The UK’s tech scene is set to receive a boost of investment according to the industry’s IT professionals, despite concerns over the impact of Covid-19, CWJobs’ annual Confidence Index reveals. Surveying over 1,000 IT workers and 500 IT decision makers (DMs), 49% of IT DMs believe their companies will increase tech budgets as a result of learnings from the outbreak. This comes as the 2020 report from the UK’s tech job board found confidence in the state of the tech industry remains high, despite a slight drop from 89% to 81%. Looking further ahead, IT professionals are predicting a brighter long-term future, with 85% confident in the state of the industry in five years’ time.
This reduction on current confidence is no surprise, given the impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy is dominating concerns (52%) among IT professionals. This may be down to what they’re seeing day-to-day, with 44% revealing their company has already been impacted detrimentally, in some way by the virus.
IT support skills seen as key to keeping businesses going during Covid-19 crisis
As many businesses focus on what they need to do to survive during the current crisis, the importance of IT support skills to keep systems running has jumped to the head of the queue. The report found that 39% believe general IT skills are the most needed to succeed in the tech industry, as companies look to ensure their teams and infrastructure can support remote working. Fortunately, the industry believes it has the right people to help keep systems running and safe, with the skills available in the tech sector the top reason (37%) IT professionals are confident in the state of the industry.
That talent is set to stay too. When asked about the most concerning aspects of the tech industry, losing talent abroad dropped from 26% to 19% in the last 12 months. The UK’s public sector could be in for a small lift as well, with 12% of its IT professionals stating that despite having more confidence in the future of the private sector, they would not consider joining it in the next five years, up from 7% last year.
Cyber security and AI still the long-term goals for the tech industry
While tech professionals feel general IT support skills may be needed in the short term, many are also still aware of the many threats out there now and in the future. Over a third (36%) chose cyber security as a specialism needed right now, with it also emerging as the most desired skill needed in the next year (also 36%), ahead of cloud (30%). Artificial intelligence (AI) is seen as the top specialism needed to succeed in the industry in the next two to five years (37%), ahead of cyber security (33%) and cloud (25%), showing IT professionals see it as a long-term solution to helping their companies grow after the pandemic.
Dominic Harvey, Director at CWJobs said: “It’s not a huge surprise to see that Covid-19 has had an impact on the tech industry, much like the rest of the business world. However, it is good to see overall confidence in the sector remains high and that is justified by the vital role the industry has played in keeping UK businesses running and providing integral support to those operating on the front line. Despite this being a tough time at the moment, the UK’s tech scene is being recognised for the role it’s playing and could be set to be in a good enough place to kick on once the pandemic subsides if IT budgets are increased. Until then, it’s clear IT professionals are focused on providing the support they can and ensuring they have the right skills in place to keep things running now, before expanding in the future as everything gets back on track.”
Julian David, CEO, techUK, adds: “The UK has always had a historically strong technology industry. However, like any other sector it is affected by the economic uncertainty we are currently experiencing. The data published today showing that confidence remains high provides some reassurance but our approach to the next phase in our response to this crisis will be crucial.”