance they are prepared to live from the office by a little (12.59%) or significantly (25.44%).
  • Office of the future – With the equivalent of 1 million UK tech workers aiming to continue working the majority of the week from home after the pandemic, Harvey Nash believes that this will not only have a huge impact on tech office space and hubs, but it will also drive many more remote jobs particularly in areas such as cyber-security, data analysis, software engineering/development, and those with skills in AI and machine learning.

Bev White, Chief Executive, Harvey Nash Group, said:

“The ONS figures underline the strong health of tech amidst booming demand for digital and cloud-based solutions and services in the Covid era. We don’t see any sign of this changing, and expect many thousands more jobs to be created in tech through the rest of this year and beyond. The pandemic has not dimmed tech – in fact, it has turned up the lights.”

UK Tech – a sustainable job creator with over 100,000 jobs created since the start of the pandemic

The ONS data also showed today that there are now almost 1.6 million technology jobs in the UK, and the sector has created over 100,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, and over 300,000 jobs over the last three years.

With tech skills in high demand, and technology leaders continuing to report skills shortages throughout the pandemic[1], the Harvey Nash Tech Survey 2021 preliminary data has also shown that few in the industry have taken a pay cut during the pandemic, with 82% of UK tech workers seeing their salary remain the same (54%), or increase (28%), over the last 12 months.

Bev White, Chief Executive, Harvey Nash Group, concluded:

“To build on this and support employment levels in the UK post-pandemic, we need to see more encouragement from industries and government to bring people into technology roles. More entry paths are needed that open up opportunities to wider and more diverse groups.

 Women are seriously under-represented in tech. But they absolutely have the skills and ability to find successful tech careers. We need to redouble our efforts across the tech sector to attract talent and get the message out there: Come on in, everyone is welcome, this is an industry full of opportunity.”

[1] 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey