Wages surge 8% year-on-year as UK firms battle to attract big data experts

Geoff Smith, managing director at Experis

Salaries for IT professionals in big data have risen by almost 8% in just a year, according to the latest Tech Cities Job Watch report, from a global provider of professional IT  resourcing, Experis.

With big data and the Internet of Things predicted to add £322 billion ($472.97 billion) to the UK economy within four years, the pressure is on for UK businesses to attract the best talent in this area in order to maximise the opportunities it can bring. And, businesses are having to pay the price for these big data experts, with the growth in wages being three times higher than the Bank of England’s forecasted salary increase across Britain (3%).

The report, a tracker of 60,513 UK IT jobs advertised (across the five key technology disciplines: Big Data, Cloud, IT Security, Mobile and Web Development) in Q1 2016, reveals that 5,148 big data jobs were advertised in the last quarter, with 87% of these being in London. The big data industry is thriving, as businesses realise the benefits of using personal data to better understand customers and predict future trends.

Compliance is another major factor contributing to this surge. The new EU Data Protection Regulation is forcing organisations to bring big data and compliance skills in-house, given the stiff penalties if they are found in breach of the regulation.

Geoff Smith, managing director at Experis, commented: “Big data will continue to be a major driver of growth in the UK economy as the digital revolution accelerates. Yet, many companies have been slow to react and there’s a limited talent pool to choose from. Employers are willing to pay highly competitive salaries to attract these experts, so they can help with compliance, uncover valuable customer insights that can transform their business, and innovate for the future.”

The latest figures also show a shift in the proportion of hiring demands outside of the Capital with an annual increase of 23% in the number of roles advertised across all five disciplines (up to 20,060 from 16,287). Tech Cities across the UK are narrowing the gap on London’s dominance with Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham leading the charge.

Smith continued: “The tech hubs outside of the Capital are growing quickly. We’re seeing these challenger cities become more and more attractive, as housing, travel and lifestyle costs continue to soar in London and people grow tired of the rat race lifestyle. As such, the likes of Manchester and Leeds, which can offer a better quality of life, are becoming more popular. ”

Finally, the last quarter also saw a notable uplift in hiring demand for IT security jobs, compared to other job roles (Cloud, Mobile and Web Development). Following recent, high-profile data breaches, businesses are also willing to pay more for highly skilled cyber security experts to ensure their IT security is robust. This is reflected in the sharp rise of contractor day rates over the last 12 months. Compared to 2015, the average day rate increased 19%, the highest across all five sectors (Big Data, Cloud, IT Security, Mobile and Web Development), to £481 ($706.51).

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