Half of UK bosses plan to hire new tech staff in 2022, research reveals

Digital transformation is a key focus for UK businesses in the coming 12 months, research from Studio Graphene has revealed. 

The London-based digital agency commissioned an independent survey of 752 senior decision-makers within UK businesses. It found that, while cost has been a deterrent to innovation over the past year for many firms, the majority are looking to funnel investment into new technology projects in 2022.  

Over two fifths (44%) of those polled admit that the cost of development has impeded their firm from upgrading their technology, including the company website or app, over the past 12 months.  

Past experiences with digital transformation projects have also made an impact on businesses’ willingness to implement new solutions. Just shy of half (49%) say a poor experience with new technology or vendors has discouraged their business from investing in other projects.  

Looking to the future, however, business leaders are renewing innovation efforts. Half of respondents (50%) envisage trialling new technologies to be a top strategic priority for their business in 2022, while similar numbers (51%) say their firm intends to launch new digital projects, tools or initiatives next year.  

Many are upping their recruitment efforts to support these plans, with 46% of all businesses saying they are also looking to hire new IT staff. This figure has remained consistent throughout 2021, with 45% of businesses in a Studio Graphene survey from January confirming they were seeking new tech staff in the year ahead.  

When quizzed about the measure of success for digital transformation projects within their company, only 51% say that financial returns are considered the most important benchmark. When looking at company size, a clear return on investment (ROI) was more important to firms with between 100 and 500 employees (73%), compared to those with between one and 49 employees (44%).  

Ritam  Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “It is a shame that so many UK businesses have been stung by poor experiences with new technologies, or vendors that do not live up to expectations. Clearly, it is acting as a barrier preventing many companies from embracing digital transformation.                                                          

“That said, trial and error is the name of the game when it comes to innovation, and it is inspiring to see so many UK business leaders now refocussing their efforts on digital transformation for 2022. The new digital-first world will not wait for companies that do not ensure their technology is in keeping with customers’ ever-changing expectations.  

“It’s telling that almost half of UK companies are seeking to hire more IT professionals – unfortunately, given the digital skills shortage, this might prove an issue for many. Meanwhile, for those seeking external partners, the challenge is to find vendors that are transparent in their pricing and have a strong track record in the relevant sector or field of technology. I would encourage businesses to do their due diligence and find partners that can take the stress out of digital transformation, without an eye watering price tag.”