Insatiable demand for IT specialists keeps recruiters busy
Cambridgeshire’s professionals earn an average of £37,405 – with some senior IT programmers able to command double that sum, according to Cooper Lomaz Recruitment’s well-respected annual salary survey for the eastern counties.
Information Technology remains the county’s boom sector and Cooper Lomaz has five IT specialist recruiters working exclusively to meet Cambridgeshire’s insatiable demand, particularly for candidates with experience in any programming language. Those with multiple language programming skills are “gold dust,” able to pick and choose among job offers.
Another key finding uncovered by the independent recruiters for their Eastern Counties survey reveals that the region’s employers face an increasing battle to attract and keep top talent.
“Employers realise they must work harder than ever to attract and keep the cream of eastern counties workers. Salary alone is no longer the be-all and end-all when it comes to remuneration,” said Cooper Lomaz Operations Director Mark Fletcher.
“Recruitment remains a candidate-driven marketplace. Benefits such as a generous pension scheme, private health and dental care, life insurance, child care vouchers and gym memberships are all factors that help retain and motivate staff.”
Mr Fletcher said there has also been a dramatic drop of 35pc in the number of people willing to move location to find a new job.
As a result, premium candidates are so hard to find in IT that that more and more employers, previously averse to using contractors, had had to change their stance and use contract hire to bridge the gaps. The shortage of Java and C# candidates is causing disruption – and companies face an on-going battle to retain good staff in the light of counter-offers.
Cooper Lomaz used data gathered from thousands of respondents to produce their 12th Recruitment Trends and Salary Survey.
One finding which took investigators by surprise is that the gender pay gap in the eastern counties appears to have widened from £8k to £10k. The average salary for a man is now £41k, while for a woman it is £31k.
“It shows more work needs to be done to achieve pay equality. It also suggests that there needs to be more encouragement and support for women to pursue careers in technical areas like information technology and engineering,” said Mr Fletcher.
The comprehensive study of data from 18,000 individuals across seven specialist sectors revealed that six out of 10 workers had enjoyed salary increases. Over half of respondents said they were satisfied in their work; fewer than a quarter were not.
The survey has some ‘could do better’ advice for employers wanting to recruit and keep the best talent. Seven in 10 employees are convinced their work would improve if they were offered training and development opportunities within their current role.... only three in 10 said they had been given the option.
One major shift in working patterns during 2016 saw a 40% surge in the number of people spending at least part of their week working away from their office desk or work station.
Over half of those questioned said they now worked from multiple locations. They may be working from more than one company office, at client premises, during their daily commute and, increasingly, from home.
“More and more employers recognise working from home as an attractive option in recruiting and retaining quality staff,” said Mr Fletcher.
The opportunity to work from home is primarily due to technological advances such as Cloud service systems, which simplify access to corporate IT resources and files from virtually any location with wifi connection.
“The use of tools like Skype and Google Docs means that office colleagues can actively collaborate on a work project. Several people can edit a document online at the same time,” said Mr Fletcher.
“It is a big factor for a growing number of people who can now live and work in the eastern counties and enjoy the quality of life it offers, without having to commute to London. It brings a dramatic enhancement in work-life balance.”
The café culture is also a growing factor, with one in 10 saying that digital advances now mean they prefer to do some of their work over a cup of coffee.
“More and more people are looking for a break away from the office desk and with cafés and coffee shops offering free wifi, they can take a laptop and paperwork with them and enjoy a change of environment,” said Simon Brown, Cooper Lomaz, Commercial Director. “It’s a trend particularly evident among younger people, especially those who are working in the creative industries.
“It’s also a useful option for someone who is visiting a client’s premises some distance away from the office and wouldn’t otherwise be getting back until late,” added Mr Brown.
Some employers are also finding that productivity increases when they operate a shorter working day. It keeps younger staff tasked-focused and away from the competing distractions of social media platforms and news browsing websites.
The EU Referendum has played its part in the sharp decrease in the number of people willing to move location to find a new job – from 54% to 35.2% in the past 12 months.
“Although employers’ appetites for hiring new staff hasn’t diminished, candidates appear to be more cautious about switching jobs because of uncertainty over how Brexit will impact the sector they work in,” said Mr Fletcher. However 45% do expect their role to change over the coming year.
Image: (L to R) Mark Fletcher, Operations Director, Cooper Lomaz and Simon Brown, Commercial Director, with their Salary Survey 2017
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