Job Moves 2017, Job hunting intentions 2018 and Recruitment Channels
Colour Splash Be-IT Blog

Job Moves 2017, Job Hunting Intentions 2018 and Recruitment Channels

Job Moves 2017, Job Hunting Intentions 2018 and Recruitment Channels

Posted on 18th February 2018

LinkedIn ShareShare

As well as our annual salary survey, for the last three years Be-IT has been asking respondents to tell us about their career path, specifically if they have moved job in the previous year and if they intend to move in the first six months of the coming year and what their reasons are for moving. We’ve also asked them to tell us the different methods they use to find new jobs – job-boards, recruitment consultants, LinkedIn, etc. This is what we found...

Numbers moving IT jobs in 2017

This question asked respondents if they had moved jobs in 2017. The results are shown in the pie chart below alongside the equivalent chart from 2016.  It’s clear that there was substantially more movement in the market in the last 12 months than in the preceding 12 months, up from 38% to 48% (people moving once or more than once). This is certainly what we’ve seen at Be-IT.  The buzz of activity in all our offices in the second part of 2017 (as the market stabilised after the Brexit vote) has continued in the first month of 2018 and I expect there to be further growth in the numbers moving jobs this year, albeit in a tight labour market.

Be-IT moved jobs 2017 graphic


Numbers moving IT jobs in first half of 2018

In response to this question last year, 47% said they intended to move jobs in the first half of 2017 (see next chart). This year’s survey shows (see previous chart above) that in 2017 some 48% actually moved once or more than once and the correlation between these two numbers perhaps suggests that the confidence people had at the tail end of 2016 carried through into 2017.  As last year’s report noted, the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016 caused a slowdown in the recruitment market in the second half of that year, but after that brief hiatus the market picked up and since then, particularly in the latter part of 2017, it’s been going like a fair.

However, although demand in the IT recruitment market shows no sign of abating, the supply of candidates is continuing to tighten.  This was evident in the response to the second question we asked - if respondents would be looking for a job in the first six months of 2018?  As you can see from the next chart below, from this year’s survey and from last year’s, the results were broadly similar year on year, but with important changes in the key metrics.

Be-IT jobseekers intentions graphic

The percentage of those who emphatically do not want to move jobs fell between 2016 and 2017 (from 29% in 2016 to 24% in 2017) but has increased again between 2017 and 2018, with one third now saying that they don’t intend to look for a new job in the first half of 2018. This is again a reflection of what Be-IT is seeing “on the ground” with many talented candidates content to stay put unless a very good offer tempts them to consider a move.  Of course, this means that if you need to recruit then you also need good recruiters to winkle out those elusive passive candidates that everyone wants but few can a) find and b) persuade to make a move!

The percentage who are undecided about moving job in 2018 has decreased slightly, from 29% in 2017 to 24% in 2018. Taken in conjunction with the increase in those who do not intend to move, this obviously means that the percentage who do expect to move in 2018 has declined compared to last year. In other words, despite the booming market with lots of demand, many candidates seem, for a variety of reasons, to be happy to stay put at present. Foremost amongst these reasons is, I believe, job security – the “better the devil you know” mentality that keeps lots of us ensconced in our current jobs. Secondly, and the other side of the coin from job security, is loyalty to our current employer.  Often this is genuinely felt and people are happy and content with their lot. On other occasions, loyalty is to a project or team rather than a specific employer, with those who have been in at the start of a big project keen to see it through to the end.  The third principal cause of IT people staying put is that employers are starting to understand the risk of loss of key individuals - and the cost involved in replacing them – and so are “buying” staff at the moment.  This, of course, kicks through into salary inflation, creating issues for others recruiting in the same sphere.  I also believe – and this is a personal view – that there is a cyclical pattern in the market, with people moving every 2-3 years. Currently, we are in mid-cycle, with fewer moving at the moment, thus tightening the market overall.  Finally, I suspect that employers are working harder to retain talent rather than constantly having to re-hire it and it’s possible that improved retention schemes may also be playing a part (more on this below).

This increase in the numbers not intending to move, coupled with some EU citizens returning home after Brexit, presents a problem for recruitment agencies and their clients, and also for candidates who can expect to get even more calls from recruiters. In these circumstances, it’s incumbent on the recruitment industry to treat all candidates politely and professionally. In this report last year I wrote “More candidates staying put, fewer wanting to move at all, a slight decline in the numbers saying they would move in 2017 - it’s not surprising that recruiters have seen the market for candidates became even more sticky since the latter part of 2016.”  

Things are even stickier now and, also as I noted last year, “It’s at times like these that good recruitment practices, and experienced recruiters, really come to the fore.”   It will be incumbent on the recruitment industry to develop even stronger networks, using its more experienced practitioners to engage with candidates with finesse and tact.


Why people moved jobs - 2017

I’d now like to look at the reasons why people moved job last year – and then why they might move this year. We offered respondents the same range of choices as last year. These were:

A 'sideways' move, at the same level but because I wanted to work for a different company

An upwards/promotion move at the same company

An upwards/promotion move at a different company

I just wanted a change

A downwards move, for whatever reason

The charts below show the results for 2017 compared to 2016.

