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Surge of IT professionals seeking new jobs due to employer conduct during pandemic


According to specialist recruiters Reed, IT professionals are throwing in the towel and seeking new employment as a result of employer behaviour during the pandemic.

Employer behaviour and work-life balance during the pandemic are driving IT professionals to look for a career move, despite fears of mass unemployment at the end of furlough.

The research, which asked 2,000 people about their skills and job hunting over the last six months, revealed that even before November, 36% of IT candidates were looking to move compared to 27% before lockdown.

Employees stated employer behaviour (38%), work-life balance (38%) and lockdown causing priorities to be re-evaluated as the main reasons for movement in the market.

Hot job market

High numbers of unemployed are adding to the competition, with 31% already looking for three or more months and almost a quarter (23%) have applied for at least 50 jobs since becoming unemployed, with mental health stresses (37%), lack of jobs (36%), low confidence in ability (29%), and being underqualified for roles (22%) the biggest hurdles to overcome when finding a job.

Chris Adcock, director of Reed Technology said, “The health and financial impact of coronavirus has been devastating to many. But in technology the industry has been slightly better suited, and in some cases ideally placed to make the most of this situation. 

“Many businesses will have turned to their IT and technology professionals to help them set up and cope throughout this pandemic. For instance, without IT teams the overnight switch to working from home would have not been possible – these professionals have been vital parts of keeping the economy going.

“But many employees know their value or feel that they have been poorly treated at this time – perhaps in part to clocking long hours as transitional periods continue.

“In this sector it has never been truer to say that there are some highly talented people looking to jump jobs, or who have been made redundant as a result to the current climate. 

“It is important that whether in or out of work people continue to hone their skills. For those in work, progress must be continued but for many out of work at this time reskilling is something to consider to move into new sectors where there are more jobs.”

Upskilling and reskilling vital to getting a job

More than a third (36%) of people in work have completed training in the last six months, a figure that rises to 47% in those aged 18-24. With digital skills (35%), wellbeing training (31%) and management training (25%) among the most likely to be undertaken.

The unemployed are also enhancing their skillsets, but 77% have not undertaken any training since losing their job.

This could put job seekers at a disadvantage in a competitive market with being unsure what training to do (36%) and not being able to afford training (23%) top reasons for not doing training despite much free training being available online.

What employers want

Encouragingly, these skill sets match up with those employers are searching for. In a survey of almost 500 business leaders, Reed found that prior to lockdown businesses were most likely to look for teamwork and leadership skills (61%) and communication skills (52%), ahead of financial skills (40%), grasp of technology (33%), and ability to work alone (32%). 

In a locked down world teamwork and leadership (58%) and communication (49%) are still important, but businesses are significantly more likely to seek the ability to work alone (44%).

Chris continued, “Whatever the sector, wellbeing will be a key part of attracting talent. If tech companies can show mental health support, appreciation of their work, or providing clear lines for career progression despite an inability to give pay rises. These measures can be very attractive to the wealth of talented professionals looking for new jobs.

“It is a difficult period for everyone, but good businesses know that this is the ideal time to strengthen teams to aid their recovery from the recession if they can. Our research tells us that 36% see growing their organisation a priority, and 33% see business transformation as a leading strategy in the current climate. 

“Currently, there’s a need for businesses to recruit for success and for candidates to upskill, or reskill, to give themselves a fighting chance. If both sides of the recruitment coin can achieve these things then it won’t be just companies and individuals that benefit, but the economy as well.”

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