As the new Covid lockdown begins and more businesses fear for the worst, it seems the virus is providing a silver lining for the digital and tech industry at least, with over half of all workers considering a career change in a move which could ultimately see the tech skills gap disappear.
A survey of over 2,000 professionals from CWJobs found that over half (55%) of non-tech workers are contemplating a career change, although fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) have already made the move.
According to IBM, there are already one million unfilled jobs in the IT sector, while a recent Accenture report claimed the digital skills gap could cost the UK economy as much as £141bn in GDP growth promised by investment in intelligent technologies over the next ten years.
Ironically, the pandemic has further exposed the skills shortage, with nearly half (45%) of tech workers reporting that their company is currently recruiting for tech-based roles, offering greater opportunities for those looking to retrain and upskill into the booming sector.
Covid has also hit professional aspirations with one in eight (12%) suggesting the pandemic has accelerated their ambition to change careers. Additionally, 25% of the workers surveyed said they would put job stability and security over salary.
Jobs within the tech industry often much higher salaries than other sectors and, as remote working becomes more critical, careers in the sector are also seen as future-proof.
A fifth (20%) of tech workers said one of the main advantages of their role is the fact that companies are prioritising technology due to learnings from the coronavirus. The top tech skills workers feel their company needs, according to the survey, are in IT support (33%) and cyber security (23%).
TechUK policy manager for skills. talent and diversity Nimmi Patel said: “Having played an integral role in supporting business and the public throughout the pandemic, when it was most needed, tech skills and roles are now more valued than ever.
“As the benefits to working within tech are widely recognised by those outside of the sector, these new findings indicate we’re likely to see more people turn their careers towards tech. Now is the time for the industry to seize on the enthusiasm from those interested in different careers and grasp the opportunity to tackle the UK’s skills gap and create a more diverse sector.”
CWJobs director Dominic Harvey added: “As businesses try to emerge from the pandemic in the best shape they can, it’s clear that technology is key to achieving long-term success. The tech skills supporting innovations, services and companies across the UK remain the most important factor, feeding demand to an industry that already experiences an obvious skills gap.
“Tapping into this new pipeline of future talent will help alleviate the gap by supporting and offering training to those willing to learn and upskill. Going forward, businesses must be open to welcoming individuals into the industry, considering various job backgrounds, levels of experience and the transferable skills that new candidates can bring to the role and their company. In doing so, the tech job market will remain agile and robust, offering unique opportunities for all.”
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