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Skills shortage: Data-centric jobs set to drive tech recruitment this year

Companies still struggling to fill software development, software testing, cyber security and data centric roles

Data-focused skills will be in high demand through 2024 as employers look to ramp up their AI strategies, according to the latest salary guide published by a specialist UK recruitment agency.

The Ashdown Group's salary guide notes that skills shortages will also persist in critical areas such as software development, software testing, and cyber security – driving up salaries accordingly.

According to the guide, the median salary a junior data analyst can command in the UK is likely to touch nearly £40,000 while senior management roles in the sector command pay ranging from £65,000 to £75,000.

The report also notes that the cyber security sector is likely to see a surge in salaries due to an acute skills shortage. The report cites the World Economic Forum prediction that the cost of global cybercrime will treble over the next three years from £6.5 trillion to nearly £20 trillion.

See also: OpenAI, TikTok, X hunt insider threat specialists – on widely diverging salary bands

Consequently, this will lead to an increase in investment when it comes to cyber defense resources, both human and technological.

Speaking to The Stack, John Lynes, managing director at Ashdown Group, said that application dev, cyber security, data-centric, and cloud-based skills will all remain in demand, though at lower levels than the two prior years.

"Generally salaries within the IT sector consistently rise. We have seen individuals with out of favour skills adapt and retrain into new skill areas," Lynes said.

"An example of this would be where pre-Covid, on premises infrastructure engineers looked after Windows- or Linux-based servers on site. These individuals have developed their skills to deliver their infrastructure support skills within cloud-based environments."

As for how CIOs and CTOs can ensure they secure the talent they need, Lynes said salary was not everything.

"A competitive salary and benefits package is obviously important but also the levels of autonomy an individual commands with regards to their workplace, their work hours, how fulfilling the work is and how the work itself is delivered."

"Those employers who are able to offer the most flexible conditions along with competitive pay will have the greatest success with attracting new talent and retaining their teams," he told The Stack.

The tech skill shortage in the UK is not new. In a 2023 report, Forbes Skills Advisor noted that out of 500 businesses surveyed, 93% report a gap in IT skills in the UK.

A further 42% said the gap was being caused by the rapid pace of technological development. Similarly, a 2023 survey from Riverbed noted 44% of UK respondents said that their employees lacked key skills, with 76% of those setting budget aside for training IT staff.

This gap has seen state recognition as well with the UK government announcing an AI skills package worth £118 million in October 2023.

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