The UK created an additional 58,000 tech and IT jobs between July and September 2021, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows – with women taking the majority of new roles.
Data published today by the ONS shows that there was just shy of 1.6m people employed in the UK's information and communications sector between July and September this year. This is an increase of 69,000 compared to the same period in 2020, and 186,000 more than the pre-pandemic July to September 2019 level of 1.4 million.
The data also revealed that technology was the third-fastest sector for growth in jobs in the UK overall, and also third fastest for the creation of jobs for women: 41,000 women were employed by the information and communications sector between July and September, compared to 17,000 men. This means that of all the new tech jobs created, 71% were secured by women.
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Bev White, CEO of recruiter Harvey Nash Group, said that, while it was still early days, the greater flexibility afforded by hybrid working appeared to be benefitting women.
"I'm delighted to see that there seems to be a step up in the number of women working in the sector. We have now seen almost 150,000 jobs created for women in UK tech over the last two years," said White.
"If this trend continues, we could begin to see real movement in the gender imbalance that has long existed in tech."
According to ONS data, there are now 150,000 additional women working in the UK tech sector compared to April to August 2019. That represents an increase of 39%, and suggests women's representation in ICT is beginning to rise.
Lisa Heneghan, chief digital officer at consultant KPMG UK, said the surge in women entering the tech workforce was "excellent news" for businesses.
"There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating how better diversity and inclusion can provide significant commercial benefits and advantages to all businesses. Examples include better financial performance, increased creativity and innovation, lower absenteeism, stronger talent retention and greater employee satisfaction," said Heneghan.
"In addition, diversity is all about bringing people together that challenge each other, to encourage new ways of thinking and bring a more creative outlook to the workplace. Without this melting pot of different perspectives, innovation will likely be stunted."
In total, UK companies added 160,000 new workers to their payrolls during the period. The findings suggest that the end of the UK government's furlough scheme in September didn't have a significant impact on unemployment rates.
Businesses continue to face staff shortages, however, with ONS data showing that job vacancies across all sectors hit a record high of 1.17 million in October – an increase of 222,000 quarter on quarter and an increase of 388,000 from the pre-pandemic January to March 2020 level.
ONS data shows there were 66,000 job vacancies in the UK's information and communications sector between August and October this year, compared to 65,000 between July and September.
Between April and June 2020 – when the UK was in the midst of the first COVID-19 lockdown – there were just 13,000 vacancies in UK tech.
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Heneghan said the continued growth in technology jobs did not come as a surprise, particularly as more companies embark on ambitious digitisation initiatives and scale up – or scale out – digital services.
"It is clear that tech companies are confident about the future of the sector as the UK's appetite for digital continues to boom," she added.
"The prospect of further economic growth as restrictions continue to ease, as well as expectations of greater investment in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and e-commerce, are all contributing factors to job growth."