According to a study from the UK Department for Education, 46 per cent of start-ups across the tech industry saw a lack of staff with the right skills, along with hiring difficulties, as their top two concerns for this year.
Growth of start-ups combined with surging digitisation among non-traditional tech firms has contributed to the ongoing skills gap in the UK tech sector, as well as globally.
To mitigate this, government research shows a common goal towards investing in skill development, while the Department for Education is presenting its Join the Skills Revolution campaign, which includes a skills and recruitment barometer report on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across England.
“Very few other professions actually expect people to leave school ready to go into that profession. We [need to] retrain them and reskill them to do a specific job.”
As for hiring challenges, brought in part by a reported shallow pool of suitable talent that larger tech companies like Amazon and Google are also keeping tabs on, start-ups are hoping to hire from the swathes of staff recently laid off across big tech.
In addition, some company leaders are opting to offer tech talent with a share of the company as another way to attract staff, such as e-commerce leader David Connor, who told the FT: “Most [freelancers] wanted £1,500 per day [and] the only way that a bootstrapping start-up like ours with zero funding was able to get a developer in was by offering equity in the company.”
Another challenge cited by UK tech start-ups was planned reductions to R&D tax credits for companies that spend less than 40 per cent on innovation — announced in the recent Budget — which are said to potentially leave companies with smaller hiring and recruitment budgets.
This has reportedly been exacerbated by high-calibre tech talent asking for six-figure salaries, despite the average salary of a UK computer programmer being found by Glassdoor analysis to be over £41,000, sources told the FT.
Similarly, Fujitsu research recently revealed a skills shortage among staff to be a growing concern for tech sector C-Suites — 45 per cent of UK companies expressed belief that their teams were not equipped to utilise advanced technology, while 38 per cent said it was a key barrier to unlocking innovation.