Finding your future tech talent

Sep 2, 2021 | Attraction & marketing

New data from Amberjack helps employers attract tech talent.

The demand for tech talent has never been higher. Even before the global pandemic turned our world virtual the pace of digital change had been unprecedented.

The ISE Development Survey 2021 has highlighted the challenges that employers face in terms of addressing the tech skills shortage. IT roles were the top answer when student employers were asked what roles they were recruiting and furthermore employers also highlighted these as the most difficult to fill.

There was also some key insight into what skills employers would be looking to identify and assess. At 75% was resilience, 51% for emotional intelligence, 50% remote working, 50% IT/ digital skills and 47% data handling and analysis.

It does not appear that the concerns around recruiting tech talent are going away. Employers are predicting they will need to recruit larger numbers, anticipate that it will become harder to recruit unless they find a way in which they can better identify and harness technical potential.
To gauge the impact that Covid-19 has had perceptions of careers in technology, Amberjack distributed a student survey and received nearly 600 responses. It delivered some incredibly valuable insight that employers can use to think about their approach in terms of attracting and engaging tech talent.

Student survey findings

From the students we surveyed there has been a 3% increase in people actively seeking a digital career post covid and an additional 6% increase in people who are persuadable. However, a huge 90% of people feel a digital career is more important. Therefore there’s been a huge improvement in perception alongside a reasonable but interesting subtle shift in the overall openness or intention to pursue technical careers.

Also, 60% of people we surveyed felt they didn’t have relevant skills or experience and 50% of people were more likely to apply if they felt they would get training and support, with a further 35% who might be trainable. Therefore, the opportunity to have additional training and support obviously makes a difference.

Unsurprisingly, 10% more men than women consider themselves to have programme experience or advanced digital skills and more men than women think they might have those skills. So that means collectively 64% of women think they don’t have advanced experience in programming or advanced digital skills compared to just 48% of men.

When it comes to the STEM breakdown this is interesting because the gap isn’t quite as much as you might expect – 23% of STEM respondents think they do have advanced programming and digital skills, which is interesting as we often see STEM as a proxy for digital capability, and 29% think they might. Interestingly 57% don’t rate their skills in that area which is only 3% lower than non-STEM respondents.

Organisations hiring into digital roles typically focus quite heavily on the STEM population but only 3% fewer non-STEM graduates rated their programming skills than STEM graduates, so there is very little difference in their perceived capabilities in that area.

Pre and post Covid

If we then look at the shift in terms of whether or not people want to apply for a career in tech or digital pre and post covid we see some really interesting nuances.

In males we saw a 4% increase in openness to digital careers post covid, and 2% of that swing came from the maybes and 2% straight from people who said no. With females there was an overall 10% shift away from no, so 10% of people have become more open to digital careers post covid. Also, 7% of those individuals have moved into the maybe camp so are not fully committed but are considering and 3% are considering that career now.

If we look collectively post covid we still see only 18% of the females we surveyed actively considering a digital degree or digital career vs 33% of the males surveyed. However, when we add in the maybes, 54% of the females we surveyed were persuadable.

This is interesting and potentially very exciting for those organisations who are not only hiring significantly into tech but who are also looking to make sure they have diverse cohorts and increase the representation of females in digital careers. Over half of the female graduates we spoke to are open and potentially persuadable towards careers in digital.

Training and support

In terms of training and support the overall results stated strongly that people would be more likely to consider technical roles if there was increased amount of support and training available but when we actually broke this down into the sub-groups there were some very interesting findings.

We had expected to see training and support as having a greater influence on female openness to pursue this as a career vs males, but the opposite is true and again when it comes to STEM/non-STEM.

Students studying STEM are 11% more likely to be persuadable with training and support vs non-STEM so again that’s a little counter intuitive. We would have expected those people who organisations’ perceive to be a stronger fit with the role to be feeling a bit less insecure about their role than those who are less perceived to be a strong fit.

Perhaps what we are actually seeing is that those who are more aligned with the roles better understand what’s required and possibly have a more educated perception on what’s necessary for them to succeed.


Having done this initial piece of research we need to question if training and support isn’t what’s going to make the difference to interest and commitment to tech careers, what will?

Our hypothesis at the moment is that it maybe more about the brand and the perception of these roles rather than the training and support. As we know that people who have tech experience are more interested in that space, training and support might be a secondary requirement once you’ve decided if that is a path of interest.

For more information and a copy of the full research you can contact

If you missed Amberjack talking about their research at this year’s ISE Student Recruitment Conference you can catch up here

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