IT Recruitment Industry Predictions for 2020

  • January 6, 2020

In the Intec Select office, we’ve been thinking about the year ahead and what it may mean for the IT recruitment landscape. A new year, a new government, maybe a *little* fresh hope that we will finally be able to put Brexit to bed. Here are our 8 predictions for the IT recruitment market in 2020:

1.  It will continue to be a candidate-led market

The global talent market is candidate-driven, the UK IT market is no exception, and we see no reason to expect this situation to change any time soon. Demand for talent has consistently outweighed supply for over a decade now, and there’s no sign of the tide changing with 91% of UK businesses claiming to have struggled to find new talent with the right skills over the last year. Recruiters and prospective employers must up their recruitment game in 2020 to stay ahead in the war for talent.

2.  Employers will increasingly be interested in soft skills over qualifications

In our experience, the market continues to redefine the skills criteria we are asked to fulfil when delivering potential candidates for job specs. Employers are looking to invest in their own talent, and so want team players, fast-learners, criticial-thinkers and agile workers rather than people with a rigid set of skills and qualifications.

3.  The hiring process will become condensed

The IT recruitment market is becoming even more fast-paced for multiple reasons. First, in response to the candidate-driven market, employers know that timing is everything when it comes to getting offers on the table for the right talent. Recruitment processes are faster, more flexible, often carried out remotely and with more transparency. As impatient, fast-moving, instant-gratification-hungry generation Z continue to filter into the workplace, we expect this trend to continue at superspeed in 2020 and throughout the next decade.

4.  Increased salaries will leave many unable to afford top talent

While most workers in the UK can sadly expect further real-terms salary decreases into 2020, the senior IT market has seen stratospheric salary increases. Salaries for IT Director roles have increased by 60.52% between 2008 and 2018, according to To engage top talent, businesses need to pay – and this can leave many SMEs out of the game entirely.

5.  The surge in demand for big data skills will continue

Thanks to GDPR, a surge in demand for big data skills began in 2017 and has snowballed since. It’s certainly a great time to be a data scientist in the job market, with a 344% increase in demand since 2013. Big data skills that are most in-demand include AWS, Python, Hadoop, Spark, Cloudera, MongoDB, Hive, Tableau and Java.

6.  Brexit will exacerbate skills shortage

There is a glimmer of hope that a deal may be reached this month, and only then will we begin to truly understand the impact of Brexit on our jobs markets. One of the biggest areas we can expect to see a significant impact will be immigration, and how we will manage a reduction in the ingress of workers from the EU. HR managers are braced for change, delays and democracy when it comes to new hires and managing historic ones.

7.  IR35 will impact interim market

April 2020 will see the IR35 reforms come into full effect for the private sector. The reforms are designed to stamp out off-payroll working and level the playing field for all employees, ensuring that contractors can no longer cheat the system. A boom in tax revenue up to a predicted £1.3billion for the public coffers is expected over the next 4 years, but how will this impact businesses and the recruitment industry? The boom in interim working and the gig economy has been fuelled by economic uncertainty, and by nature, that boom is due to go bust as we (hopefully) enter more politically and economically stable times. Many interim workers have already thrown in the towel with the prospect of paying more tax without the perks of permanent employment like holiday and sick pay making temp roles less appealing. Many businesses fear losing current temporary staff if they are unable to renegotiate contracts in time, and even more fear a lack of access to contractors. Some businesses are prepared to increase rates offered to contractors to ensure interest, but others are still confused and unprepared for the changes. HMRC have updated their CEST tool for determining whether a worker should be treated as employed or self-employed for tax purposed and it is available here:

8.  There will be an increase in demand for junior positions

Job demand in the IT sector is still strong, and growing, but the pace is slowing. In 2020 we expect more and more employers to be focusing on growing their own talent and transplanting employees into senior roles, therefore necessitating businesses back-filling junior positions rather than growing teams.

With lots to think about, and big changes ahead, 2020 is a bit of an anomaly for the IT recruitment market. We are optimistic about growth and opportunities, and looking forward to working with candidates and our clients to create more perfect matches. To discuss your next role, or your talent requirements, contact our office to see how we can work together in 2020 and beyond.

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