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February 9, 2016updated 04 Sep 2016 10:27pm

Resilient IT & technology sector named most recession-proof occupation

News: Silicon Gorge area between Bath and Bristol named fastest growing tech hub outside London.

By Vinod

Technology jobs have been called one of the most recession-proof professions in the UK, with those in IT jobs surviving the economic crisis better than any other profession.

The total wage bill for full-time employees in IT jobs has risen 82% in real terms from £17.4bn in 2002 to £31.6bn in 2014, reaching 5% of the total wage bill for all UK full time employees. Oxford Economics has forecast that the number of tech businesses in the country will rise to 51,500 by 2025.

In addition to this, 400,000 full-time additional jobs have been created due to the growing demand for technology across the UK.

Randstad Technologies managing director Ruth Jacobs said: "The increasing demand for Tech has been the umbrella which sheltered the sector from the storm of the recession.

"But this rapid expansion means there is tough competition for Tech talent as employers want to find the right people for the right jobs.

"The demand for people will advanced IT skills will only grow in the future, as Britain will need 2.2 million digitally skilled workers by 2020 to match the sector’s potential. This means that if you are qualified for software developer jobs, data analyst jobs or network engineer jobs, it will be easier to find work, with almost no chance of being laid off long periods of time"

Overall, full time workforce rose by 1.4 million but aggregate pay bill for full-time staff fell in real terms by 3% from £653.8bn in 2002 to £634.1bn in 2014.

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The least resilient profession has been that of travel agents, whose total wage bill fell by 55.6% from £946m in 2002 to £420m in 2014.

According to the analysis, it was technology that has hit the travel agents hard as more travellers booked their holidays online, thus cutting the number of travel agents by halve to 23,000.

Among the various regions in the UK, the South West has been the IT hub with companies such as Vodafone, Toshiba and IBM having their offices there. The Silicon Gorge area between Bath and Bristol has been the fastest growing tech cluster outside of London, supported by new start-ups.

Randstad Technologies sales manager Chris Sheard said: "The Tech industry has helped the South West stay afloat when other industries were going under. Tech jobs in the South West are still 37% higher than the regional average."

Research published by O2 in October found that the country will need 2.287 million digitally skilled workers by 2020, with 47% of the new jobs created in the next five years in London and the South East.

London is home to more than 71,000 professional developers, greater than any other European city, the metropolitan area of San Francisco and New York City, according to a report by Online developer community Stack Overflow and London mayor’s official promotional company London & Partners. The capital city’s tech sector is predicted to employ 239,700 by 2025, with its employment growth rate outperforming the national average.

According to Stack Overflow’s 2015 Annual User Survey, London’s developers are amongst the best paid in Europe, earning an average of £56,830 a year.

Jacobs said: "IT jobs still offer some of the highest average salaries in the UK, overtaking accountants. While the average salary figures have been boosted by the number of IT jobs in London, the growth of Fin Tech jobs and IT security Jobs have helped the sector to do well compared to other industries. A recent study by the ONS found that bonus payments in the tech sector are now second only to investment bankers."

Randstad Technologies conducted analysis of ONS and professional industry data, ranking each occupation by the change in the aggregate wage bill for full-time staff between 2002 and 2014, adjusting for the effects of inflation.

Changes in real wages are also shown below as is the consistency of performance over three sub-periods with very different economic conditions, the buoyant times of 2002-6, the downturn of 2007-10 – and the recovery of 2011-14.


Photo: courtesy of / Gabriella Fabbri.

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