Don't panic! Don't panic! UK IT job ads plummet as Brexit uncertainty grabs UK tech sector by the short and curlies

Biggest recruiters for techies remain AWS, NHS and BSkyB Group

IT job postings in the UK are being battered by Brexit and the lingering uncertainty of leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement on 31 October.

According to CompTIA stats out today, job ads were down 13 per cent year-on-year and a stonking 40 per cent lower than the same period in 2017.

Amy Carrado, senior director at the trade association, said: "This mirrors the downward direction for all job ads in the UK employment market this year compared to the highs of a year ago."

Despite the fall, there were over 50,000 adverts for software developers and programmers.

There were 21,605 job ads for architects and systems designers, 16,764 for IT user support technicians and positions vacant for 13,246 IT and telecommunications professionals.

The IT ops sector was looking for 12,560 people and there were empty posts for 12,427 web designers and developers.

Graham Hunter, CompTIA's vice president for skills certification in Europe and the Middle East, said there was clear demand for "fundamental technology skills in networking, security and technical support". This was present both in supporting existing industries and for innovative and startup businesses.

The largest job advertisers were Amazon, British Sky Broadcasting Group, GCI Group, the National Health Service and Square One Group.

CompTIA didn't mention the B word as the root of the trend but KPMG wasn't nearly so reluctant to lay the finger of blame on Brexit.

KPMG also found the rate of tech jobs listing had slowed in Q2, revealing the “weakest hiring plans” from companies in two years as “new business softens” and corporations “feel a chill from a weaker UK economy”.

The consultancy said Brexit uncertainty had fed into “greater risk aversion, cuts to corporate spending and a corresponding slowdown in new business growth”.

The research showed that the rate of job creation in the tech sector still outpaced the wider UK economy but was in a relatively poorer state.

In addition to the UK’s exit from the EU, KPMG said UK businesses surveyed had also cited weaker expectations for global economic trade and trade tension between the US and China as other concerns.

Forrester had previously estimated a UK slump in tech spending for 2019, but that was based on the assumption that Britain was to leave the EU at the end of March earlier this year. Brexit and the political toing and froing between the US and China have made the imperfect art of forecasting that little bit harder.

But the news today was not all bad. According to CompTIA, the total IT jobs market is estimated to grow by 14,000 this year to 1.3 million posts. Growth of 4 per cent – 48,000 new jobs – is expected for the five-year period from 2018 through 2023. ®

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