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Hays Technology Warns of Skills Drain as 62% IT Professionals Have Job Interview in 6 months

Employers Warned to Act Now to Retain Key Talent

Technology talent is becoming harder than ever to retain, as IT professionals are actively seeking better prospects. That is one of the key findings from a Quarterly Insights survey conducted by Hays Technology which shows that 60% of technology professionals are set to move jobs in the next 12 months and nearly half, 45%, intend to do so within 6 months. Signalling that this is more than just wishful thinking, 62% of the technology professionals surveyed have attended at least one interview in the past 6 months.

The survey findings also showed that a lack of prospects is one reason to start looking for another job, with almost a quarter, (22%) saying that there is a lack of career opportunity within their current organisation. Many have found themselves working longer hours and during periods of annual leave, another driver to search for a better deal elsewhere. 46% say they have worked longer hours while working remotely, compared to pre-pandemic, with 43% working an extra 5 hours a week; 38% working between 5 and 10 extra hours and almost one-fifth (19%) working more than 10 extra hours each week. A third (34%) say they have worked during their annual leave this year too.

The trend for more hybrid ways of working is growing across all sectors and is demonstrably important for tech professionals, with 60% wanting to combine a mix of office and home-based working. 21% would like to work from home all of the time and 35% say they have made changes to their personal life during the pandemic that affect their preferences around workplace setting. Just 11% want a full-time return to office working.

As the IT skills shortage grows, employers would be well advised to consider the terms and benefits they currently offer to technology professionals and take steps to improve their offer, in order to retain these much-needed employees.

Hays Technology UK and Ireland Director James Hallahan said: “During any kind of skills shortage, particularly the one we’re seeing in the tech market currently, it’s not unusual to see candidates getting multiple offers and counter-offers that sometimes entice them to stay with their current employer. Often though, the retention is short-lived as once someone has decided to leave, they are already half-way through the door. A better retention strategy might be to listen to what employees want now and construct new ways of working with updated HR policies that make employees feel valued by and invested in their organisation. This may help build loyalty and increase retention in the long-term.”

Technology is not the only area experiencing a skills shortage – other sectors including finance, construction, marketing and engineering are also finding it difficult to fill vacancies with sufficiently experienced and skilled professionals. Technology does seem to be at the forefront of the current trend however, perhaps driven by the massive acceleration in the utilisation of digital technology during the Covid-19 pandemic which has built demand for skills in areas such as cloud technology, cyber-security, software development and change management.

“It is too soon to say with certainty what effect all of this is having on salaries,” James added. “But in these circumstances, we would expect that salary expectations will go up. We’ve already seen pay increases in counter-offers for the most in-demand IT professionals, and this will probably translate into a shift upwards for base salary rates across the sector.”

The data for the Hays Quarterly Insights Survey was collected 12th May to 1st June 2021, using 8301 responses, with over 350 from technology professionals.