With Brexit imminent, employee confidence and business willingness to spend have taken a significant blow. According to figures from an annual Salary Survey by global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, this impact will see professional UK salaries remain fairly static through 2019.
In stark contrast to this bleak forecast, the IT sector can expect to see intense hiring activity and salary increases.
James Murray, director of Financial Services at Robert Walters, said: “We are seeing a decrease in candidate confidence in terms of people actually wanting to move in light of relative uncertainty.
“We have also seen some hiring pauses and we have seen longer timescales in terms of new hires being signed off. Nonetheless there is still a lot of recruitment activity for technology jobs in the banking and financial sector, particularly around information security, machine learning, natural language processing and data engineering.”
According to the analysis, the UK remains a leading country in Europe in terms of candidates with IT skills. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of roles advertised in the tech sector increased by 11%.
With tech hubs in the regions growing at three times the rate of London, and job creation up, this demand is being reflected in increased salaries. The survey revealed that IT talent in hubs outwith London could expect a pay increase of 20% in 2019.
At the end of last year, the UK gained more IT talent from abroad than it lost by a margin of 10%. Based on analysis of the figures, experts at Robert Walters expect job creation in the sector to increase by a further 11% across the UK this year.
Ahsan Iqbal, director of IT at Robert Walters, said: “The UK tech sector is continuing to grow strongly and we expect that to continue. It is not one that is overly dependent on supply chains and is a genuinely global sector, so it appears to be largely unaffected by Brexit.
“Companies that are going to be successful in the future are those that are investing in tech – AI, robotics, e-commerce and fintech.
“London has what is probably the best pool of talent in the world in terms of tech and will continue to thrive and lead in this area. However, we are seeing a rebalancing in terms of regional centres such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds growing even more strongly in terms of tech jobs, which is a good thing for the economy.
“There is definitely a candidate shortage in certain areas of tech in London which is helping to drive this trend. But it’s also about costs and new ways of working.”