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Technology Recruitment Trends

The number of IT sector job applications has been on a consistent downward trend since August 2023, according to research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), with applications per vacancy falling from 83 to 59 between August and December.

This trend has continued to the present day; the total number of vacancies in the UK IT sector has decreased, with permanent roles down 44 per cent, and contract roles 38 per cent.

So, the combination of a reduction in the number of vacancies together with a reduction in the number of applications per vacancy (APV) suggests that fewer tech workers are looking for new jobs in a sector which is already short on skills.

Ann Swain, global CEO of APSCo, said:

“Demand for IT professionals is still being influenced by skills shortages, which makes the decline in applications we’re seeing a concern.

“With fewer jobs to apply for, we’d expect to see applications remain stable, but they’ve plummeted.

“The shortage of available talent is further evidenced in the APV rates which again, we would expect to see increase when jobs fall.

“Clearly the talent tech crisis is far from over.”


On the supply-side there are three main reasons for this:  

  • An increase in the number of the long-term sick (in the past, the trend has been most marked among workers aged over 50, but the ONS said younger age groups were mainly responsible for the increase in inactivity)
  • The move to remote working post pandemic meant businesses could take on people from new locations and situations, such as stay-at-home parents; but this supply has mostly been recruited in the last three years
  • The tightening of visa rules in December by Home Secretary, James Cleverly, designed to curb legal migration, including an increase in the minimum salary threshold to £38,700 and the closing of Tech Nation in 2023 which provided endorsement for the Global Talent visa

Hiring Tech Talent

What are the technology recruitment trends that will help recruiters and employers hire tech talent in 2024?

The Government announced £490 million in new funding over the three years from December 2022-2025 for UK universities and colleges, in an effort to improve the quality of STEM education. This is welcome and will contribute to the development of a skilled UK labour force for the future.

A big challenge for many companies in this brave new world is how to create and maintain a company culture and engagement in a hybrid/remote first working model.

Companies will need to consider how to avoid discrimination against remote only employees and how to make remote workers feel a sense of belonging in companies with a mixture of remote, hybrid and office-based staff.

For employers and recruiters, the candidate experience will be of increasing importance.  The strongest candidates - those with the most in-demand skills - will have a choice of job options, possibly from a number of different recruiters, so a premium will be placed on a ‘stand out positive experience’ both in the hiring process and in how the employer comes across - and determine whether a candidate stays in the recruitment process for a role.

Negative experiences could be delays in communication, the process taking too long, repeatedly re-arranged interviews, no feedback or an inaccurate job description.

Companies focused on well-being and offering employees flexible working options will be in a much stronger position to attract and retain the best people.

Gen Z Workforce

Gen Z will be graduating and entering the workforce. This post-millennial generation have grown up in a digital world and will expect speed in recruitment and a virtual, fully digital experience. Gen Z applicants will want to be extremely well informed and will ask searching questions about sustainability, the environment, the values and purpose of an employer.

Outdated recruitment methods will be a major turn-off for them. Recruiters will need to focus on mobile-first application processes, candidate engagement at each and every step of the hiring stage, and increasingly, AI recruitment automation and video interviewing.  

For ambitious tech start-ups there will be immense pressure as they seek to build engineering teams, especially those without the funding to match spiralling salaries for key hires.  

At RWA we believe we have some answers

As a starter, we are happy to work with clients to brainstorm an approach that is tailored to your particular strengths on the ground; to compete on your terms.

Get ahead by reaching out to RWA to chart a path through these costly, time consuming, job market realities. Find out more about our cutting edge recruitment solutions or request a call back.