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Bonus Pot for UK Tech Professionals to hit £1BN

The UK’s tech bonus pot is expected to increase massively in 2021, an examination of the current tech jobs market has concluded. 

The forecast by specialist technology recruiter Randstad, looked at changes in the size and frequency of bonuses in the industry.  Not only have salaries risen this year, so have the number of people expecting them. 

Individual’s bonus forecasts are 25% higher than they were last year – and 39% of tech professionals now expect to receive a bonus (up from 38% last year).  

With average salaries higher in 2021 (up to approximately £43,100, from £41,800), and the number of people working in the sector now sitting at more than 1.25 million, the tech industry’s bonus pot is set to top £1bn this year, up from £664m in 2020.

Randstad examined two areas of the sector in particular, software development and cyber security.  The total software development bonus pot for 2021 is set to hit the £335m mark this year, up more than 30% from 2020 when the total was £255m.

And the 2021 bonus pot for cybersecurity professionals will burst the £150m mark this year – up from £126m in 2020 to £166m in 2021.  High flying cyber security professionals in London can now command salaries of almost £81,000 according to the recruiter.

The bonuses reflect technology adoption during the pandemic, which has shifted customer behaviour and business needs, unbalancing of supply and demand.  According to the latest data from the ONS, the number of web design and software development professionals in the UK grew by a fifth in the last year (20%).  The number of IT project and programme managers has increased by 37% year-on-year.

Adrian Smith, senior director of operations at Randstad UK said, Come Christmas, employers aren’t going to get away with a heart-warming token gesture.  Not this year.  More tech professionals expect to get bonuses, and they expect those bonuses to be bigger and better, too.  In software development, for example, people who were happy with a 4%, £1,600-bonus last year will be looking for £2,100.  And why not?  Bonuses are vital in attracting and keeping the elite performers.  Isn’t it fair that their creativity, effort, leadership, and hard work be rewarded?  It is one of the central tenets of capitalism.  Employers can try not to play ball but even now, high achievers are polishing up their CVs and looking for new employment.  If you don’t pay a bigger bonus  this year, your good people are going to walk.

“The merry-go-round has started again.  People are also being offered guaranteed bonuses during their first year or two; and signing-on bonuses.  Once ‘everybody is doing it’, everybody has to do it. 

“Having said that, we aren’t seeing the sort of colossal payouts that investment bankers regularly trouser in the City.  Despite the spectacular £1bn bonus pot, at an individual level, these aren’t extravagant rewards.  Bonuses remain only a small component of total earnings in tech.  While three times as many tech workers expect to get a bonus representing more than a third of their annual salary this year, that still only represents three percent of tech workers!  The extra money is nice, certainly – but it’s not life changing.”