Three jars in a line are holding increasing amounts of money, each with growing leaves coming out of them symbolising monetary growth over time.
Image: © SasinParaksa/

Tech salaries are climbing alongside demand for vital digital skills

11 Dec 2019

Hays’ James Milligan discusses the upwards trajectory of tech salaries and digital skills in the UK for 2020.

The competition for tech talent in the UK market is fuelling intense skills shortages, and these have the potential to put key projects at risk.

According to the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2020 report, an overwhelming 91pc of tech employers say they have experienced skills shortages over the past year. Furthermore, more than half (61pc) foresee a shortage of suitable candidates to be their main recruitment challenge next year too.

Employers reported that their ability to deliver projects is being affected by these shortages and a further 48pc state they are impacting productivity, putting their ability to meet vital business objectives at risk.

Tech salaries continue to climb

Of course, short supply and high demand for tech talent means that salaries have, once again, risen as employers try to compete for the best candidates.

Over the last year, there has been a 1.8pc average salary increase in the UK. Those areas that saw the most notable average salary increases include development (5.1pc average salary increase over the last year), leadership roles (3pc) and data and advanced analytics (2.9pc).

Similar to the Irish market, the tech roles that look set to be in particular demand in the UK in 2020 include:

  1. BI analyst
  2. DevOps engineer
  3. Software engineering lead
  4. Software developer
  5. Web developer
  6. Security engineer
  7. Cloud engineer
  8. Data scientist
  9. Cloud architect
  10. Scrum master

Employers will need to be proactive to overcome skills shortages

Tech employers looking to hire and retain talent in this competitive market would be well advised to plan their recruitment needs in advance, source candidates from beyond their traditional talent pools, while also speeding up their time to hire – which is particularly important in relation to securing contractors.

Of course, wherever possible, they should also look to benchmark their salaries and day rates. However, it is also important to offer technology candidates ‘more’ than just good salaries. This might include promoting clear progression pathways to permanent candidates, as well benefits such as more than 28 days’ annual leave and training or professional certification support, which 49pc and 43pc of technology employees say are important to them, respectively.

Candidates should remember to focus on soft skills

For employees, the upshot of so much demand for tech talent is that if you work in an area where candidates are in especially short supply, you’ll be in a position to choose from a range of roles with competitive pay rises.

If your role isn’t on the list above, it may be worth using the new year as an opportunity to revise your skills portfolio and have a think about where you want your career to go.

Of course, candidates shouldn’t just focus on their technical skillsets. Soft skills such as communication, problem-solving and critical thinking are all in high demand, reflecting the evolution of technology as a function as it moves from simply offering support, to being a core area of the business with the need to work across multiple departments in a wider strategic capacity.

Those tech professionals who can demonstrate the right mix of technical and soft skills will be best placed to capitalise on salary increases in the year ahead.


By James Milligan

James Milligan is a director of UK, Ireland and EMEA at Hays.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading