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February 1, 2018

Brexit stifled IT jobs talent but gave oxygen to UK salaries

Cyber security, front end developers and cloud computing experts are the most in-demand hires for 2018.

By Sabrina Dougall

Brexit has had a mixed impact on the tech industry, with a growth in cloud computing fuelling a likely rise in cyber security spending in 2018.

Despite British companies seeing record levels of venture capital investment in 2017, major tech employers have held onto purse strings, with a decrease in the levels of new hires in IT jobs compared with previous years.

Morgan McKinley, who carried out the research, allocates some blame to Westminster. “It can be shown that Brexit has played a role in this, as little has been done by the UK Government to gain confidence amongst investors in the Tech industry,” the report said. Researchers note, however, that Theresa May pledged in November to invest an additional £21m into Tech City UK over the next 4 years and increase the exceptional talent visa cap. These measures could well increase the flow of talent to Britain’s gaping IT jobs sector.

Brexit restricted the supply of experienced talent in 2017, yet this has precipitated a rise in permanent salaries by 7% and boosted contractor rates by 12%, according to the report.

By contrast, hiring strengthened in a number of other tech segments. For instance, successful recruitment for data, business analytics, AI and machine learning roles in London was higher than ever before, particularly within healthcare, consulting and financial services industries.

At C-level, CIOs are increasingly being replaced by CDIOs, particularly in consumer-focused companies keen to capitalise on IoT technology. Further down the ladder, functional programming and front end development saw increased demand last year, with the most in-demand skills being competence in HTML5, CSS3, React, Angular2/4, Node, Sketch, and OmniGraffle.

DevOps is another key area for IT jobs growth, with a year on year increase of 14% in the number of roles available. Banks and major retailers are seeking experts in automation tools such as Chef and Puppet as well as cloud platforms like Google, AWS and Azure.

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The report notes that with the rate of change in disruption technologies, difficulties can arise for the technically-inclined over which stream to specialise in. Yet when it comes to cyber security, there is no chance of failure, as the report notes around one million IT jobs in data security across the UK still require trained workers.

Competition for tech workers is still on the up; for instance, the expansion of fintech presented problems for investment banks in securing their first choice candidate. In addition, analytics roles for financial services within audit functions were also at an all-time high last year.

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Companies are particularly focused on bolstering mobile app and web security. As part of this, spending rose on roles encompassing cyberattack prevention such as penetration tester.

With GDPR fast approaching in May this year – and 38% of businesses claiming they have never heard of the regulation – cyber security is likely to becoming a top spend priority for companies in 2018. In fact the new EU rule is expected to open up over 28,000 Data Protection Officer positions in the EU alone.

McKinley found nearly all (95%) organisations use cloud computing which necessitates creation of best practice policy, process and procedure. These factors contribute to a cyber security spend estimation of $1 trillion by 2021. On top of this, the cloud security sector is set to swell by 12% in 2019.

Diversity, as ever, remains a major issue within cyber and information security. Women make up just 11% of the global cyber security workforce and only 1% of entry level staff.

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