Future of Work

The UK tech talent shortage derives not only from a scarcity of developers but also from misguided recruiters, according to a new global report published by the world’s largest website for developers Stack Overflow, in which the UK was the second largest group represented after the US.

The report is based on the largest and most comprehensive survey of the programmer workforce that has ever been conducted with more than 56,000 responses from 173 countries.

Closing the knowledge gap between UK developers and recruiters

Stack Overflow’s study shows that there is huge opportunity for tech recruiters in the UK, but currently they show a lack of understanding of the developer community. Significant findings include:

         Although 27 percent of UK developers aren’t interested in new job opportunities, 73 percent are either actively looking or ‘open to new opportunities’.

         A growing number of developers have non-traditional education, with 71 percent  identifying themselves as partially self-taught

         Although UK developers find getting the time off work to be the biggest drain on the job search process (16 percent), of the 12 percent who answered ‘Other’, more than half (51 percent) labeled recruiters as the most annoying part of the job search process, with most pointing to their lack of knowledge about the industry.

“The 2016 Stack Overflow developer study reveals that the majority of UK developers are in fact open to new career opportunities, but at the moment some recruiters simply do not know how to attract and engage with developers, which in this market is a big problem. It’s vital that recruiters are given the right tools to develop their knowledge and understanding of how developers work. At Stack Overflow, we are committed to bridging the gap and driving this change” commented Angela Nyman, Director of International Marketing at Stack Overflow

Understanding the average UK developer

The survey results revealed that the average UK developer is a man in his late twenties, with 6+ years of programming experience, earning an annual salary of £45,387 ($64.125 converted). This makes UK developers some of the highest paid in Europe (London’s developers earn £59,758 on average). In comparison, developers in Poland and Brazil earn an annual income of €24,980 and €20,877 respectively.

The top priorities for the UK developer when job searching are salary, culture and achieving a good work-life balance. There is also a clear desire among UK developers for new programming languages to be introduced in the workplace. The data shows that:

         When evaluating a new job opportunity, 63 percent of UK developers prioritise salary, 53 percent prioritise work-life balance, and 43 percent prioritise company culture.

         UK developers are significantly more likely than other developers globally to prioritise location when evaluating a new job opportunity (40 percent vs. 30 percent globally).

         The top three programming languages that UK developers have worked with most in the past year are JavaScript (59 percent), SQL (46 percent) and C# (38 percent), while the data shows 26 percent would prefer to work with Python if they were given the choice.

Gender diversity shows promise in UK

The survey confirms that the tech industry is still dominated by men, as only five and a half percent of UK respondents were female. However in the UK, there is strong indication that the majority of women have only recently started their coding careers.The data shows:

         Twice the number of UK female respondents (24 percent) currently have less than two years’ IT/programming experience, compared to just 12 percent of male respondents.

         36 percent of female respondents have two-five years’ experience, compared to 28 percent of male respondents.

         By contrast, the majority of UK male respondents (35 percent) have more than 11 years’ IT/programming experience.

These statistics suggest that programming as a career option is becoming more popular for women since many of the women who took the survey are just starting out in their programming careers.

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