Employers across the United Kingdom advertised some 170,000 job openings for information technology (IT) workers in Q4 2019, an analysis of employment and labour data by CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global technology industry, reveals.
The Q4 figure for open core IT occupations represented a 1% increase over the Q3 2019 total and accounted for about 10% of the 1.7 million total job openings across the UK.
"The quarter-over-quarter increase was modest, but it was counter to the typical trend of a hiring slowdown in the fourth quarter," said Amy Carrado, senior director for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. "This suggests that companies were focused on building up their technology staffs to begin the new year even with the uncertainties surrounding Brexit."
For all of 2019 UK employers advertised an estimated 642,000 core IT job openings.
The UK IT labour force is projected to expand by some 11,500 workers this year, to more than 1.31 million.
In Q4, programmers and software development professionals were the most sought-after workers. With 61,018 postings for open positions they accounted for more than one-third of all tech job postings, according to CompTIA's study of data from Burning Glass Technologies Labour Insights.
Other in-demand occupations included IT business analysts, architects and systems designers (27,126); IT user support technicians (20,806); IT and telecommunications professionals (15,890); IT operations technicians (14,565); and web designers and development professionals (14,082).
The analysis of job postings also reveals the top baseline "soft" skills employers are seeking. Communication skills, problem solving, planning, troubleshooting and writing ability lead the list.
Local demand for tech talent was categorized as much higher than average in the London and Edinburgh work areas, and higher in Bristol, Belfast and Leeds.