Tech workers are pre-empting layoffs in 2023 and taking steps to protect their careers, according to new research by CWJobs. The survey – carried out among 2,000 UK tech workers – revealed more than half (53%) are pre-emptively applying for new jobs in case of redundancies at their firm.
The research suggested that London tech workers feel at even higher risk, with nearly two thirds (63%) pre-emptively applying for a new job in case of layoffs – the highest out of any region. Young people are also more likely to make sure they have a Plan B in place, with 62% of 18-24-year-old tech workers actively applying for new jobs in case they are laid off, compared to 24% of those aged 55+.
Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs, comments: “Tech workers are showing signs of uncertainty around job security – likely triggered by what they are reading in the news and on social media. So, employers need to go the extra mile to reassure them and build a strong sense of security in their current role and long-term career prospects. This could be key to attracting and retaining much-needed talent over the coming months and years.”
The reassuring reality
According to the latest ONS data, just 1.2% of ‘information and communication’ companies are planning to make their workforce redundant over the next three months. This is lower than the average across all businesses (1.5%), suggesting that high-profile tech layoffs are not indicative of the situation in the wider industry.
Despite what’s being reported in the news, a shortage of tech workers remains, and candidates continue to be in extremely high demand. New CWJobs data reveals that the number of job vacancies in the UK between October and December 2022 rose to a record high of 502,151. This was an increase of 11% against pre-pandemic levels (compared to Oct-Dec19)*. The five roles in highest demand Oct-Dec 2022 are: Software Developer, .NET Developer, Data Engineer, Java Developer, DevOps Engineer.
Harvey continued: “The jobs market remains highly competitive – so if employees or candidates are made to feel insecure or uncertain at any stage, from the job advert through to employment, they will find plenty of opportunities elsewhere. Employers need to address how skilled workers are feeling and take proactive steps to build trust.”
CWJobs shares the following top tips for employers to build a strong sense of security in the tech workforce:
- Make job adverts as comprehensive as possible: Candidates will want to know the job role has been well thought out and has a clear purpose within the organisation. The job advert is ultimately a sales pitch and companies should provide details of benefits. They could also include insights such as the size and experience of the current team, employer videos, and photos of the working environment to assure candidates they are applying for a role in a strong, high-performing business.
- Build trust in the recruitment stage: It has never been more important for employers to build trust with candidates, and this needs to happen from their very first interaction. By outlining a clear recruitment process – and sticking to it – employers will create a strong sense of certainty. New hires will then take this experience and attitude through to the role itself.
- Take additional steps to widen the pool of candidates: With signs that there is some uncertainty creeping in across the market, extra effort may be required to ensure the widest range of talent is reached and encouraged to apply. Many employers are now including a disclaimer on job adverts to make sure that candidates that don’t meet all requirements still feel confident to apply. There are also many tools available to support unbiased and inclusive recruitment.
- Provide certainty over working practices: Flexible working has been one of the biggest sources of uncertainty at work in recent times, and candidates are no longer willing to accept that policies are a ‘work-in-progress’. When setting guidelines and advertising vacancies, employers should consider that over half of tech workers (55%) are looking for a combination of home and office working.
- Look after current employees: There are going to be some challenging times ahead and, beyond job security, many workers may have concerns including managing their finances and navigating the cost-of-living crisis. It’s never been more important for employers to offer appropriate resources and support to bolster the overall wellbeing of the workforce. This could include training individuals in mental health awareness, and providing access to Employee Assistance Programmes which are intended to help employees deal with personal problems.