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Tech beats tradition in skills rush | UK Recruitment News

Tech skills like computing and coding have higher market value than maths and science. So, is it time to rethink what we teach in the classroom?

Most UK businesses would prefer a tech-savvy candidate over an academic, new data reveals. Two thirds (68 per cent) of employers would opt for a candidate who excelled in technology over science or maths. That is according to CWJobs of the TotalJobs Group, who studied the skills priorities of top firms.

While this may not prove shocking news to many recruiters, it suggests that existing priorities in education could be due a re-think. Dominic Harvey, CWJobs’ Director said: “Businesses are calling for tech to be given more of a prominence in the school curriculum.”

Learning and development at work

In fact, it is enterprise that is taking up the slack when it comes to skills acquisition. 71 per cent of employers believe that candidates should train themselves to improve their employability. 53 per cent of organisations do not think tech skills are adequately nurtured in the modern classroom.

Which skills are the most favoured? Cyber security was by far the most important area of expertise. 79 per cent of firms are seeking candidates in the field. Data analytics and business intelligence are tied for second place. More than three quarters (76 per cent) of firms are seeking Big Data number-crunchers.

Understanding the Internet of Things (IoT) was next most valued. 73 per cent of firms see a future where devices “talk” to each other in an interconnected, digital world.

Keeping one foot in the here and now, coding (54%) and cloud expertise (44%) were next on the list.

Tech skills shortages create hoarder mentality for skills

The jobs board learned that eight in ten (80%) of businesses see a tech specialisation as a bonus for any candidate. Almost two thirds of employers would select a tech specialist over another candidate for any role in order to future-proof operations.

What does this mean? That even seemingly non-tech rolls are being affected by the dash for digital know-how. Even positions in other areas like customer care and sales are now more likely to go to an individual with a digital specialisation. Why? Because companies realise they may require those skills in the future. And, by the time they need them, the candidate may no longer be available. Instead, companies are hiring tech specialists into myriad roles – essentially hoarding their digital talents until they are required.
Mr Harvey said:

“Learning a tech skill isn’t just something that’s relevant for one role or one industry, but the entire UK workforce needs to be embracing it if the country is to remain competitive on the world stage.”

“The UK is facing a skills crisis and those with tech specialisms on their CV are being sought after by all companies, now more than ever,”

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