A Data Driven Look at the Tech Talent Marketplace
If you follow the talk around tech hiring, it is easy to form the view that things are going gangbusters at the moment, and that demand for tech talent has never been higher. The competition has never been more fierce in this theoretical war for talent, with companies battling it out from a scarce talent pool.
There is constant reinvention for the best ways to turn heads, bigger signing on bonuses (following the long held belief that it is really only money that motivates people), and some headline busting salaries being paid out.
I thought this would be the case when I asked Will Crandle, the CEO of Horsefly Analytics to run
some searches for me to compare the volume of unique tech jobs in the UK and US versus
the talent in the market, based on jobs advertised across thousands of job boards globally.
Horsefly took out duplicates, and agency advertised roles, where the same role is often
advertised multiple times, to come up with the number of roles pre-covid and since the
opening up business.
My perception was that the demand now was going to be at least equal or greater than the heady days pre-pandemic, what came back was both surprising and interesting, with UK and US markets telling a different story.
US Tech Job Postings Per State:
US Tech Job Postings Per State, Excluding California:
In the UK, the number of tech roles is still a way behind pre-covid levels (what I'm calling
BC), whereas the US markets for tech talent are well ahead.
See the overall chart for tech roles in the UK:
The same chart, excluding London:
Digging a bit deeper, there are a few reasons why this might be. Part of the story, I believe,
lies in a more bullish approach to hiring in the two markets. In the US there is more
confidence in hiring compared to the UK, where sign-off for growth roles versus replacement
roles have been slower. It might also mirror the way in which the US is opening up state by
state, governed by state legislation, whereas the UK is governed as a whole by central
The data would certainly suggest greater caution in the UK, compared to the
US, with a slower recovery. This is a little bit surprising, given the success of the UK
vaccination programme versus the US, which would suggest that there should be greater
confidence in hiring, or maybe it is a reflection of cultural difference to adopt a more cautious
I see the US tech job numbers as an indicator of what is coming down the road in the final
quarter of 2021. If we follow the total numbers during 2020/2021, the trend lines are about 3
months apart. Given the dependence on tech talent, I see this as a short-term lag that will
return to pre covid levels around November, which means a very busy end to the year.
Matching this is the demand line for hiring tech recruiters. Teams in the UK have yet to
return to pre-covid numbers. Less recruiters are managing more requisitions, and that will
have an impact on the time available to give to candidates and hiring managers.
We can expect hiring for tech recruiters in the UK to match US demand, and smart talent leaders
should be pitching for a budget to hire now ahead of the onslaught. Now would also be a
good time to reinvigorate pipelines and clean up the data in the CRM, to get ahead of the
game. Being proactive now ahead of the rush, mirroring the US tech markets will give a
fighting chance of hiring success.
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