IT jobs: Why developers and engineers are still in demand right now

Companies are still looking to hire some key tech staff to help with the switch to remote working.

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Companies are still trying to fill some key technology roles as they switch to remote working during the coronavirus crisis.

Hiring across London has, understandably, dropped in the face of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, with recruitment in areas such as retail and construction dropping significantly. But companies are also having to rethink their business models and processes in order to cope with the situation, resulting in continued demand for developers to work on new projects. And with large numbers of staff working remotely, someone needs to be able to help them when things go wrong, which means hiring new tech support staff, as well.

As a result, tech jobs, which have held up much better than those in other sectors, now account for the biggest portion of hiring in London, according to analysis from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). Tech jobs make up 35% of all vacancies over the period since the shutdown, APSCo said. Normally this figure would be 15%, at most.

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The top five roles across the capital are technology related, with developers and software engineers heading the list, followed by IT management and infrastructure experts. IT specialists, analysts and tech support staff are also in demand according to the data, most likely to help support the large numbers of staff working from home for the first time.

"The fact that recruitment is still continuing with relative strength in IT is perhaps unsurprising due to the on-going need across most sectors to conduct operations remotely," said Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo.

John Gaughan, managing director of technology recruitment firm Finlay James, said he has a number of clients who are hiring and using remote on-boarding when filling SaaS tech sales roles and technology leadership positions. Recruiters are switching from in-person interview to video meetings with candidates, and in some cases, with everyone working from home, it may be some time before new recruits actually meet the people they are working with.

The APSCo report also noted that recruitment for marketing has also held up surprisingly well, which it said is probably down to businesses ramping up their digital marketing and communications activities. There has also been an increase in roles involving employee engagement. "With many teams now working from home, the challenge of keeping remote employees engaged and operating as a cohesive unit has never been greater," the report said.