Most tech workers plan to leave their roles in the next 12 months

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Only a minority of tech workers are planning to stay in their current positions within the next 12 months, with several factors including COVID-19 and Brexit driving a projected exodus of the workforce.

Less than a third (29%) of tech workers and decision makers will continue in their current position despite a majority (62%) saying they felt more valued than ever during the pandemic, according to research by CWJobs.

One of the main drivers for this exodus is the added pressures being placed on workers, with a widening skills gap to blame for businesses unable to fill key vacancies. Almost half (46%) of businesses say they're struggling to hire the tech skills they need, with 61% reporting that Brexit has slimmed the skills pipeline further.

As a result, 54% of businesses suggest this has placed greater pressures on their existing workforce, with workers and decision makers having to take on additional duties and responsibilities.

Tech workers who say they’re likely to leave their roles within the next 12 months cite a variety of reasons as to why they might do so, with wanting to go for a role at a different company the most common (14%) reason. Otherwise, 11% want to start a business, go part-time or change their location, 10% want to become a contractor and 8% are contemplating leaving the industry altogether.

“The UK has always had a historically strong technology industry, which has only been amplified by the pandemic,” said managing director of tech skills at techUK, Tom Lovell.

“However, with mass movement expected, now is the time for businesses to focus on attracting and retaining top tech talent across the country. CWJobs’ report highlights how tech workers remain crucial in building back the economy – therefore, closing the skills gap has never been more important.”

Ironically, the pandemic has played a role in making many tech workers feel more valued than ever before, with the general outlook for the future of the tech sector seeming positive in certain respects. Confidence in the industry, for example, has held steady, dipping only slightly from 81% to 79% year on year.

More than half of tech (52%) workers also experienced a boost to their job satisfaction given the tech sector’s contribution to the UK economy. Tech departments are now more valued at the board level too, and as a result, two-thirds of tech workers are more likely to recommend a career in tech, while 60% plan to stay in the sector for longer.


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Many, however, feel this degree of progress can’t be maintained at their current employer as the industry emerges from the pandemic, with 38% worried their role will be less valued as business continuity becomes less of a priority. The same level of workers and decision makers feel job satisfaction will decrease with time.

“The pandemic has transformed the tech department’s reputation, which is now seen as a fundamental driver of business success, and is valued by the board more than ever,” said director at CWJobs, Dominic Harvey.

“Whilst tech workers feel this spotlight may be temporary, the truth is anything but. To avoid losing tech talent, companies across the UK are encouraged to champion the importance of their tech teams, and offer salaries and benefits packages that reflect the value they bring. Like healthcare workers, delivery drivers, supermarket staff and more, tech workers deserve to be recognised as the heroes they really are.”

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.