Who's hiring? The tech startups and scaleups powering the UK's 2021 comeback

Fintech, Foodtech and Healthtech companies are defying pandemic pressures and driving strong hiring growth among British startups and scaleups, according to new research from leading start-up job site Work in Startups.

The UK tech scene has thundered ahead on the hiring front with a 68% increase in jobs on offer at the top 100 startups and scaleups since the pandemic hit, with 3,298 advertised vacancies available in Feb ’21, up from 1,964 in Apr ‘20.

Fintech, Foodtech and Healthtech industries are fuelling this comeback, having seen the largest growth in hiring compared to April 2020 levels. Many of these companies have thrived in the past year and are ramping up their hiring efforts; 2020 saw significant investments within the Fintech firms GoCardless (64 live vacancies) and Revolut (107 live vacancies). Healthtech unicorn Babylon (78 live vacancies) has also continued to scale, with no dip in recruitment during the past year, alongside the newly turned Foodtech unicorn, Gousto (69 live vacancies), which also saw a huge surge in demand for the service during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. More surprisingly, two travel giants, Skyscanner (36 live vacancies) and Secret Escapes (22 live vacancies), have resumed hiring after a total freeze in 2020. On the flipside, we’ve seen a further decrease or total freeze in hiring at Airbnb, Habito, and Zoopla. 

Programming & Developer openings most in demand

Vacant tech jobs have also been analysed by job title to show where the demand is. Companies have required more access to help deliver digitally than ever before and the data supports this. Programming and Developer jobs lead the way, with a staggering 60,000 roles currently vacant. Ruby developers are also in huge demand with a 700% increase, followed by Java specialists (+300%). Marketing jobs have also made a strong comeback after being hit the hardest in April 2020, with over 100% more jobs. 

Overall, UK tech job vacancies are at a record high with 110,000 live roles currently available according to Adzuna data, making up 13% of total UK job vacancies. Much resilience has been shown within the industry, with a 33% increase in vacancies since April 2020. With concerning UK unemployment rates (5% of all workers) at the highest recorded in the past 5 years, the tech industry appears to be creating a fountain of new jobs across the whole of the UK providing a great source of opportunities now and in the future. 

London and the South East continue to lead with the highest proportion of vacancies however other regions appear to be emerging with large rises in vacancies since April including the North East (100%), West Midlands (57%) and the North West (55%). 

Vicky Vitkay, general manager of Work in Startups, commented: “We’ve seen a strong bounce back of UK tech professionals after what turned out to be quite a short slow-down in hiring within the industry. There’s been an overwhelming need for digital strategies during the pandemic which has excitingly given many new startups the opportunity to launch and many to make their IPO. These figures are giving hope that the UK’s next large tech companies will be born out of the pandemic crisis.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of global job search engine Adzuna, commented: “The last year has seen job openings drying up in many UK sectors, but Tech continues to be a wellspring of exciting opportunities. With unemployment growing, particularly among younger workers, the challenge will be to upskill jobseekers to suit rising demand for roles like developers and programmers at the UK’s top tech companies. Getting that right could help many struggling jobseekers into well-paid, future-proof careers - and help our growing tech companies thrive.”

The full list of individual company’s hiring behaviour can be found here.