At Sonovate, we like to kick off each year by sharing five sectors your recruitment agency should connect with.

For 2019, we identified the following sectors as ones to watch:

  • Fintech
  • Biotech & Pharmaceutical
  • Space
  • Blockchain
  • Creative

So, as we look forward to 2020, here are five sectors you need to know, as well as what candidates to source and where to find them.

1. Tech

For a long time people have been repeating Marc Andreessen’s quote: “Software is eating the world.” It was true when he first said it in 2011, and it’s even truer today.

In 2019, the UK drove digital transformation forward. And, with the ever increasing pressure for organisations to embrace technology, this movement shows no sign of slowing down.

“Tech” is a broad term, so we’ve broken down this key sector into some standout sub-sectors to take note of:

Virtual reality (VR)

Back in 2016, CCS Insight shared that the VR market was worth £46.4 million, and they also predicted that it would grow 390% over four years, which means 2020 will see VR’s value increase to around £354.3 million.

Although commonly associated with gaming, VR is also being used more frequently for training and skills development, with significant advances in surgical practice last year.


Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK, a 2017 review from Hall & Pesenti, estimated that AI would add an additional £630bn to the UK economy by 2035. And, seven months after the release of the review, the government invested £1bn into the industry and opened an office dedicated to AI.

So where are we at with AI progression as we move into 2020?

There’s definitely a growing interest in AI, with Tech Nation sharing that the search terms ‘Artificial Intelligence’, ‘Machine Learning’ and ‘Data Sciences’ have flourished recently.

Further to this, at the close of 2019, the UK was home to one-third of all of Europe’s AI companies, which is almost double that of any other EU country. So, with the continued interest and investment in AI, this sector isn’t going to slow down any time soon.


In 2019, NHS Digital committed to investing £4.8m into digitising the NHS and invited organisations who provide digital innovation for adult social care providers to bid for a portion of the money. This cash injection resulted in an exponential increase in the speed and scale at which healthtech organisation’s are launching.

Deloitte’s Global Health Care Outlook shows how healthtech is growing, not only in the UK, but on a worldwide platform.

In demand tech roles:

  • Software Developers, Applications
  • AI engineers
  • Web Developers
  • Computer Systems Engineers/Architects
  • IT security managers/engineers/specialists
  • Information Technology Project Managers
  • Database Administrators
  • Software Quality Assurance Engineers and Testers
  • Product roles (developers, analysts and engineers
  • UX/UI roles (researchers and designers)
  • Specialists in mobile, iOS, frameworks, etc.

Where to find the perfect candidates:

2. Digital transformation

Digital transformation has been a hot topic for a while now, which is unsurprising as 70% of companies in the UK are working on a digital transformation strategy or already have one in place. However, only 7% of these companies have fully implemented their digital transformations.

But digital transformation doesn’t happen organically, and a lot of companies aren’t equipped internally to deliver it, which is why we predict that digital consultancy is a key sector set to boom in 2020. To support the work and progress of the tech industry, digital consultancies are acting as change agents to identify what and how an organisation needs to change.

In demand digital transformation roles:

  • Chief Digital Officer (CDO)
  • Digital Transformation Project Manager
  • Digital Transformation Consultant
  • People Consultants
  • UX designers
  • Solution Architect
  • Product Managers
  • Workplace Technology Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Digital Architect

Where to find the perfect candidates:

  • LinkedIn
  • Networking events

3. Manufacturing

Many industry experts have been saying that the UK is on the brink of its fourth industrial revolution (also known as Industry 4.0), and for good reason. The UK is currently the world’s 8th largest industrial nation and, if its steady growth continues, it’s predicted that the UK will be in the top 5 by 2020.

According to The Telegraph and Natwest’s joint report, The future of manufacturing, the industry:

  • Employs 2.6m people across the UK
  • Contributes 45% of UK exports, totalling £275bn
  • Is the 4th largest manufacturing industry in the world
  • Has grown by 1.4% each year since 1948

Manufacturing hotspots:

  • North East (£71bn | 115,000 people employed)
  • North West (£24.2bn | 318,000 people employed)
  • South East (£19bn | 279,000 people employed)
  • West Midlands (£17.5bn | 323,000 people employed)

So what’s causing this revolution? Well, the industry has been bolstered by:

  • 3D printing
  • Automation
  • IoT
  • Machine learning

According to research done as part of The Annual Manufacturing Report in 2019, 81% of UK manufacturers “are ready to invest in new digital technologies to boost productivity”, so expect to see a lot of new roles opening up in 2020.

In-demand skills:

  • Lean Manufacturing/Six Sigma
  • Continuous Improvement Process (CIP or CI)
  • Fabrication Technology
  • Welding Technologies
  • Machining
  • Product Design
  • Corrective and Preventive Actions
  • Quality Management Systems
  • Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Computer-Automated Technologies

In demand manufacturing roles:

  • Maintenance Engineers
  • Production Managers
  • Production Workers
  • Quality Control Technicians
  • Warehouse Operatives
  • Industrial Design

Where to find the perfect candidates:

  • Reed
  • Indeed
  • Totaljobs
  • Monster

4. Marketing

As the world continues to move online, we’re spending more money on online advertising, and specialist roles, including MarTech, SEO, Social Media and Optimisation Managers are in demand. In Q3 of 2018, digital marketing spend increased by 51% YOY to £5.3bn.

But the digital marketing industry is delivering beyond paid advertising, with social media and content marketing becoming increasingly popular strategies for organisations across the UK. Visual media is also continuing to increase in popularity, with spend increasing by 40% in 2018 alone.

In demand marketing roles:

  • Optimisation Managers
  • SEO/PPC Executives
  • Campaigns Officers
  • Content Managers
  • Director of Communications
  • Engagement/Stakeholder Managers

Where to find the perfect candidates:

  • LinkedIn
  • Upwork
  • Ifyoucould
  • Behance

5. Renewable Energy

In 2019, renewable energy overtook fossil fuel for the first time since power plants opened their doors in back 1882.

By the end of 2020, the government’s plan is for 15% of all energy consumption to stem from renewable resources, and this has spurred significant investment into UK-based sustainable energy companies.

With this new momentum behind renewable energy, as well as increased public interest and involvement in improving the environment and stopping climate change, there is pressure on energy organisations to deliver better products and solutions.

As a result of this, there are a lot of disruptors cropping up in the UK to challenge the legacy energy providers who, in turn, are starting to realise that they need to change.

And all of this means that there are a lot of specialist roles opening up across the UK.

In demand energy roles:

  • Energy Assessors
  • Environmental Planners
  • Geophysicists
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Mechanical Maintenance Technicians

Where to find the perfect candidates:


So, as 2020 kicks off and strategies are being defined, now is the perfect time to get your foot in the right doors in each of these key sectors, connect with up-and-coming organisations and start building a pool of top candidates to fill these sought after roles.