The financial tech, food tech and health tech verticals in the United Kingdom are fueling a comeback, with startups and scaleups defying pandemic pressures and driving strong hiring growth, according to new research from startup job site Work in Startups.
The U.K. tech scene has seen a 68% increase in jobs at the top 100 startups and high-growth companies since the pandemic hit, with 3,298 advertised vacancies available in February, up from 1,964 in April 2020.
The three vertical industries have seen the largest growth in hiring compared to this time last year, Work in Startups said. Many of these companies have thrived in the past year and are ramping up their hiring efforts.
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For example, 2020 saw significant investments within the fin-tech firms GoCardless (64 live vacancies) and Revolut (107 live vacancies), the job site said.
Health-tech unicorn Babylon (78 live vacancies) has also continued to scale, with no dip in recruitment during the past year. So has the newly turned food-tech unicorn, Gousto (69 live vacancies), which also saw a huge surge in demand for the service during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Work in Startups said.
More surprisingly, two travel giants, Skyscanner (36 live vacancies) and Secret Escapes (22 live vacancies), have resumed hiring after a total freeze in 2020. On the flip side, the job site reported seeing a further decrease or total freeze in hiring at Airbnb, Habito and Zoopla.
Great demand for programmers and developers
Companies have required more access to help deliver digitally than ever before and the data supports this. Programming and developer jobs lead the way, with a staggering 60,000 roles currently vacant, according to Work in Startups.
There is also a 700% increase in demand for Ruby developers, followed by Java specialists (+300%). Marketing jobs have also made a strong comeback after being hit the hardest in April 2020, with over 100% more jobs, the job site said.
Overall, U.K. tech job vacancies are at a record high with 110,000 live roles currently available according to Adzuna data, making up 13% of total job vacancies. Resilience has been strong within the industry, with a 33% increase in vacancies since April 2020.
Amazon, Facebook, Revolut and Monzo are among the top hiring London tech companies, according to the job site.
While the U.K.’s unemployment rate stands at 5% of all workers—the highest recorded in the past five years, the tech industry appears to be creating significant growth in new jobs across all of the U.K., the job site said.
London and the South East continue to lead with the highest proportion of vacancies, however, other regions appear to be emerging with large rises in vacancies since April including the North East (100%), West Midlands (57%) and the North West (55%), Work in Startups said.
“We’ve seen a strong bounce-back of UK tech professionals after what turned out to be quite a short slow-down in hiring within the industry,” said Vicky Vitkay, general manager of Work in Startups, in a statement. “There’s been an overwhelming need for digital strategies during the pandemic, which has excitingly given many new startups the opportunity to launch and many to make their IPO.”
These figures provide hope that the UK’s next large tech companies will be born out of the pandemic crisis, Vitkay added.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of global job search engine Adzuna, agreed, noting that many job openings dried up in many U.K. sectors in the past year. However, “tech continues to be a wellspring of exciting opportunities,” Hunter said in a statement.
“With unemployment growing, particularly among younger workers, the challenge will be to upskill jobseekers to suit rising demand for roles like developers and programmers at the UK’s top tech companies,” Hunter said. “Getting that right could help many struggling jobseekers into well-paid, future-proof careers—and help our growing tech companies thrive.”