For many, the South West does not spring to mind as a hub of innovation and technology! Perhaps London, Manchester or Birmingham would come in higher on the list. We are here to challenge that view! Since Lynsey Skinner took over the IT division 18 months ago, she has witnessed the IT job market thrive, with the number of permanent placements soaring each month.
What has ignited the rapid growth of a sector that hardly existed a decade ago? The relocation of the Met Office to Exeter was a pivotal moment for the South West. With a heavy focus on innovation and technology, this provided a platform for other companies to relocate Headquarters/set up a site in the South West.
According to Tech South West, there are now more than 10,900 technology companies across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall – this emerging market is now employing 135,713 people.
At Cathedral Appointments, we work with a wide range of businesses, all requiring different skills. IT Service Providers may need candidates with excellent customer service skills and a confident telephone manner, or candidates willing to travel to provide on-site technical support to clients. Professional Services firms require individuals confident (and patient!) enough to provide technical support to large teams of non-techies. Businesses with eCommerce channels naturally require web developers, but dependent on size they may also need software developers, business analysts, project managers, business intelligence analysts and in-house IT support.
The availability of IT candidates in the South West can vary dramatically depending on skillset. Due to the demographics of the South West population, we are experiencing an excess number of candidates in senior Project Management, Business Analysis or IT Management positions. This is usually made up of high-level candidates who have chosen to move back to the South West after a career in London, or simply those looking for a better quality of life! The challenges for businesses requiring candidates in these positions is that job title never offers the full picture – usually, experience in a specific industry is needed.
On the flip side, we are experiencing a skill shortage of IT support professionals, particularly for first line/helpdesk roles. This may be because those at the beginning of their career are heading to London, where (in previous years) opportunity has been most ripe. Consequently, this has inflated salaries for IT support roles in Devon.
What are the challenges?
Encouraging and attracting top talent will be the largest challenge to the continued growth of technology market in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. How can we achieve this? We are regularly asked for advice from clients who genuinely care about retaining their top talent. There are several factors at play – our biggest piece of advice is that salary alone will not keep staff happy! Increasingly, we are gaining feedback from candidates who want increased responsibility, opportunities for progression, a flexible working environment and the chance to work with cutting edge technology.
Our clients are listening. Whether you are thinking of relocating to the South West or you already have the pleasure of waking up just a few miles from a beach, we would be delighted to assist you in your search.
Simply submit your CV via our website, or email us on: