Is the end in sight for the UK skills gap?

As the world enters the new normal, businesses race to evolve using tech and conquer in an already challenging tech landscape.

It’s no secret, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on recruitment in the UK for over 18 months. This has been met with a need for specialised development skills despite a lack of talent coming through universities, coupled with challenges in retaining talent in the UK due to Brexit. As the world continues to reopen, one thing is certain, an already widening skills gap has now gotten bigger with 87% of executives saying they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce. By 2025, Microsoft predicts there will be 2 million more software development roles in the UK, so the stakes to fill these vacancies and retain highly skilled people are greater than ever.

In particular, non-profit organisations struggle to compete against more stable, higher-growth sectors like FinTech that can easily offer more attractive and modern tech. The difficulty to upskill existing staff in an already challenging industry and working to move from outdated services in an ever-changing tech world is partly due to a lack of funding. So how is the non-profit industry tackling the skill shortage and what can be done to bridge the gap?

The ‘what and why’ of the UK skill shortage?

2020 was one of the most challenging years in many of our lifetimes for people and businesses. Within a few months, the COVID pandemic produced a demand shock, creating a whirlpool of job losses and then re-hiring later down the line. Even as the world re-opens, the economy is not what it was pre-pandemic.

IT budgets are rising, with an estimate that tech salaries have risen over 33% over the last 12 months, with an average DevOps engineer salary now around £72.5K. Software developer is the number one sought after role, which accounts for 9% of all advertised tech jobs – with London, Peterborough, and Glasgow all having a 25% increase in advertised tech roles. To tackle the increasing demand for specialist IT skills, The UK government’s Institutes of Technology (IoTs) will be launching in October with a goal to quickly reskill up to 4,000 working adults across the UK as part of efforts to address the current tech skills gap.

Increasing efficiency in non-profit organisations

As a whole, non-profit organisations can often lack the funds for tech due to higher priorities in other areas, for example charities needing to focus on their charitable work. However, technology works hand in hand, bringing benefits to the organisation, volunteers and employees – enabling them to perform at the efficiency they require.

For this sector, the rapid evolution of technology brought on from the pandemic has meant that more traditional organisations and systems are not capable of keeping up with technological advances, with the challenge to fill the much-needed IT roles. Microsoft recently announced they would be backing non-profit organisations globally by offering $20 million in cash grants. But as tech salaries continue to rise and the increasing option to get a remote job with a higher salary elsewhere, the pressure to retain in-house developers long-term will become increasingly difficult.

A nearshore solution

Before the pandemic, the UK talent pool was already shaken as a result of Brexit, which threatened to accelerate an already known shortage of skilled tech talent in the UK and a decrease of skilled workers coming from oversees. In fact, following the referendum, 47% of highly skilled workers from EU countries were more likely to consider leaving the UK in the next 5 years.

Coupled with the pandemic, the scales have been tipped with the opportunity and benefits to outsource for tech roles. Last year, most companies were forced to try their hand at remote working, soon realising collaborations and managing entire tech teams remotely was possible.

One way or another, the skills shortage in the UK continues to widen year on year. Choosing to outsource presents a long-term solution to help stabilise a struggling in-house team and gives an organisation the opportunity to scale their tech services. Due to the increase in tech adaption and the opportunity to work remotely, businesses are increasingly choosing to work with a nearshore partner such as Godel who can help fulfil their requirements and provide a lead of tech skills, whilst bridging an ever-disruptive UK tech skills gap.