Colin McKay shares his experience from the senior end of the job market.

IT Market Update 760

It has been something of a breathless start to 2023. We find ourselves confronted with a busy market – make no mistake about that – but one that is characterised, not by the frenetic pace of last year, but by a slight trepidation from the perspective of both the job seeker and the employer.

In last year’s hectic market, there was a necessity for companies to move quickly, often very quickly, to secure talent. With hindsight, this resulted in some decisions being made that might otherwise not have - had circumstances been less heated. Now, employers are adopting a more considered approach to make sure the best person for the job is hired the first time around.

And the same can be said on the candidate side where individuals accepted offers they might not have, had the market been less unpredictable. Cautious not to repeat a misstep and risk being perceived as a ‘job-hopper’, candidates are taking a beat or two more in weighing up a new option that comes their way – and of course, this is absolutely the right thing to do.

Regrettably, Aberdeen has been struck by a series of bad news stories too which only feeds that hesitancy. My advice though is that fortune favours the bold. In the skills-constrained IT industry employers can’t afford to lose out on good candidates and I encourage both employers and job seekers to stay in recruitment mode but take the extra time that leads to informed decisions and a better outcome for everyone in the long run.

Taylor Hobbs provides his opinion from the graduate perspective.

IT Market Update 760

Finding a job in the IT industry can be a challenge, especially for junior professionals just starting out in their careers!

We see swathes of Cyber Security, Computer Science, and Data Science/Engineering graduates emerging from Aberdeen’s Universities. Unfortunately, the supply of entry-level positions in these areas has not kept pace with the demand. As a result, more and more IT graduates enter general IT Support roles, to get a foot on the ladder even if this isn’t necessarily their desired career path.

I feel some cognitive dissonance about this, as on the one hand, I think IT Support is a great way to gain those all-important soft skills that employers hold in high regard while gaining relevant experience in the IT industry, but on the other hand, as a recruiter, I would much prefer to support my candidates in entering straight into their desired career path, rather than taking a detour first (which I’m sure would be the preferred route for the majority of grads!).

This shortage of opportunities in key technical areas is a concern for the industry as it could lead to a drain of great talent away from Aberdeen and Northeast, pushed towards the central belt, and even fully remote roles with businesses based even further afield.

It’s a conundrum. While jobs can’t magically materialise, failure to nurture the local talent pool by providing opportunities for graduates to build their careers in these specialist subsectors e.g., Cyber Security, Data Science, and Coding contributes to a perpetual talent shortage. Despite these challenges, the IT industry in Aberdeen is full of potential and with investment in talent and infrastructure, the city can develop as a hub for technical innovation and growth.