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25 Years of IT Recruitment in Wales; How has the Job Market Changed?

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Back in 1994, the IT recruitment industry in Wales was vastly different. IntaPeople’s Phil Handley and Arran Warner outline how the IT job market in Wales has changed.

25 years ago, the Office for National Statistics reported high unemployment rates of 9.5%, global technology was in its infancy and companies throughout Wales could often source suitable IT candidates to grow their team with relative ease.

 

In 2019, developments in technology and investment in the region has resulted in significant growth in the tech sector in Wales. Statistics show new tech roles are being created at a rate higher than anywhere else in the UK, with an average of 400 new tech sector jobs each month since 2014, up a huge 83% since 2010.

While these figures are extremely encouraging it also means the IT job market is now driven by candidates; businesses are fighting for the best talent and there are frequent reports of tech skills shortages in the media.

Philip Handley, founder of IntaPeople, said:

“I’ve been involved in the tech sector since leaving school some 40 years ago, however it’s in the more recent years where we’ve seen the most rapid changes and developments.

“COBOL, RPG and Visual Basic were just some of the sought-after IT skills in the 90s. Technology has advanced so much and many of today’s popular roles such as mobile developers and cybersecurity analysts simply didn’t exist 25 years ago when we started IntaPeople.

“It’s extremely positive to see increased investment in Welsh tech businesses but it does come with its challenges. We have noticed employers need to be more strategic with their hiring as candidates have a lot of power and businesses are competing for the best talent.”

For example, the latest report from Tech Nation, Bright Tech Future Jobs/Skills shows demand for Python Developers has grown by over 3000% in Cardiff since 2015. Employers are also looking for a wider range of skill sets, seeking more Full Stack Developers rather than employees specialising in a single programming discipline.

IntaPeople’s Sales Director, Arran Warner added:

“The old way of recruiting, on an ad hoc or contingency basis, is becoming outdated and it can often hinder clients from hiring the best candidates. Where there is a skills shortage and technical talent is more difficult to find, having a clear recruitment strategy is the way forward.

“If you want to employ top tech talent you need to be constantly looking, ready to interview and offer at any time. We have had many instances when a candidate with a sought-after tech skill set is snapped up just hours after coming on the market. Companies that delay or don’t have a relationship with a recruitment partner are the ones that miss out.”

Historically employees would stay in one company for much of their career, working their way up the ladder. However, this culture has changed, and the average UK employee changes jobs every 5 years, with over 50% of software developers changing jobs within 2 years according to statistics from Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey 2019.

Employer branding is becoming as important as your customer facing brand in order to remain competitive and acquire the best talent in the market. As a bonus, LinkedIn reports companies with a stronger employer brand than competitors experience reduced hiring costs.

Warner continued:

“By speaking to jobseekers every day, we have a current understanding of their motivations, including work-life balance and remuneration packages. Providing options such as flexible work hours or remote working are benefits businesses can offer to help attract and retain technical professionals in Wales.

“By working with a recruitment partner such as IntaPeople, forward thinking companies gain from our extensive network and up-to-date candidate and market knowledge, and further benefit from access to today’s highly skilled technology workforce.”

The technology hiring market throughout the UK is fiercely competitive with lots of flourishing tech companies looking to expand their team. If you’re hiring within IT, technology and/or engineering, IntaPeople has compiled the top talent attraction strategies used by some of the leading Welsh companies into a handy guide; IntaPeople top talent attraction strategies. You can download the guide here.