Life sciences and tech facing 'talent wars'

The "war for talent" is returning to the UK with a surge of post-pandemic vacancies in skill-short sectors far outpacing the number of people seeking to fill them, according to a new analysis. Plus, an update on UK regions and the search for AI, cloud and robotics skills.

Human and technology concept with woman.
Data from Broadbean Technology, the global network of job boards, showed that while UK vacancies saw a 20% rise in Q1 compared to the last three months of 2020, applicant numbers rose by just 4%.Additionally, the analysis found that, year-on-year, candidate numbers in the first quarter of 2021 were 34% lower than in 2020, "suggesting that a talent war could well be returning to the UK recruitment market", according to Broadbean.

UK technology sector: 35% increase in vacancies

The company said that sectors such as IT and life sciences appear to have been particularly badly hit by the decline in the number of jobseekers.In the tech sector, Broadbean found that there had been a 35% increase in vacancies in the first quarter compared to Q4 of 2020, but that the number of job applicants had risen by just 1%.Pharmaceutical and life sciences, meanwhile, saw an 18%, quarter-on-quarter, jump in vacancies while the rate of increase in job applicants was only 6%.

UK vacancy numbers suggest economic recovery from Coronavirus pandemic is "well underway"

Alex Fourlis, managing director of Broadbean Technology, said, “It’s incredibly encouraging to see such a strong recovery in vacancy number over the past few months and certainly suggests that the recovery from the pandemic is well underway."However while our data shows that the UK jobs market is returning to normality, it is surprising that in the first three months of the year, employers actually received less applicants per job compared to the same period last year."And while we can’t say whether the war for talent we are seeing in some sectors has returned for good, there are clear signs that the struggles employers had faced sourcing hard-to-find skill sets in areas that have notoriously faced a dearth of talent – including tech and life sciences – are starting to surface once again."It will be interesting to note how his plays out over the coming weeks and months, but one thing is for sure: we are starting to see parallels to the pre-pandemic employment landscape.”

UK companies roundup: digital skills gap plus demand for AI, cloud and robotics

According to recent research released by Capgemini and LinkedIn, some 54% of companies believed that the digital skills gap was a hindrance to their growth.And consulting giant Accenture reported last month that demand for AI, cloud and robotics skills was soaring - particularly in regional centres - after a dip during last year's Covid-19 lockdowns.Since last July, Accenture found that robotics skills vacancies had increased by 450% in Newcastle, 253% in Leeds and 115% in Liverpool.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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