Top 10 IT job hiring trends for 2016 - the skills gap, rising salaries and how to make the most of the 2016 job market

A look back at another good year for the IT industry and what 2016 may bring for IT professionals

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Here’s what you need to know about 2016 from a hiring perspective, the skills you need to have on your CV and how to make the most of a buoyant sector.

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1. There’s still a skills shortage

“Britain simply does not have enough of the right people to plug the skills gap,” as Guy Levin, executive director of the digital economy lobbying group Coadec puts it.

In a year of high profile security breaches the cyber security skills gap was one of the best documented in 2015, with Chancellor George Osbourne directly mentioning it in this Autumn statement. Programmes like the Cyber Security Challenge and Osbourne’s proposed Institute of Coding should help close the gap long-term, but this is not a problem that will go away overnight.

In fact, according to the Tech Cities Job Watch report by Experis, IT security roles accounted for just 11 percent of all jobs advertised during Q3 of 2015. Salaries are high though, lagging only behind big data and cloud roles with a UK average of £53,000.

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2. Full-time hiring will continue to rise

Full-time employment in the IT sector continues to rise since the recession, and according to recruiters Hays UK, 76 percent of firms plan to increase their headcount further in 2016.

According to research by contractor accountancy firm Nixon Williams: “The total size of the IT workforce is also increasing at its fastest rate since the end of the recession,” with the IT sector outstripping the rest of the economy threefold when it comes to job creation.

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3. But permanent roles are falling

According to the Tech Cities Job Watch report there has been a 6 percent increase in the number of contracted roles advertised in Q3, with day rates also rising 4 percent. Conversely: “The overall number of permanent roles advertised across all tech cities fell by 4 percent to 29,676 - continuing a negative quarter on quarter hiring trend,” according to the report.

Research by Nixon Williams also shows increased demand for IT contractors: ‘“Particularly among start-ups, which are often hesitant to commit to hiring full-time employees,” the report says.

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4. IT professionals are on the move

According to Hays UK’s salary and recruiting trends report for 2016, 63 percent of IT professionals are looking to move job in 2016. Money and career progression are the most cited reasons, as well as the increasing number of interesting IT contracting jobs in the market.

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5. Salaries are on the rise

IT salaries grew by 2.8 percent overall last year and, according to Robert Half’s 2016 Salary Guide, will rise by 4 percent on average in 2016. The report goes on to earmark security, project management and networking jobs for the biggest increases.

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6. HTML5 continues to rise

According to research done by freelance marketplace Upwork, the phasing out of Adobe Flash means demand for HTML5 skills continue to be on the rise, now ranking as the fourth most sought after IT and development skill, after PHP, JavaScript and WordPress development.

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7. Big data

Big data related roles continue to be rare but lucrative. According to the Tech Cities Job Watch only 9 percent of all IT jobs advertised in the UK during Q3 of 2015 were related to big data, but the salaries are the highest across disciplines, averaging £62,000 in the UK, with cloud in second place nearly £10,000 less, at £53,000.

The report goes on to identify popular skills in demand, including: “Apache Hadoop, Spark (for data processing) and tools such as Splice Machine, Tableau and SAP HANA (big data analytics and business intelligence tools).”

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8. Mobile first

According to Ofcom, mobile browsing finally overtook desktop in the UK in 2015, meaning Android (6), iOS (7) and Twitter Bootstrap (10) all ranked in Upwork’s top 10 in-demand IT and development skills.

Mateo Bueno, Category Director of Web, Mobile and Software Development at Upwork said: “It's clear that companies and dev teams are all taking a mobile-first approach. Whenever a site, tool or app is built it needs to function across devices so programming languages that are device-agnostic or responsive are in high demand.”

According to Robert Half’s Salary Guide, mobile developers will see the biggest gains in 2016, rising by 7.4 percent.

The Tech Cities Job Watch report has mobile as the fastest growing discipline in terms of job advertisements, up 6 percent in Q3. The report goes on to identify demand for programming languages Objective-C, Java, C#/C++ and ‘Swift’ for iOS, as well as cross-platform development programs such as Xamarin.

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9. London still lags behind other tech hubs

Despite the growth of the tech sector in London, salaries are still behind major worldwide tech hubs like San Francisco and New York, according to tech recruitment site Hired.com.

Software engineers are earning an average wage of £81-86,000 in New York and San Francisco respectively, when adjusted for the cost of living, compared to £54,000 in London.

This trend extends to hires made from the US to London-based tech firms, where firms are offering as much as £85,500 to candidates coming from New York and £91,600 from San Francisco. According to the numbers, London firms are also recruiting heavily from Spain, Sweden and France, but there is less salary-focused data available for these hires.

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10. But London still dominates the regions

According to the Q3 Tech Cities Job Watch report, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol continue to present IT professionals with the most opportunities outside of London. However, there are still over double the amount of roles advertised in London (36,000 in Q3 alone) to the rest of the country (17,000). The gap is closing though, with the number of roles being advertised in the regions continuing to grow quarter on quarter.

There are certainly some great opportunities in the regions when it comes to certain skills. For example, a big data role in Edinburgh pays on average £69,733. That’s nearly £5,000 more than the London average. Similarly, cloud skills are in demand in Newcastle upon Tyne, with average salaries just over £1,000 less than that paid in London at £55,821.

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