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Tech Job Insights: Bright Purple look back at Q1 2023


We’re back for our insights of Q1, January – March 2023.


Welcome to Bright Purple's latest Tech job market report, where we will take a look at the job markets across the UK during the first three months of 2023, as well as looking ahead to Q2 and beyond.


The more memorable headlines from the start of the year admittedly include announcements around big-tech layoffs and questions around the threats and opportunities of AI, with the question "Will AI take my job" being googled more than 300 million times over the past few months. While we're not looking to dismiss the industry wide uncertainty from the darker winter months, we are keen to emphasise that it's not all doom and gloom - several recent reports indicate positive trends for the tech sector and the UK economy as a whole.


Industry Highlights


Bright Purple Highlights


The Economy is Growing

According to the PwC UK Economic Outlooks report, the Scottish economy has reported a growth of 0.3% in the three months to February 2023 (which is better than many English regions, but still growing at a slower rate than London), with the UK set to avoid recession this year.

In terms of the UK recruitment landscape and labour market, the Total Jobs Hiring Index found that out of all the businesses that were recruiting in Q1, 23% hired for IT/Tech positions. Job search website Adzuna also reported that overall online job adverts grew by 2.3%, up to 1.4 millions postings, in March - the biggest jump in adverts in 13 months. 


Scottish Technology Industry Survey Results - Industry Wide Optimism

Membership body ScotlandIS has released the results of its highly anticipated Scottish Technology Industry Survey 2023. Here are some of our key takeaways from the reported results:

  • The technology sector employs more than 80,000 people in Scotland, with around 15,600 new digital jobs created annually
  • The sector remains optimistic about the future, with 62% of businesses having a positive outlook for 2023 / 67% expecting to increase their sales
  • 83% of companies surveyed expect to increase their headcounts over the next twelve months, with none anticipating cutting jobs
  • Top in-demand skillset: Sales and Marketing
  • Greatest areas of opportunity among businesses participating in the survey are Cyber Security, Data and Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence 
  • Ever-Increasing need for skilled personnel

It's incredibly positive to read that the surveyed companies are feeling optimistic about the year ahead, with a focus on growing their businesses both in terms of sales and headcount, creating crucial jobs. This feeling ties in with the end-of-tax year, where many companies will have been consolidating their figures and setting new budgets for the upcoming financial year.

Source: ScotlandIS Scottish Technology Industry Survey 2023 

Skills-shortage - the Pressing Issue

A prevalent worry that has been highlighted in most of a the industry reports and articles mentioned above is the issue concerning skills-shortage, specifically in the technology sector. We wrote about this in 2021. 

Karen Meechan, chief executive of ScotlandIS, said "The skills shortage has long been a challenge for the Scottish tech sector, but it is now mission critical". Jason Morris, regional market leader at PwC Scotland, specified that "...there is still a real need to focus on training, development and education around the transference of skills in sectors like financial services and green energy - areas in which Scotland holds untold potential and that could hold the key to real and sustained economic growth".

The Digital Critical Friends programme is one way in which ScotlandIS aims to increase the skills of young people - through the programme, a volunteer from the tech industry is matched with a secondary school to facilitate a mentorship between the volunteers and Computing Science teachers.

Every January, LinkedIn release their list of Jobs on the Rise - this year, nine out of the 25 jobs listed were in the technology industry - showing a continued demand, and need, for skilled tech professionals. 


SMEs role in the Economy

As with the participating business in the Scottish Technology Industry survey, a similar positive outlook has also been recorded among UK SMEs. Despite the legitimate concerns caused by the cost-of-living crisis, with increased bills and more, Barclays SME Barometer data showed an increase in the number of SME leaders that felt positive about the future, with many expecting revenue growth and plan to hire more staff, after a challenging latter half of 2022.

At Bright Purple we work with clients ranging from small to large scale companies across a number of sectors, and we know that SMEs play an essential role in the economy. At the start of the year, one of our Principal Consultants shared his thoughts on the resilience of start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs.

 Source: Barclays SME Barometer


In-Demand Tech Positions, Programming Languages and Frameworks

In their State of Tech Hiring 2023 report, which surveys both tech professionals and tech recruiters, CodeinGame highlights that developers and engineers remain some of the most in-demand professionals on the job market. Interestingly, they found that there is a slight drop in the popularity of AI/Machine learning among developers compared to 2022. However for those interested in AI, job seekers can look at the current number of AI roles in the UK on Adzuna

In-demand technical positions (by recruiters) and frameworks (by recruiters and developers):

Source: State of Tech and Hiring 2023, CodeinGame


Bright Purple Highlights

Remote and Hybrid Roles Remain the Standard

Most of our advertised roles are now Hybrid (work from home mixed with occasional office days, depending on the type of role). We find that a lot of our candidates do ask about the working model very early on in our conversation about their job seeking preferences. According to findings by CodeIn Games, "...the majority of tech teams are now a hybrid between remote and on-site work. Only 15% of developers work fully on site.".


Purple Anniversary and Exciting Plans

In January we celebrated our 28th year in business, as such firmly entering the latter stage of our third decade! Q1 brings the end of the financial year, with our finance team being busy consolidating last years figures, and the team planning our end-of-financial year celebrations - a well deserved meal and really just letting our hair down for a night.

We have some really exciting things planned, which we will be able to announce soon. Watch this space!


Q2 Forecast

  • 12% of current placements are contract roles. As it stands that is lower than for Q1, however we're expecting the number of Contract placements to climb as we are working on a number Statements of Work for clients that are scaling and working on key projects.
  • We are seeing a continued demand for Software Engineers
  • 30 new jobs listed in April 


That's a wrap on our 2023 Q1 insights - please get in touch if you have any queries about our findings. 

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