UK tech sees sudden surge in vacancies

The UK is seeing an unexpected surge in vacancies in the tech jobs market after a "bumpy", pandemic-hit summer, according to a new survey.

London skyline
Data from Otta, a startup jobs agency based in London, showed that September saw 3,495 tech roles advertised in the UK, just short of the 3,552 jobs advertised in March before Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were introduced.Last month's jobs tally also represented a 71% increase on the number of jobs available in June.

Strong recovery in available tech jobs

Sam Franklin, Otta co-founder and CEO, said, “While it is an uncertain time for both companies and job-seekers, our data offers some reassurance to people that are looking for jobs."While job vacancies in some industries have been slow to recover, we have seen a strong recovery in the tech jobs market in recent months, with lots of great companies continuing to hire. Tech companies are disruptive and operate in fast-growing markets. Despite a difficult economic backdrop, many are still growing fast."

UK tech investment continues to grow

The report also showed that investment continued to flow into the sector with UK startups raising £663 million during the lockdown, the bulk of it going to fintech, artificial intelligence, security and blockchain technologies."In April, the government announced plans to inject £500 million into promising start-ups and scale-ups, further improving confidence in the sector and indicating we can expect job vacancies to rise as investor-backed tech companies grow," added Mr Franklin.Otta found that software engineering, product management, design and data analysis continued to be the most important specialisms for tech companies. Last month, more than half of the advertised jobs were for these roles, with software engineers being in particular demand.In London, however, fintech dominated the tech jobs market with 843 roles listed as 'currently live'.

London remains top for tech

Rajesh Agrawal, London's deputy mayor responsible for business, commented, “These findings are a reassuring sign that London’s world-leading tech sector is at the forefront of the capital’s economic recovery – and will be key to the UK’s future prosperity."There’s no doubt that significant challenges lie ahead but I’m clear London will remain one of the world’s best places to work and invest in tech.”

Plexal survey: tough times for some tech startups

However, despite the growth in the tech job market, a second survey has shown the toll that the pandemic has had on UK startups with more than 1,000 filing for administration, liquidation or dissolution since the lockdown began.An analysis of almost 30,000 startups and high potential companies by Plexal, a London innovation centre and workspace established by Delancey, and Beauhurst, a leading database for fast-growth companies, found that filings in September numbered 273, the highest monthly figure in a decade.

Early-stage tech startups suffering the most

Andrew Roughan, managing director of Plexal said, “The government commendably offered a number of startups a lifeline at the peak of the crisis. But despite the slowly improving funding picture, we are now starting to see the pent-up effect of the pandemic on UK businesses – in particular, early-stage startups.“Government support has artificially kept companies afloat and delayed the true impact. We are only now starting to see more severe damage to UK startups that puts the survival of an entire generation of innovative companies at risk."Henry Whorwood, head of research and consultancy at Beauhurst, added, “We have never seen a month with so many startup deaths as we did in September. While the number of filings has naturally grown as the number of high-growth UK businesses increases, our data clearly shows a sustained reduction in these companies filing for administration, liquidation or dissolution as a result of the government’s financial support schemes for small businesses."The sudden spike that follows, however, signals that their impact is waning. The coming months could be crucial for the future of the UK startup community.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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