Confidence high in UK tech despite pandemic

The UK’s tech sector is poised to receive a major investment boost in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

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The research by leading IT jobs board CWJobs and based on a survey of more than a thousand tech workers and 500 of the sector's decision-makers, found that 49 per cent of the latter believed their companies would increase budgets as a result of the lessons learnt from the outbreak.CWJobs' annual Confidence Index also found confidence long-term confidence among IT professionals in the future of their industry with 85 per cent believing the sector would be in a good state in five years' time.At the moment, however, the impact of Covid-19 is the dominant concern among just over half of IT professionals, with 44 per cent revealing their companies had already been impacted detrimentally by the virus.Dominic Harvey, a CWJobs director, said: “It’s not a huge surprise to see that Covid-19 has had an impact on the tech industry, much like the rest of the business world. However, it is good to see overall confidence in the sector remains high and that is justified by the vital role the industry has played in keeping UK businesses running and providing integral support to those operating on the front line.“Despite this being a tough time at the moment, the UK’s tech scene is being recognised for the role it’s playing and could be set to be in a good enough place to kick on once the pandemic subsides if IT budgets are increased.“Until then, it’s clear IT professionals are focused on providing the support they can and ensuring they have the right skills in place to keep things running now, before expanding in the future as everything gets back on track.”The survey found the pandemic had put renewed emphasis on the importance of IT support skills to keep systems running. The report found that 39 per cent of respondents believed general IT skills were the most needed asset to succeed in the industry at a time when many companies look to ensure their teams and infrastructure can support remote working.However, while the importance of general IT support skills was deemed essential in the short term, some 36 per cent felt cyber security would become of increasing importance in the future.Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) was regarded by 37 per cent as the top specialism needed in the industry over the next two to five years.And while losing talent to jobs overseas remained a prime concern in the industry, the threat has felt to have diminished over the past 12. While 26 per cent said they feared losing staff to jobs abroad in the 2019, only 19 per cent voiced similar fears this year.Julian David, CEO of the trade body techUK, commented: “The UK has always had a historically strong technology industry. However, like any other sector it is affected by the economic uncertainty we are currently experiencing."The data published today showing that confidence remains high provides some reassurance but our approach to the next phase in our response to this crisis will be crucial.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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