SMEs are losing out to big tech in the battle to recruit top tech talent, according to the latest report by Robert Half UK.

The new report, entitled ‘Recruiting for the future: The challenges for UK SMEs’, is based on an independent study of Chief Infortmation Officers (CIOs) across the UK.

The white paper found that three quarters (75%) of CIOs believe it is more challenging for SMEs to attract tech talent because they prefer to work for larger technology companies.

Matt Weston, Managing Director of Robert Half UK, said: “Digitalisation has created a fast-changing business environment and a significant number of SMEs are in danger of being left behind.

“Successful SMEs recognise that times are changing and they equip themselves with the necessary digital skills to be able to compete and thrive through collaboration and innovation.

“Unfortunately, many of them are losing out to big tech companies, who have significant pulling power when it comes to hiring high-quality candidates.”

One third (33%) cited talent attraction as their biggest talent management challenge, followed by improving productivity (32%) and talent retention (30%).

The majority of CIOs in the study (88%) agreed it is more challenging to find qualified tech professionals today than it was five years ago.

In response, nearly half of CIOs are planning to train and upskill existing staff, whilst 37% admitted they would turn to the temporary recruitment market and hire contractors to transfer knowledge to permanent employees.

Weston added: “SMEs that have adapted their hiring strategies are more able to keep up with the pace of the digital revolution.

“When hiring managers are struggling to find the desired skillsets on a permanent basis, opening up options in the temporary recruitment market or current staff already in place could be viable solutions.

“Furthermore, offering a combination of employee benefits – from competitive remuneration packages to flexible working options – improves your chances at competing with larger businesses and securing the nation’s top tech talent to help fuel their growth for years to come.”