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4 key takeaways from an analysis of the U.K. IT labour market

January 13, 2023, By Caylie Privitere, Research Analyst

The U.K. is facing a severe shortage of tech professionals as mounting job vacancies in tech exceed vacancies in any other labour area. A growing shortage of digital skills leaves few qualified candidates to fill these roles. What’s more, the HE sector is struggling to recruit tech talent due to competitive salaries and greater remote work flexibility outside of the sector.

To help leaders better understand the current IT labour market, EAB analyzed job postings for technology roles. The analysis compared tech jobs in HE to all other sectors. Read on for four key takeaways from that analysis.

1. HE advertises fewer remote work opportunities than other industries

Among job postings for IT professionals, 5.18% of postings in the HE sector advertise remote work compared to 16.61% of postings in all other industries. Most HE IT job postings do not advertise whether the position allows remote work, missing an opportunity to appeal to candidates seeking flexible work arrangements.

HE IT shops could be losing potential applicants and current staff by offering fewer remote work opportunities, considering 95% of U.K. tech workers want to work from home at least two days per week.

2. HE is focused on system administrator and technical support positions instead of solution architects and engineers

Compared to all other industries, HE more frequently advertises ‘systems administrator,’ ‘support officer,’ and ‘support technician’ positions. All other industries more frequently advertise ‘solution architect,’ ‘systems engineer,’ and ‘security engineer’ titles.

These trends hold true for remote-specific job postings as well. Employers request the skill ‘technical support’ in 12.58% of HE remote postings compared to 7.58% of all other industry remote postings.


3. Postings for HE roles fail to advertise opportunities to work on specific emerging programming and software tools

While programming languages are among the most in-demand skills across industries, employers in all other industries more frequently request skills in specific programming tools and software (e.g., ‘Amazon Web Services,’ ‘Power BI’) in job postings. HE often requests skills that require the use of specific programming tools and software, like ‘operating systems,’ but lags in advertising the latest trends in IT skills. In fact, HE more frequently advertises non-technical IT skills, such as ‘administrative support,’ ‘procurement,’ and ‘social sciences.’


4. HE job postings list required years of work experience less often than all other industries

HE IT departments list required years of experience in 10.77% of all job postings while all other industries list required years of experience in 21.17% of postings.

HE IT departments list required work experience less often because they tend to struggle to recruit more experienced talent and often rely on developing less experienced talent to fulfill more senior roles. Unsurprisingly, most IT shops have shifted their focus to recruiting early-career talent because they are usually more successful at recruiting this demographic.


What does this mean for your institution’s IT job postings?

HE institutions can make two immediate modifications to their IT job postings to better compete for tech talent based on takeaways that surfaced in the labour market analysis. First, when possible, ensure postings advertise remote and hybrid work opportunities to attract a wider pool of candidates. Second, consider removing unnecessary experience requirements that could dissuade otherwise talented candidates from applying.

Caylie Privitere

Caylie Privitere

Research Analyst

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