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UK tech an 'engine of job creation' as vacancies leap 36%

File photo dated 04/03/20 of a laptop on a dining room table set up as a remote office to work from home. One in three British workers does not think they will not be back in their office or other workplace until at least next year, according to a new survey.
Britain's IT sector is on a hiring drive, figures suggest. Photo: PA

Vacancies in Britain’s tech sector have jumped 36% in the past two months, according to analysis by entrepreneur network Tech Nation.

UK digital minister Oliver Dowden dubbed the IT industry an “engine of job creation,” with more vacancies than any other bar healthcare on jobs site Adzuna in August.

Recruitment in IT declined as lockdown hit earlier this year. It remains well below the 150,000 jobs a week seen in the first three months of the year, but rose by more than a third between June and early August to around 90,000.

Analysis by Tech Nation to mark London Tech Week found front-end developers were among the five most-advertised roles in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cambridge. They are also among the nine cities that now have more than a fifth of their workforces in tech roles.


READ MORE: UK vacancies up by 53% since May, soaring past half a million

Cambridge and Belfast have the highest proportion of digital tech jobs, with more than one in four adverts for a role in the sector.

Tech Nation claims Britain remains the “undisputed leader” for tech in Europe. It found Britain had more unicorns than Germany, France and the Netherlands combined, and that UK startups have received £7.5bn ($9.87bn) in venture capital investment this year.

The research also highlighted “considerable evidence” of tech firms like Amazon (AMZN) recruiting for non-tech roles, as well as non-tech firms like Tesco (TSCO.L) hiring tech staff.

READ MORE: Cambridge, UK tech and the dangers of poorly managed growth

Amazon recently announced plans to take on another 7,000 new workers at three new UK warehouses this year, within its existing delivery network, and at its UK head office, in roles varying from engineering to HR.

The e-commerce giant’s UK country manager Doug Gurr said in a statement that tech played a key role in keeping the country connected and driving the economy “more than ever before.”

Cindy Rose, UK CEO of Microsoft, also welcomed the hiring recovery in a statement, but added: “At the same time, it highlights the critical need for everyone – industry and government – to find ways to address the digital skills gap that existed before COVID but has only worsened since.”

Separate figures published by Adzuna on Monday showed Cambridge and Guildford both had more job adverts than jobseekers in a study last month. IT is the sector with most vacancies in both locations.

Recruitment has been picking up overall across the UK since lockdown restrictions have eased. Adzuna data also shows vacancies at the end of August were up 53% since May, though they remain 40% below pre-lockdown levels.