Chris Adcock, managing director at Reed Technology, uses data from Reed’s recently published technology salary guide to outline the roles that are most in demand in the infrastructure & support technology sector by analysing which have had the sharpest salary increase over the past year. He also offers some top considerations for organisations looking to recruit in the field.

Technology has become one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors, not only as demand for digital initiatives has heightened following the pandemic, but also due to the fast-paced nature of technological developments. The nature of the market and the demands it is presenting mean professionals now have higher salary expectations, and many businesses are having to match this demand to secure top talent. Currently there are plenty of job opportunities for infrastructure and support professionals, but this also means there is a great deal of competition.

As businesses hunt for the most talented professionals in a candidate-led market, they are increasingly offering flexibility, such as remote or hybrid working, alongside other benefits that could entice talent to join them. This has resulted in many companies in the tech industry turning entire recruitment processes around in a week, just so they didn’t lose out to faster competitors.

The industry itself has seen an average salary increase of 9.7% - outlining the strong demand for professionals in the infrastructure and support practice. On a national scale, the top three roles that have seen the biggest salary increases over the last year are network engineers (27.6% growth), cloud architects (12.3%) and infrastructure engineers (12.2%). On the contrary, helpdesk managers have dropped in demand with a 2.4% salary decrease.

There were also different demands and spikes across various regions in the UK. For example, in London, the sharpest salary increases were seen for cloud engineers (15.8%) and network engineers (14.9% increase) - whereas in the Midlands, the biggest increases were in cloud architect (13.3%) and infrastructure engineer (12.7%) roles.

Looking at where such roles are more competitive is important, especially for remote-based jobs –over the past year, for example, businesses looking for DevOps engineers are offering almost an 18% salary increase in the North of England, but only a 12% increase in the South of England.

For job seekers, this means there are more options available to them, especially if jobs are remotely based. For businesses, such fluctuations in salaries across the UK mean that finding talent is harder and that being competitive in an industry fighting for talent is important.

How businesses looking for infrastructure talent can remain competitive

In recent times more focus has been placed on culture, and since the normalisation of working from home, another important factor for people is work-life balance. Organisations should strive to provide their staff with opportunities for flexibility and a good company culture, on top of a strong salary and benefits offering, if they want to attract, secure, and most importantly, keep the best talent.

This is crucial when you factor in the lack of geographical boundaries when it comes to hiring. With more companies opting for a hybrid working model, businesses are now competing UK-wide as opposed to just locally.

Economic uncertainty is going to be a key driver in how the recruitment market will look this year. While the cost-of-living crisis has impacted much of the UK economy, it hasn’t appeared to slow down the infrastructure and support talent market, but it’s difficult to predict how this will play out as we move further into 2023.

Because of this, looking at our annual salary guide survey, we reveal that a big driver for professionals wanting to change jobs is financial reasons, perhaps unsurprisingly considering the cost-of-living crisis. The top reason for those wanting to move work was due to the pay they are receiving not being sufficient enough (19%). For candidates in in-demand roles where we’ve seen big salary increases, it can make financial sense to look for a new opportunity.

But the push for ‘purpose’ within one’s everyday job remains strong post-pandemic, with 17% stating they are considering a new job as it is time for them to move on. The third most popular reason relays back to salary again, with 15% stating there is better pay for them elsewhere; this is closely followed by 13% claiming the benefits and salary they receive are not good enough – highlighting the importance for businesses to strike the right balance between giving a strong salary and offering desired benefits.

We may start to see a shift in this trend due to the economic climate and the resultant redundancies and recruitment freezes. However, considering the UK tech skills shortage combined with the global demand for UK technology, we aren’t expecting to get back to a client-led market anytime soon. Companies still need to invest in tech, so we may see employers looking for more creative ways to cut costs, while still hiring and nurturing their own talent, such as through apprenticeships and internal mobility.