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Tech sector ‘fastest growing’ for jobs and salary, report finds

By Holly Williams, PA Deputy City Editor

Salaries in Britain’s technology industry surged in 2019 with cyber security experts among those enjoying hefty pay hikes as the threat of online attacks sent demand soaring, new figures have shown.

A salary report from Reed Specialist Recruitment revealed that technology was the fastest growing sector last year after a 13.8% hike in jobs posted and a 4.7% increase in the average salary.

Its Salary Guide – which analysed 7.5 million jobs posted since the start of 2016 – showed the new data protection rules and the rising threat of cyber crime in particular has seen demand for some roles rocket, which is pushing up salaries.

A network security analyst has seen a 34% rise in average salary since 2017, to £63,000, it found.

But the overall number of UK jobs advertised fell in 2019 after two years of growth, according to the figures.

Other IT roles that saw significant salary hikes over the £40,000 mark include a 22.4% rise for network security analysts, an 11.5% increase for infrastructure security engineers and 7.5% jump for user interface designers.

Brexit also had an impact as some sectors face a skills shortage as a result of the impending EU withdrawal, with pastry chefs among those benefiting from surging wages in a bit to attract applicants – up 28.2% in 2019.

Aside from lucrative tech roles, the report showed that engineering jobs were likewise in high demand, with a 0.9% rise in jobs advertised last year.

However, engineering wages edged 2.1% higher compared with the national average of 3.4%.

Tom Lovell, global managing director at Reed Specialist Recruitment, said: “With continued record levels of employment, salaries are rising in response to skills shortages.

“This is particularly acute in the technology sector as digital transformation continues to be an area of significant investment.

“An ageing workforce combined with a lack of new talent entering the engineering sector is also a challenge, leading to higher vacancy levels.”

He added the report showed how sectors are responding to the changing political and commercial landscape.

“It is no coincidence that talented pastry chefs are in demand, given an historic reliance on EU nationals and our changing relationship with Europe, meaning many chefs have returned overseas,” he said.

The data reveals that increases in the National Living Wage is providing a boost to average salaries in lower level roles.

In fact, it showed the highest rate of average salary increase was for hospitality and leisure workers, at 6.1%.

On the flip side, some roles suffered hefty wage declines last year, with the study revealing a 5% fall for recruitment managers and 4.1% drop for digital marketing managers.

Mr Lovell said the trend for higher wages in lower level roles looks set to continue throughout 2020, while employers are expected to take a more flexible approach and look to “highly skilled temporary or interim workers to meet customer demands”.

A separate report from Morgan McKinley on Monday also showed the impact Brexit is having on the recruitment market.

Its London employment monitor revealed a 42% plunge in jobs available year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The figures also showed a 31% drop in City job seekers year-on-year in the final three months of 2019.