It’s a great time to be working in technology. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world today and, according to Deloitte, the rate of change and the level of disruption driven by modern technology are exponential.
And rightly so. Technology impacts every business and consumer – from software and security through to gadgets and entertainment – and there is no sign of it slowing down. Developers are constantly looking at ways to create pioneering solutions and disruptive technologies. 2017 really does have a lot in store for us.
We can expect to see advances in some of the most highly anticipated developments including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and augmented reality. But what’s key to making them all succeed is people. Technology depends on people with the creativity to come up with ideas and the expertise to build it (and make it work).
More technology jobs
This means that we will see a significant increase in the number of tech job opportunities – even at a time when Brexit is creating a lot of uncertainty in the UK. In fact, we are already seeing some of the world’s biggest organisations pledge to create more jobs in the UK. In November, Google announced plans to open a new London head office that will result in 3,000 new jobs by 2020. Facebook also revealed its intentions to open a new London headquarters in 2017, and consequently hire 500 more employees, including engineers, marketers, project managers and sales staff, increasing its headcount by 50 per cent to more than 1,500.
Even global investment firms have pledged to continue their support for the UK’s tech sector despite the vote to leave the EU, with many citing London as an important hub for future growth. PitchBook data sourced by London & Partners found that, in the first half of 2016, British firms attracted $1.3 billion in venture capital funding. Some of the largest deals completed after the referendum vote included London-based transport app Citymapper ($40m), Student.com ($60m) and a $65 million deal for British cybersecurity firm Darktrace.
The same data also revealed that, since 2011, London’s technology sector received more venture capital investment than any other major European city. The capital’s companies attracted $6.64 billion in 2,894 deals, outperforming cities including Paris, Berlin and Stockholm. There is no denying there is a considerable amount confidence from the tech industry.
While we won’t know the full effects of Brexit until it actually happens, we do know that technology firms are not being put off from hiring talented workers. This tells us that, in 2017, the tech recruitment sector is going to be a fruitful one. For as long as companies continue to grow and start-ups launch in the UK, we will see a massive increase in job opportunities.
As for the types of jobs, we can expect developers to be highly sought after. After all, developers are the talent behind the successful technologies we use today and the technologies we will use more of in the future (like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and augmented reality). In our experience, companies want to hire developers who possess a combination of technical and product skills as well as care about solving customer problems.
Better recruitment models
The growth in demand for tech talent will also spell a change for the recruitment industry. Currently, there is a lot of pain in hiring people. Tech firms using traditional recruitment agencies are often passed to salespeople that are more focused on getting their numbers up and that lack tech industry experience, wasting time for all parties involved. Furthermore, many are very focused on client care yet spend very little time getting to know the jobseekers’ needs and wants.
For the tech industry to continue to flourish, there needs to be a change in how technical teams are headhunted and hired by organisations. Recruiters need to put in the legwork so they can bring the innovative companies direct to skilled developers, while taking the pain out of the recruitment process – that means no middlemen, no timewasting, and no irrelevant candidates. Otherwise, our industry will face unfilled jobs and high staff turnovers.
In 2017, we will see the tech recruitment industry being shaken up by a new breed of recruitment agency that will make recruiting a whole lot easier. We will see them up the ante on client and candidate care (getting to know their needs and wants), enabling them to handpick the best tech talent and bring innovative companies (like Google and Facebook) direct to them.
We are already witnessing selective recruitment platforms like talent.io enter the jobs market, and next year we will see them take market share away from traditional IT recruitment agencies. What’s interesting about these platforms is that they enable companies to interact directly with the IT pros that best suit their needs, send job descriptions and request interviews. If the candidates are interested, both sides can meet (without the middlemen) and the process goes on, with agency experts on hand if needed to provide salary negotiation advice and more.
Essentially, this improved recruitment model will give control back to technology firms. There will also be more transparency, where companies can be brutally honest about who they are and what it’s like to work there (warts, perks and all) – as well as appear real and human. And, if the tech industry is to grow exponentially as experts predict, this is just what firms need.
John Hazelton, UK Country Manager, talent.io
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