Monday 15 March 2021 12:01 am

Tech hiring surges as firms turn to government’s Kickstart Scheme

The resilience of the tech sector has seen hiring return to pre-pandemic levels and now it is turning to the government’s kickstart scheme to recruit under-24s.

The digital tech sector has seen hiring surge to pre-pandemic levels with 122,446 advertised roles in the IT sector alone. 

Firms are making use of the government’s Kickstart Scheme which launched last autumn as part of the Chancellor’s bid to create more jobs for young people.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals youth unemployment reached 14.4 per cent between October and December 2020 with 284,000 fewer 16 to 24 year olds in employment than in January to March 2020. 

“This is the toughest jobs market that we have faced in a generation, with young people particularly hard hit. Overall three fifths of the total fall in employment has been among those aged under 25, despite them only accounting for around a tenth of all of those in work,” Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies said.

A survey by job search engine Adzuna reveals 63 per cent of leading tech firms plan to use the scheme and 68 per cent anticipate hiring between 1 and 10 kickstarters, apprentices or interns this year.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows almost 150,000 Kickstart roles have already been approved. These include roles at established tech firms like TalkTalk and Brainlabs, as well as younger startups like Bulb. 

The Kickstart Scheme is open for 16 to 24 year olds and sees UK companies offer six-month work placements to young people who are claiming Universal Credit. The government pays 100 per cent of wages including national insurance and pension contributions. 

Additionally, one in six openings in the digital tech industry are now suitable for entry-level jobseekers, according to figures from Adzuna.

“Surging sectors – like tech – are bringing fresh opportunity and hope for our young jobseekers,” work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said. “Through the Kickstart Scheme, apprenticeships and traineeships, these companies are helping bring our Plan for Jobs to life, boosting the long-term job prospects of a generation that is capable of so much as we build back better.”