Tech Worker Confidence Hasn’t Burst, but Leaders Warn of Future Cutbacks

Driven by the skills shortage within the sector, tech workers continue to feel confident changing jobs, with less than a quarter (24%) planning to stay in their current role for the next 12 months. This is down from 29% in 2021, showing that tech workers are on the move more than before.

According to CWJobs’ fourth annual Confidence Index 2022, workers are confident in their ability to call the shots and negotiate pay rises and promotions, despite wider market uncertainty. In fact, more than half (57%) expect their salary to increase over the next 12 months. The research suggests this is due to the ongoing skills gap, with 37% of tech leaders saying competition for top tech talent is too strong.

A survey of 1,006 tech workers and 500 IT decision makers (DMs) revealed workers remain largely unfazed by tech stock uncertainty and the cost-of-living crisis. Confidence has held steady – dipping slightly from 79% to 77% year on year – with the top drivers of confidence being skills in the industry, job salaries and job security.

Bubbling under the surface, however, are some early signs that workers are seeking more stability. Confidence levels at micro companies (1-9 people) falls behind the average at 70%, and they are also at the greatest risk of losing staff. Just 15% of employees at micro-companies say they want to stay put, compared to 29% of people at companies with 500+ employees.


Reality check looms

Across organisations of all sizes, over half (51%) of UK tech workers believe IT will be one of the most resilient industries over the next 12 months, however senior leaders are slightly less confident about their ability to weather the storm (44%).

Following several high-profile tech companies making staffing cutbacks, the research provides an insight into how the economic situation is likely to take its toll over the next 12 months. The majority (85%) of IT decision-makers agree their organisation will be impacted by the cost of doing business, with expected cutbacks in the year ahead including a shift to remote work to save costs (30%), remote workers being asked to take a pay cut (24%), reduced IT budgets (21%), hiring freezes (21%) and pay freezes (20%).

Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs said: “Tech employers are preparing for future market uncertainty, whilst at the same time seeking to build robust teams in a candidate driven market. It’s a challenging time but this is a key moment for businesses to attract talent – before workers decide to stay put and weather the storm where they are. More importantly, this is a window of opportunity for employers to build the teams they want to have in place to navigate any challenges ahead. This includes finding the right talent with the right specialist skills to build the team they need for the future.”



A window of opportunity

With tech stocks continuing to fluctuate, the next 12 months will be critical for tech employers to attract talent to navigate the market challenges ahead. Four in ten (39%) companies agreed they will put a stronger focus on tech hiring to remain as competitive as possible, compared to 12% who disagreed.

With the tech industry outlook increasingly uncertain CWJobs’ research revealed the top elements that will help businesses attract, hire, and build resilient technology teams:

  • The role of diversity initiatives has been widely recognised in building high-performing, resilient teams, and two in five (38%) IT decision-makers surveyed reported this will be a focus over the next 12 months.
  • With the cost-of-living crisis intensifying, employees feel their company should be more mindful of their financial situation (49% agree compared to 10% disagree), and more mindful of their mental health (47% agree compared to 11% disagree)
  • To up their game, companies are investing more in recruitment initiatives including 41% making better use of recruitment technology, 32% planning on experimenting with new recruitment channels – such as jobs boards – and 29% are turning to low-code technology platforms, AI tools and/or robotics to plug short-term talent gaps.
  • 31% will focus on hiring industry specific specialisms, with the top skills in demand over the next five years expected to be cybersecurity (33%) and artificial intelligence (32%).

Julian David, CEO techUK said: “CWJobs’ Confidence Index shows that even in challenging economic times, UK tech companies have shown a strong willingness to create jobs, invest in people, and expand their workforce, with a focus on developing diverse and skilled teams prepared for the future. Overcoming the growing mismatch in the supply and demand of digital skills will be one of the UK’s biggest challenges of this decade. If successful, the rewards might be huge: faster economic growth through productivity gains and higher-wage jobs that will help address the cost-of-living crisis.”