Be-IT graphic

There are some interesting changes. For example, the biggest divergence between 2016 and 2017 was in those moving “sideways at the same level because they simply want to work for a different company.” In 2016 this was 38% of respondents (it had been 33% in 2015), whereas last year it was only 21%. The percentage moving for a promotion also increased last year, to 31% compared to 23% in 2016, while the numbers being promoted at the same company increased from 10% of our sample in 2016 to 21% in 2017.  This also chimes with our experience, where due to the severe shortages of talent in many areas of IT, companies are counter-offering and retaining staff, especially at more junior levels, where people may perhaps be more easily persuaded to stay by offers of future rewards.

The one area where there was no change is in the number moving just because they want a change.  This has been 25% of respondents in each of the last two years (in 2015 it was 31%). It is once more instructive to look at what I wrote in this section of this report last year, viz:

It’s significant that when I checked what I’d written about this part of our research last year (i.e. about 2015), I concluded, “these figures ought to be a wake-up call to HR teams and line managers to get out amongst their colleagues and create the most favourable working environments they can – otherwise, when we repeat this next year, a lot more people will have found some greener grass outside the confines of their current workplace.”  

Now I am not kidding myself that last year’s report caused employers to stop in their tracks but it’s significant (albeit it’s probably serendipity) that the numbers not wanting to move increased this year.  I suggested some of the reasons for this above, but it’s clear that, for those who are moving, while it’s often hard to argue against someone going for a promotion and/or more money, a quarter are simply looking for something different. Candidates are generally well aware when their skills are in high demand and they can take a view on whether to risk moving more frequently until they find the “perfect” employer for them. Consequently, as I said last year and the year before, retention and managing attrition ought to be amongst the main items on every IT employer’s HR team’s agenda.

Finally, and unsurprisingly given the state of the market, the numbers moving “downwards” decreased, from 4% in 2016 to 2% in 2017.  This is a reflection of the increased demand in the market and that there are enough new roles coming on stream to give candidates a wide range of choice.


Why people will move job in 2018

We asked people what were their reasons for wanting to move job in 2018 and compared them to 2017.

Be-IT reasons for moving jobs 2017-18

The biggest difference between 2017 and 2018 in the reasons given for wanting to move in the future is that the percentage who are seeking an upwards move/promotion at a different company has decreased from 35% in 2017 to 30% in 2018.  However, the percentage who want an upward move at their current company has increased, so that the combined figure for those who want to advance upwards in their careers is virtually identical between the two years – 52% in 2017 and 51% in 2018.

The number “just wanting a change” virtually mirrors what we saw in the previous section, where 25% said that this was the reason they moved jobs in both 2016 and 2017.  The figure of 24% who say that this is what they want in 2018 continues this trend and also lends strength to the argument that employers must continue to work hard at retention.

The percentage who are happy enough to move “sideways,” so long as it’s to another employer, has decreased from c. 25% to 20%, while the number who would accept a downwards career move has only changed from 3% in 2017 to 2% in 2018.


Channels to the IT job market

This final part examines the changes over the last three years in the recruitment channels that candidates use to find new jobs. 

The changes are more interesting this year than last and are more easily displayed and interpreted on a table than in a chart. Remember that respondents could tick as many of the channels as they liked, reflecting the fact that no-one would reasonably be expected to rely on only one source for their next job.




% change


% change







Recruitment agency/headhunter






Direct approach to a company






Social media






Newspaper or other print advert





300.00[g1] %

Other (please specify)






What do we make of these figures?  Well, there is no room for complacency from recruitment consultants as we’re fractionally less popular as a source of jobs as we were a year ago and even less so than three years ago – even though we are still ranked as No 1 (equal) choice.  This is why I have stressed in the pages above that recruiters must continue to strive to provide a pleasant, polite and above all professional service.  At Be-IT this is a sine qua non.

The increase in the percentage who use job-boards and, especially, print media, is a surprise. The latter, I think, is a reflection of an increase in public sector advertising. In common, I think, with a lot of our competitors, we find that job-boards do not deliver the quality of response they used to, albeit they are still an essential part of our marketing mix, while print media has never been used by Be-IT and on the occasions when we look at newspapers and magazines the recruitment pages are invariably conspicuous by their absence. Still, clearly for some of our respondents they still form an important channel. 

Direct approaches to potential employer are consistently used by many candidates and we say “why would you not?”, especially when you consider that many of the respondents to the “other” category specified using their networks/word of mouth and “self-advertisement” to help them find a new job. One person noted that “best of all is staying in contact with former colleagues and keeping abreast of opportunities at places they are working.” Using your network is an excellent way to keep your career moving, although, (and I know I would say this) it’s always a very good idea to include one or more recruitment consultants in that network.  We have lots of contacts and often have insights into what a firm is actually like and whether you would be a “good fit” with their culture, or not as the case might be.

Finally, the rise in those who use social media does not surprise me. We use Twitter and LinkedIn extensively and get good results from them, and in some months social media is the biggest single traffic driver to our website. We are also on Google+ and Facebook.

That’s it for another year! If you have any comments or questions please do get in touch: we’d love to hear from you.

Gareth Biggerstaff, CEO, Be-IT

* The research was carried out by thePotentMix, an independent third party, using Be-IT’s extensive candidate database, our consultants’ substantial number of Linkedin contacts and a complementary social media campaign.

If you are looking for a new job or would simply like to learn more about your prospects in the market this year, please contact us at: or call: +44 (0) 0131 344 4778 (Edinburgh) or +44 (0) 141 370 9911 (Glasgow).


Posted in Opinion, Research

.. Back to Blog

Be-IT Accreditations