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SQL & Data Market Roundup for 2018

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Nicole Doughton A Career in IT

Our two directors from Spectrum IT, Ian Cruickshank (MD) and Steven Wright (Director), recently attended Southampton Data Platform & Cloud User Group to give their traditional end of year review of the industry trends of 2018 and what to expect in 2019.

The conclusion from the presentation was that despite a buoyant and fast-moving tech recruitment sector in general, MS SQL & Data related vacancies has been a tough market. Fewer candidates and demand for high-level tech & data expertise has made it very difficult for companies to attract top-tier candidates. SQL Server tech specifically has been short of the variety of job vacancies and opportunities of web & software technology, certainly in the regions of Hampshire and the South Coast. There has been a much bigger demand for Big Data expertise, Engineers & Architects with Hadoop and similar NoSQL tech.

We have seen a rise in the demand Cloud-based technologies as many companies move their technical offering to the cloud; AWS, Azure & GCP have featured more readily this year.

Some of the popular Data / SQL roles that we have been asked to recruit for this year which we believe will continue into the new year include Data Scientists; Data Engineers, Data Architects. People with expertise in this area have very specific expectations from an employer, mainly in terms of what their data looks like and the investment to get from the ‘As Is’ to the ‘To Be’.  

The traditional SQL Server DBA & Developer opportunities have been fewer in number this year yet are still difficult roles to attract people to. Data & MS SQL professionals seem very settled and less likely to move job roles as regularly as software and full stack developer. As a result, SQL related jobs are taking longer to close out and companies are looking for alternative options like graduates or more junior level candidates who they can train and develop.

Overall Market Overview

There has been significant demand for IT, Software & Tech personnel across the region with many companies hiring multiple positions or whole new teams. Several of our clients have moved to or opened new offices in Southampton & Portsmouth, increasing the demand for more staff. We have experienced a rise in contract placements, up 18%, with contractors being used to fill permanent vacancies on an interim basis. Companies are becoming more flexible when recruiting new staff, hiring aptitude rather than pure technical skills and offering training and development in-house for those recruits to upskill.

There has been a seismic change in the way job seekers are entering the market and how they are engaging with agencies and recruiters. Passive recruitment (advertising, job boards etc) have seen a big reduction in activity across our core technology interests and we are being far more proactive with approaching passive and non-active candidates. Social media & instant messaging platforms have seen a spike in activity as technology lead solutions play a bigger role in recruitment.

As a result of these patterns and changes we have reinvested in more tools & technology and varied our approach to candidate engagement and communication. Recruitment, much like technology, is in constant evolution and we are applying agility and adaptability to our method of working to keep up with the pace of change.

What's in store for 2019

We are excited about 2019 and the huge scope of new projects that have been presented to us by our customers.

We encourage all Data professionals to embrace change and evolution of technology, stay connected to the user groups and technology community and to keep yourselves marketable through continuous learning and development.

There are some awesome people at the Southampton Data Platform group who can offer a lot of insight into the future of MS SQL and Data technology. Come along to the group to stay connected, details here - https://www.meetup.com/Southampton-Data-Platform-and-Cloud-Group/

Spectrum IT Recruitment is much more than a hiring agency. Speak to us for advice and access to the professional development networks to aid your career journey.