It is commonly known that the tech industry is experiencing a shortage of candidates.  Throughout the pandemic, many recruitment professionals were bracing themselves for a strong recovery once lockdown regulations had lifted and the market opened back up again.

This idea has been short-lived.  As we do come out the other side, the reality remains that there is still a shortfall of skilled, experienced tech professionals.  There is not the abundance we expected.

Why the shortage?

Where are all the high earners, eager to get into new roles?

Job security is more important than ever.

For the last 18 months we have seen businesses forced to shut their doors. Some have reopened, some pivoted and sadly, some have been forced to close for good.  The tech industry was very lucky compared to most. With the infrastructure, equipment, and the environment to successfully work from home, the majority of tech, digital and data professionals have been able to carry on as before. However, witnessing job loss on a macro scale makes you very grateful for what you have. Tech professionals who may have been ready to move on pre-pandemic, are now staying put.

Of course, we as recruiters are skilled at approaching passive candidates. We can talk through an opportunity. We can inform about the potential employer. But at this uncertain time, many candidates are wanting to stick, rather than twist.

The best candidates have other options.

The pandemic gave people across all industries the space and time to reconsider their careers.  Some of us have used the time to up-skill or re-train.  Others have taken stock of their work-life balance or may have decided to reduce working hours, opting for a flexible working model permitting more time with family or friends.

There is a cohort of highly talented individuals who have decided to strike out on their own; The Financial Times reveals that there has been a huge surge in UK business incorporations over the Covid 19 pandemic.

Skilled, highly placeable candidates are choosing to create their own businesses in place of working for someone else.

The demand is surging for experienced candidates.

The talent shortage is a very real problem, but it’s only half the issue.  At the same time, tech businesses are opening their hiring processes once again.  All these organisations have the same goal in mind; to attract and hire skilled tech professionals. They are growth focussed once again, ramping up their recruitment efforts to fuel their post-pandemic comeback.


The end of the Brexit transition period has altered the way UK tech firms operate in the EU, and how EU firms do business in the UK.

One of the main implications of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that came into force in January 2021, was the restriction of the free movement of people.  The new UK points-based immigration system is pretty tech-friendly, with most skilled tech workers satisfying the immigration requirements. Despite this though, it entails swathes of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.

Skilled workers from the EEA now need to apply for a visa in advance and need to secure sponsorship from an employer.

According to Priti Patel, the new visa system was designed to attract the “brightest and the best from around the world”. In reality, the barriers in place and the new visa regime have made it harder to attract the next generation of digital and tech talent.

From the perspective of an EU candidate, it is a far more attractive prospect to relocate within a member state than to jump through hoops to work and live in London.

To sum up.

The candidate shortage is a very real problem; one that many in the recruitment space thought may ease following the easing of Covid restrictions. However, the covid pandemic seems to have helped underline the issue.

A combination of candidates fearing job loss, re-evaluating their career plans and the recruitment boom have compounded the talent shortage.  Throw Brexit into the mix, and there are challenges to be faced for recruiters and tech firms alike.

Perhaps hiring managers and recruiters can use this as an opportunity, however. More and more, we are working on job descriptions that require a skills-based approach; one that will consider a wider cohort of candidates that may have previously been overlooked.

Companies also have an opportunity to provide promising, young, and less experienced candidates with a stronger program of learning and development to help them succeed.  With the right coaching, today’s rookies are tomorrow’s superstars.

Are you a job seeker looking for your next role in the tech, digital, or data space? We are eager to talk to you about how your skills could land you in your next career-defining role.  Get in touch today.

About the author: As Client Relationship Director, I am responsible for helping grow the new and existing client base of Ignite Digital. I work as a “trusted connection” with my clients and candidates aiming to deliver the best service I can to connect talent to opportunity.

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