Coding is the fastest growing profession in the UK by numbers of employees, and there are now more than 600,000 developers working in the private sector, according to research by developer recruitment platform CodinGame. Analysis of the most up-to-date ONS business population data reveals that the number of computer programmers working for private companies has increased by 74,000 in the past three years, from 536,000 to 610,000.
A third (196,000) of those developers are employed by large companies. However, just under 300,000 programmers are working in micro and small businesses. The only other two industries in the private sector that have seen employee numbers grow by more than 50,000 over the same time period are construction (54,000) and the restaurant and mobile food service industry (52,000).
Other industries have seen employee numbers grow by more than 10,000 over the past three years include; accountants (22,000), tradespeople, such as electricians and plumbers (21,000), car dealers (17,000), estate agents (16,000) and management consultants (11,000). Over the past decade, as the digital revolution gathered momentum, the number of computer programmers working in the private sector has increased by 51 per cent, from 405,000 to 610,000.
The explosion of new digital businesses and the digitisation of traditional companies, has generated huge demand for highly skilled developers. In comparison, ONS figures show that across all industries in the private sector, the business population has increased by a more modest 20 per cent over the same period, less than half the rate of growth seen within the computer programming profession.
Government figures also reveal that the number of computer programming related businesses and consultancies in the UK has increased by 54 per cent in the past 10 years, from 40,805 to 62,890 – with these businesses generating turnover of more than £120bn.
“Although the number of developers working in the private sector has risen 14 per cent in the past three years, tech recruiters are still facing a digital skills crisis,” notes Aude Barral, co-founder of CodinGame. “The past ten years has seen a digital revolution that is reshaping the global workforce, and skilled developers are in exceptionally high demand. Despite government figures showing the number of developers employed in the UK has topped 600,000, supply of highly skilled tech talent is struggling to keep pace with demand.
“The tech start-up sector is booming and traditional businesses are going through a digital transformation, which has been turbo-charged by the impact of the pandemic and the country switching to remote working,” Barral added. “We surveyed tech recruiters recently and they admitted their No1 challenge for 2021 will be to find qualified developers2 for their tech teams. This year, DevOps are particularly sought after with unprecedented demand for cloud migration experts given as one of the reasons.
“The message to companies who are hoping to fill top tech positions in 2021, is to start their hiring process as soon as possible and to have a clear idea what skill-set they are looking for in a developer,” Barral concluded.