The UK’s tech sector continued a run of out-performing the rest of Europe last year and 2020 is likely to follow suit. In this article we will explore the development of tech in the UK and how to engage the right talent to help build fast-growth tech businesses.
UK tech generated $13.2bn (£10.1bn) in venture capital investment in 2019 and in the UK start-ups are accounting for more than a third of sales, according to a report from Dealroom. These figures indicate confidence in the UK’s tech sector and the perspective that it is a digital tech powerhouse in a growth phase.
Talented candidates with strong technology experience will be offered roles that will nurture careers at a rapid pace, and when looking for a role will often be able to choose between several companies vying for their attention. Hiring Managers or internal HR departments are often ill-equipped to interrogate marketplace and entice top talent or have the time to handle the hiring problems throughout the process. In this competitive market a clearly defined hiring strategy is a must for any growing business.
Start-up companies can also lack funds to compete with big tech leaders like Google, Apple or Facebook whose dominance allows them to offer salaries and benefits that are hard to match. As fast-growth start-ups need to find talented people, how can they stand out?
1) Create the best culture you can
Build a culture that makes employees feel comfortable from the start and it will help them see a chance to grow and prosper. Tech talent can be aggressively ambitious and candidates will know their worth. Employees are always looking for opportunities to develop so start-ups and growing tech firms need to find ways to beat the competition.
The good news is it is not always about the salary or benefits that can be costly to a business. Start-ups with successful hiring strategies have been known to attract and engage candidates with inexpensive benefits such as buying and selling holiday, yoga or language lessons, access to benefits platforms like Perkbox and constant training and development.
Continual development of innovative technology and agile ways of working are essential to be a dynamic, evolving tech brand. Show you invest in your company and its growth and the message will be passed on to employees creating an engaged workforce.
2) Build your brand as an employer
Employees want to be associated with a positive brand. What we know of a brand is mostly generated from digital and word of mouth. Websites such as Glassdoor have opened the floodgate for employee reviews, these opinions will affect future hiring so make sure experiences are positive.
Tech talent wants to be nurtured, to be proud of the company that supports their charities, offers matched fundraising, helps work-life balance or has a green and eco-friendly office. As a start-up, you need to make sure that you know what you stand for on issues that matter to your potential employees. If you build your brand with employees in mind you will be more likely to attract the right technology superstars.
3) Stand out from the crowd with benefits
Start-up tech companies rarely have the budget to compete with Googles’ free haircuts and massages or Twitter’s onsite acupuncture and catered food so its time to get creative!
Chieu Cao, CMO and Co-Founder of Perkbox, commented recently: ‘It’s been great to see workplace culture finally given the attention it deserves over the past year. However, acting is as important as speaking. We must act upon our promises this year and look after our employees like we have promised. Only then will we be entitled to ask them to look after our business as if it were theirs in return.” Perkbox offer employee engagement software to give insight on employee satisfaction and when armed with the facts, tech firms can be more responsive to delivering what is needed.
Employee benefits are crucial to a positive workforce, employee wellbeing and engagement yet needn’t cost the earth. A survey from Glassdoor on employee confidence found that 80% of employees would choose engaging benefits including:
Create a brand that offer employees a work-life balance and core values that turn a team into a working family. Try to understand that your employees spend a third of their life at work, get them engaged and make them happy! Get active on social media where teams can share posts on workplace environment to give them a voice and attract more people with noise about the right benefits. Let employees know what you stand for, if your goals align, they will race to join you.
4) Remote work
Does allowing staff to work remotely mean a motivated employee with a work life balance or is that same employee missing out on collaboration with a team and less aware of what is happening in the office. A survey by Investors in People found that almost a third (31 per cent) of workers would prefer a more flexible balance with their work, such as remote working, compared to a 3% pay increase.
Reports suggest that remote working is an increasing occurrence, offering increased work-life balance and productivity. The lack of commute, recognised surroundings and autonomy can help reduce levels of work-related stress and improve overall wellbeing.
Whether remote working offers more pros or cons is complicated. On the one hand, our ability to connect has never been easier and a work meeting with a colleague on the other side of the world can be as communicative as if they were in the next room. But with technology with us 24/7 it can be difficult for workers to switch off, an issue also affecting office workers.
While considering remote working can be of value to a tech company wanting to motivate staff, it is not right for everyone. Positive wellbeing and productive workplaces can be created in a variety of ways.
5) Build relationships in higher education
Developing relationships with the right Universities can allow access to the next round of superstar Graduates. Can you offer training to qualified Graduates or do you need experienced hires?
If tech companies are able to offer internships or short-term contracts it is a way to test the value of potential staff before making long-term decisions. If graduates can be accessed from building a brand by links with university careers fairs it can be possible to train and develop upcoming graduates before further commitment.
6) Promoting candidates internally
The average cost to employers of replacing a single member of staff can be more than £30,000, according to recent analysis from Oxford Economics. The greatest expense, more than £25,000, comes from loss of productivity caused by the time it takes for a new recruit to learn the ropes, 28 weeks on average.
As there is no algorithm to decide which employee gets promoted and which doesn’t (Google already tried that) it then is a choice based on personality, work ethic and development strategy.
When considering options for attracting talent, look inside your organisation at who already works there. If there is potential, with the right training and development you could mould your employees into roles that are hard to fill within the competitive tech sector. Promoting from within is great for morale all round!
7) The successful hiring process
The tech sector is competitive. While start-ups have limited budgets, clear hiring strategies will define recruitment spend and using a reputable agency is a cost that should be factored in. Internal recruiters can lack depth of necessary industry knowledge and market exposure to understand what they should be looking for in the first place. Internal recruitment may advertise in the right places but may not have the ability to tap into the market of ‘passive’ candidates that would consider the right opportunity through an appropriate initial introduction. Most tech companies don’t have time to spare and will use a reputable agency to wade through the mountains of CVs, handle initial introductions, references and conduct the initial interview process to create that all-important shortlist of the right candidates. Time is money after all.
Spotlight Recruitment have been hiring Marketers across the tech sector for more than ten years, developing industry knowledge and insight that allows us to fill complex UK based and international roles. Our team is made up of Ex-Marketers and as members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we adhere to a strict code of conduct in all areas of recruitment.
While a growing tech firm does not need to have sky high budgets to attract top talent from the tech sector, you do need to build an appealing culture and create an engaged workforce as well as partnering with the right recruiter to become a front-runner. If you take this multi-pronged approach to attracting talent, your tech workforce will help take your business to the next level.
NICOLA MONGON is the MD of Spotlight Recruitment, the leading marketing recruitment agency in the UK since 2008. Read our 5* Google reviews from candidates and clients to find our more. We are members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation who ensure member compliance for high professional standards. If you would like to discuss recruitment, you can reach Spotlight on 020 3008 4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org