Almost a third of companies in the UK and Ireland furloughed IT staff in 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak, according to research by Computer Weekly.
The latest annual Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey asked IT workers about their salaries and employers over the past year, and found that 32% of IT workers said their firms had to furlough IT staff during the pandemic.
Almost 30% of IT workers said their firms had implemented a pay freeze in 2020, and 19% said their firms were making IT staff redundant.
The coronavirus outbreak caused widespread uncertainty, especially for businesses, and as chair of the BCS Consultancy Specialist Group Alan Warr stated in August of 2020, this meant businesses exercised caution when deciding whether or not to hire new staff.
“CIOs will struggle to get hiring approved while other staff are furloughed and business-side jobs and business units are at risk,” he said.
The uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak was reflected in Computer Weekly’s IT salary survey, with tech workers revealing a mix of strategies among their firms – 19% of IT staff said their firms reduced working hours during 2020 by an average of 10 hours a week, while 14% said their firms increased working hours by an average of 10 hours a week.
Just under 20% of IT workers said their companies decreased the use of IT within the business, while 17% said their firms recruited more IT staff, and 7% increased their use of IT contractors.
In many cases, people hoping to look for new roles in 2020 found that their search was affected by the pandemic, and some gave up altogether, according to CWJobs.
A majority of IT workers claimed they were happy where they are for the time being. Some 45% said they intend to stay in their current role at their current company for the immediate future, and 44% said that – while open to new opportunities – they are not currently looking, which is a small drop from an average of 46% in 2019.
There was a year-on-year (YoY) drop in the number of IT staff who claimed to be actively looking for a new role, from 15% in 2019 to 11% in 2020.
Out of the 11% who said they were looking for a new role, 35% were looking for more money, and 17% wanted a more senior position.
When it comes to salaries for IT workers, some of 2020’s averages were slightly lower than those found by Computer Weekly in 2019.
On average, IT workers in the UK in 2020 made around £71,880 a year, a drop from 2019’s average of £79,354 – this varies based on job title, industry and number of years in the sector.
Senior IT leaders made £97,105 a year on average, although those working in companies with more than 1,000 employees made an average of £13,895 more a year, bringing in £111,000 annually.
The same trend was seen for IT managers, who made on average £62,959 – a slight increase on 2019’s average of £61,232 – but averaged an annual income of £79,000 in larger companies.
Not surprisingly, those who have worked in the industry for longer generally made more cash, with those who have been working in IT for 15 years or more making on average £92,565 a year, with 82% of those in IT management or senior IT leadership having been in the sector for this amount of time.
IT architects averaged £93,711 a year, which is significantly more than developers who made on average £50,300 in 2020.
General IT staff made an average of £41,000 a year, a drop from 2019’s results which found that IT staff averaged an annual wage of £43,206.
Almost 40% of IT workers said that their salaries and benefits stayed the same over the past year – there were no pay rises or reductions, no bonuses, perks or reductions in benefits for 38% of those asked.
Some received a salary increase (36%), of which 32% saw an increase of 2% or more, and 13% had an increase of 5% or more.
Just over 5% of tech workers said their salary was decreased in 2020, and 4% said their benefits were reduced.