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Elements Predicted TA Trends for Tech Roles in 2024

Hiring Trends 18th December 2023
Elements Predicted TA Trends for Tech Roles in 2024

In the ever-evolving world of talent acquisition (TA), staying ahead of the curve is crucial to building a strong and sustainable workforce that will fuel business success. 2023 was far from smooth sailing for tech professionals across industries. However, even amid an economic slowdown and mass layoffs, organisations struggled to secure essential tech talent.    

As we eagerly anticipate the trends that will shape the tech talent landscape in 2024, one thing is certain: data is the crucial tool forward-thinking organisations need in their arsenal to elevate their hiring strategy. Based on a combination of Elements’ proprietary data and external research, we’ve made four predictions for TA trends within the tech function in the UK for the year ahead.

Trend 1: Desperately seeking security

In a fluctuating market, top tech talent will demand security and transparency.

The tech job shortage of 2022-2023 resulted in an employer-led market. Elements data reveals that posted UK tech roles fell by 46% between January and October 2023. Over the same period, the proportion of tech candidates marked as ‘available for work’ on LinkedIn increased from 18% to 21%, and the number of tech roles seeing high application rates rose from 58% to 82%.*

However, the tide is beginning to turn. The past three months have seen an upward trend in tech talent demand, with the number of tech function job postings steadily rising and tech sector job postings no longer falling.  

Graph: Job posting Data 2023 – Tech as a Sector and Tech as a Function, Index Change Since Start of January

While the playing field is starting to level, tech professionals are aware of how quickly this can change. This has led many candidates to seek roles outside of the tech industry, exploring opportunities in industries including retail, finance and gaming.

Given a volatile few years following the pandemic, we predict that 2024 will see tech talent prioritising security and transparency above all else. Job security is now a top priority for applicants and salary transparency will go a long way in recruiting top talent. 

When interviewing for tech roles, organisations should be prepared to answer questions about recent layoffs and employee progression, and we will see more candidates negotiating shorter probationary periods in order to provide the security they are desperately seeking. Candid communication will be more important than ever to secure top talent.

*High application rates defined as more than 10 applications within 2 weeks is the criteria here. This is derived from LinkedIn job posting data.

Trend 2: The call for formalised flexibility

Experienced tech talent will expect to be able to work remotely, at least some of the time.

Many organisations saw huge benefits from remote working during the pandemic, but while some companies are committed to a fully remote business model for the foreseeable future, others predict a full return to the office by 2025, and many leaders are famously demanding it. 

Google Trends data reveals that searches in the UK for remote jobs have continued to climb since 2020. And, based on a large sample of stated preferences from candidates for roles managed by Elements, we can see that this demand grows with experience. Eighty-eight percent of experienced tech candidates are currently only considering hybrid working. And while just 3% of tech candidates with 2-6 years’ experience express exclusive interest in remote roles, this rises to 11% of candidates with more than 15 years’ experience.

Despite this demand, Indeed data revealed that the share of roles advertised as remote or hybrid dipped for the first time since the end of lockdowns – falling from 16.3% in April 2023 to 14.6% in July 2023.

We predict that the rift between candidate expectations and company mandates on remote and flexible working arrangements will continue to expand in 2024. Many employers are now calling employees back to the office, including those who were hired as remote workers during the pandemic. However, as we’ve seen from the experiences of bellwether companies such as Amazon and Meta, these mandates can backfire. 

Companies able to offer remote and hybrid roles will find themselves more able to attract seasoned tech talent. While we may see such flexibility being reserved as a privilege for more senior team members, the crucial factor lies in establishing clear and consistent expectations for the long term. Candidates resent shifting goalposts, emphasising the need for organisations to craft well-defined and transparent policies surrounding flexible work arrangements.

Trend 3: Powering the AI revolution

The demand for AI specialists will increase, with a focus on technical skills and strategic thinking. 

Research estimates that AI and machine learning could contribute to a 37% increase in labour productivity by 2025. In order for these benefits to be realised, companies need people with the skills and expertise to develop, implement and deploy these tools. While 2023 was the year that saw AI become mainstream with the rise of ChatGPT, 2024 will be the year we will see new regulations coming to light as this trend accelerates and AI security becomes paramount to business survival.

LinkedIn research reveals the positive trend in AI talent, which has been accelerating since 2016. The Future of Work report shows that the pace at which LinkedIn members added AI skills to their profiles nearly doubled since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022.

Elements’ data shows that the proportion of UK-based software engineering roles requiring AI skills stood at 10% in November 2023. * We expect this to rise significantly in 2024 potentially reaching around 17% by the end of the year. 

Globally, the number of companies with a “Head of AI” position has grown by 13% since December 2022. Despite AI advancements, human oversight remains crucial. Consequently, we expect to see an increasing focus on candidates’ strategic and creative thinking and complex problem-solving abilities in the interview process for AI-focused roles.

*Based on whether “machine learning”, “artificial intelligence”, GPT, “AI” OR “ML” are mentioned in the job description.

Trend 4: Investing in the future of women in tech

Rising attrition rates call for a renewed focus on the retention and empowerment of women in tech roles.

Global workforce trends show a slight drop in the proportion of jobs held by women between 2022 and 2023, specifically within consumer services, accommodation and food, agriculture, and wholesale. Meanwhile, we’re seeing an increase in gender representation in tech roles in the UK – particularly in junior roles. 

LinkedIn Talent Insights reveal that women currently make up 22% of people who took up tech roles in the past five years, compared with only 15% of people with more than 15 years’ experience. The biggest increase has been seen in the DevOps field, where only 7% of people with more than 15 years’ experience are female, compared with 22% of those in junior roles. We’ve also seen a big jump in women in AI and machine learning roles, from 11% of people with over 15 years’ experience to 23% of those in junior roles.

Despite this positive trajectory, high attrition levels cast a shadow. ONS data reveals that around 17,000 female tech workers in the UK left the industry between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, despite overall headcount increasing by 85,000. In addition to long-standing challenges for women in tech roles, this trend may be attributed to the heightened caregiving responsibilities placed on women during the pandemic, coupled with the recent push for increased office presence.

If we want to see more women committing to these roles in tech and ultimately progressing to leadership roles within the industry, the coming year will need to see a focus on retaining female tech professionals and empowering their progression. This will involve reviewing flexible working policies for parents, organising networking events and mentoring schemes and introducing inclusive initiatives such as menopause support. The companies that create a culture of diversity and inclusion stand to reap the rewards of a more innovative and dynamic workforce.

Introducing: The Elements TA Tracker

We’ve seen how much can change in a year. Data is the compass that enables organisations to navigate the complexities of a fast-moving talent market. These quantitative insights will enable strong decision-making and inform the actionable talent strategies that will drive competitive advantage.

In 2024, we will be launching the Elements TA Tracker. This exciting new report will provide frequent data updates, delving into changes in the TA landscape, measuring progress on our predicted trends and, ultimately, helping companies shape their roadmap to success.

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