What can we say, 2023 has been a strange and challenging year in the technology recruitment market and I think most of us are looking forward to closing 2023 and moving in to 2024.
We started strong – 2022 ended on a positive vibe, hiring levels rising, lots of projects happening and a strong demand for IT staff. We were seeing an increase in counter offers, candidates with multiple interviews on the go and speed was needed to secure the best of the best. According to the ONS, employment was getting back to pre-pandemic levels.
However, this was to change. Cost of living was on the rise, interest rates were going up, companies reduced hiring and the estimated number of vacancies fell quarter by quarter. The big names were letting go of staff – Google, Amazon, Microsoft. We didn’t see the mass redundancies within smaller companies however there was a more cautious approach to hiring. Vacancy numbers dropped month on month, and we saw a decrease in people looking to change jobs, maybe worried about moving jobs in a rocky market. Recruitment freezes were renamed “conscious hiring”.
What skills were in highest demand in 2023?
Of course, there was still hiring happening in niche areas – a Forbes report published in September 2023 showed 93% of UK businesses saying there is an IT skills gap, with a majority saying the problem is due to the fast pace of technological advancements. There were big developments and demand around AI, data and Cloud.
In their report the top in demand IT skills were:
- AI and Machine Learning
- IT Support and Troubleshooting
- Data analysis and data science
- Cloud Computing
Soft skills were also in high demand – problem solving, adaptability, embracing change and collaboration being the top requested soft skills.
From November onwards there seemed to be a pause on recruitment in a lot of areas, companies taking stock of where they are in terms of staffing and making plans for 2024. The wind down for the Christmas break seemed to start early. However, we are starting to hear positive reports of hiring plans for 2024 but budgets will still be tight especially in the contract market.
What does 2024 hold?
Soon 2024 will be on our doorstep and hopefully those green shoots we are seeing now will turn in to a busy hiring market. Reports show that 31% of businesses expect higher levels of recruitment and only 6% expecting a decrease in 2024.
We will be looking at the tech trends expected in 2024 and here at som3 we are used to adapting to a changing market. Our flexible approach is based on client’s needs, but keeping one main point of contact means we get to know your business and how best we can support you moving into a (hopefully) buoyant 2024!