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October 11, 2016updated 25 Oct 2016 1:09pm

Digital skills gap boosts UK tech salaries

Skills gap sparks talent war as digitisation becomes key for businesses.

By James Nunns

Starting salaries for professional roles are slowly going up, but the real growth is in the technology sector.

The average starting salaries for professional roles has grown since 2013 by 3.68% while salaries for roles in finance, financial services, technology and administration are predicted to grow by a further 2.1% in 2017.

That’s according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide which benchmarks starting salaries for more than 275 different roles.

One of the key reasons for the rise in starting salaries is due to the skills shortage. The problem is that with not enough highly skilled people available to fill the roles there is more competition to hire them.

The Robert Half research shows that the need for professionals to build new systems due to a growing emphasis on digitisation is creating a war for the best talent.

This war is leading to salaries for developers and junior developers being predicted to grow above average at 4.5% and 4.2% respectively. Salaries for mobile app developers are set to rise by 4.3%.

Digitisation focus is helping to drive up tech salaries.

Digitisation focus is helping to drive up tech salaries.


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Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half UK, UAE and South America, said: “Productivity and growth are today’s premium business mantras and the growing skills shortage is one of the key challenges for any organisation to overcome. Competition for the best people is intensifying and as this year’s guide demonstrates, salaries for hard to fill roles continue to rise and outpace the average salary by a significant margin.”

A similar trend can be seen in the area of accountancy and finance where difficult areas to hire, according to UK CFOs, are compliance (21%), accounting (20%), and business and financial analysis (19%). This is reflected in higher than average predicted salary rises for financial planning and analysis manager (5.8%), group accountants (3.8%), and financial analysts (3.8%).

The impact of challenger banks and fintechs in the financial services sector is also creating strong opportunities for professionals with retail banking skills. The high-demand has put pressure on the traditional FS sector when competing for new employees.

Financial Services is seeing a similar rise in salaries thanks to increased competition in the market.

Financial Services is seeing a similar rise in salaries thanks to increased competition in the market.


Internal audit managers will see an increase of 3.7%, while senior operational risk managers should expect to see a 5.2% rise, operational risk managers will see a 4.3% rise.

Sheridan said: “From above average salary rises predicted for software developers and mobile app developers building systems to satisfy the digitisation agenda to increased remuneration for the customer service, sales and marketing staff who help to drive commercial business activity.”

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