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Written by:
Christine Christodoulou

Show me the money!

A skills gap in the job market is an employer’s nightmare. But, if you’re a person possessing the very skills that are highly sought-after, you’re quids in. You’d even be forgiven for going all Jerry Maguire and shouting “Show me the money!”.

I realise that I might have to update my cultural references in the future for some of our younger readers, but the point stands. If you’re a candidate who works in the tech sector right now and you’re putting yourself out there, there’s a good chance somebody will be prepared to offer you a bigger salary to jump ship.

We’re not just talking a couple of grand, either. According to Harry Butcher, our Customer Success Manager, developers “can get a £5,000 to £15,000 pay increase due to the market being so busy right now”.

“I’ve got candidates with 1-2 years’ experience asking for £60k, and that’s outside of London,” he reports.

Never a better time to get a job

It’s fair to say that tech candidates know their worth right now, and good on them. I read recently that starting salaries surged at their fastest rate for 24 years in July, because of Brexit (reducing the talent pool) and the loosening of pandemic restrictions (increasing opportunities).

Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which compiled the report alongside KPMG said that it’s a “good time to be looking for a job”. I’d say that’s the understatement of the year!

The Tech Nation Report 2021 said the UK’s digital tech sector grew almost six times faster than the rest of the economy in 2020 as businesses levelled-up their digital capabilities over the course of the pandemic.

And data from the ONS earlier in the year revealed that more than 100,000 new technology jobs have been created in the UK since March 2020. That tallies with what we’re seeing here.

See past the starting salary

So employers are willing to pay a pretty penny to get the right skills through the door.

“In terms of the highest paid industries, Fintech is commanding the highest starting salaries right now as well as roles in Blockchain and AI,” Harry tells me.

According to the Save the Student website, computer science grads can expect a starting salary of around £25,000 – but I’d probably challenge that figure, to be honest, based on my purely anecdotal evidence!

As a grad looking to pay back that ridiculous student loan, it’s easy to get hung up on the pound signs. But while you, of course, don’t want to undervalue yourself, it’s important to remember that there’s more to that all-important first or second role than salary alone.

I feel like a hypocrite now, as 21-year-old Christine would have scoffed at such a statement, but, trust me, this is years of experience talking!

Play the long game

Harry agrees with me: “For graduates looking to find their first few roles, I would advise them to focus more on a company offering learning and development opportunities rather than a high pay check straight off the bat.

“If you take a longer-term view and concentrate on building your skills and getting that real-world experience under your belt, you’ll be able to command a much higher salary in your next position.”

If you haven’t read the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021 yet, it gives a good idea of where to point your career if you want to maximise your earnings. It reveals that engineering managers, SREs, DevOps specialists and data engineers tend to receive the biggest salaries. But you’ll need to spend the best part of a decade learning the skills required for these types of roles.

So if you’re sold on making a quick buck, data scientists or machine learning specialists are the 8th highest paid on the list, with only a few years of experience.

At the end of the day, it’s your career, your call.

Whether you want the money, the experience or both, we’ll always try to find the best fit for you.

(But if you are curious about what you could be earning, give us a call and find out!)


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