Demand for IT staff with mobile skills up by 39%, but salaries hold firm
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

Demand for permanent IT staff with mobile skills has increased by 39 per cent in the past year (from Q3 2016 to Q3 2017), according to the latest Tech Cities Job Watch report from Experis.

Combined with a 26 per cent rise in the number of contractor roles in the same discipline, Experis says that mobile technology skills “are now the industry’s most wanted”, with mobile roles for IT professionals making up the highest proportion (28 per cent) of all those advertised in the UK in Q3 2017 and supplanting web development roles, which had previously held the top spot.

The number of web development roles advertised on both a permanent and contract basis, fell by eight per cent and 22 per cent respectively year-on-year.

However, permanent salaries for IT professionals in roles that use mobile skills only grew by one per cent over the same period, with day rates growing by two per cent – failing to keep pace with inflation. There were only modest salary rises in permanent big data (one per cent) and cloud (one per cent) roles. Despite the demand drop for web development, permanent salaries had a modest rise of two per cent, while IT Security saw remuneration drop by three per cent, despite a 39 per cent rise in demand for permanent positions.

Martin Ewings, director of specialist markets, Experis UK & Ireland, explains this apparent disconnect, commenting: “Despite the growth in app development across the tech industry, the results show an apparent disconnect between increasing demand for these roles and the salaries they command. We’ve seen an explosion in the Internet of Things (IoT) in recent years, with multiple industries experimenting with new mobile and web applications. Both disciplines play an integral role in innovation within organisations, as developers continue to build and experiment with this connectivity. But the results from this research tell us that companies are taking a new approach to tackling the technology skills crisis they are facing in this area.”

Today, almost 60 per cent of custom apps are now built outside the IT team – almost one in three of those are by employees with limited or no technical development skills. New, easy-to-use software platforms have made this possible and have enabled organisations to reduce their dependence on hiring external web developers or paying high premiums for additional mobile IT specialists; instead training their own.

Ewings continues, “While hiring additional permanent and contractor mobile skills to tackle IoT remains a priority, businesses are also looking to upskill from within the business and outside the IT team through citizen developers. On this basis, businesses should aim to foster a culture of learnability, upskilling and transferable skills within their organisation. The pace of change is such that specialisms in technology can quickly become obsolete.”

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