Tech Recruitment Timebomb Event

Last week Junior Consultant, Rhiannon, attended the Tech Recruitment Timebomb event in Farringdon, which gave a fantastic insight into the recruitment of tech roles in the modern market, and the challenges that are faced by companies and candidates alike.

Chris Maguire, Editor at Business Cloud hosted the event, posing questions to each of the 3 panellists we heard from. The first speaker was Sam Mikkelsen, Client Solutions Director at Oscar Technology who were co-hosting the event with Business Cloud. His view was that with candidates moving jobs more often, a big challenge for companies is staff retention. Recruitment has evolved into importance being placed on the candidates’ journeys, and also placed on the client culture; it is not just about the money with the candidate. In a candidate driven market, there is often a lot of choice and our job as recruiters is to sell the story of the company, to give a clear picture of what the projects will be and what skills will then be gained. Last year between 6000 and 7000 recruitment companies were set up, so it is more important than ever to be doing it right; recruitment consultants need to understand their market, to be able to offer the best service to clients.

Next we heard from Vinous Ali, Head of Policy at Tech UK who discussed that the recruitment issue stems from the tech sector growing, and with other sectors going more digital there is a shortage of people to cover the demand. Even graduates need to re-train once they come out of university because what they are learning does not always apply in the working world as things are moving so fast. But still, only 17% of the tech workforce are female, and even less from ethnic minority backgrounds. How do we tackle this? If you consider that children are currently engrossed in technology, be it phones, iPads or televisions, something is not transferring to keep that interest. One suggestion is to keep up subjects such as Maths or Computer Science. Amina Ahmed, a Freelance Tech Start-up Consultant, also mentioned representative recruitment; if when you are creating something and no one in the room looks like the consumer, you will run into problems when it comes to testing.

Lastly from this panel we heard from Chieu Cao, Cofounder and CMO of Perkbox, who offer benefits to companies to help motivate and retain staff, including financial, emotional and physical rewards. Some of their clients will show they use it on their job adverts; it shows a good working culture and is a way to compete with other businesses.

In the next panel we heard from Craig Brown, Product Marketing Manager at Beamery, who mentioned that companies may now engage with candidates 18 months before a job goes live. This is so that when the role is live, they already have a pipeline of people rather than a frantic search. Craig also viewed recruitment as a continuous process, and saw the value in recruiters keeping in touch and building relationships with candidates unsuitable for one role, who may well be suitable for another. Hannah Morris, Commercial Director at Vibe Tickets commented that they had done all their recruitment internally, often relying on LinkedIn and using the network from employees already at the organisation. At interview stage Hannah noted the importance of making the candidate feel comfortable; if they feel too pressured, it may stifle their ability to properly showcase who they are.

Eddie Lewis, co-founder of Final Stage shared his business model of talent sharing; so those candidates that are unsuccessful in one interview can be put into their platform, giving the client access to other candidates shared previously. This could be seen as showing your cards to your competitors, but the reality is that these candidates will be applying anyway, and this process is more efficient and beneficial to candidates who have been pipped to the post. Elaine Tyler, CEO at Venatrix also highlighted the importance of understanding that individual and what they want.

For the last panel we heard from Rija Javed, CTO at MarketInvoice who suggested that to get a more diverse workforce in tech, candidates need to understand exactly what the industry is, what the job roles are and what they could do in that role. Benedetta Arese Lucini, co-founder and CEO of Oval Money had a great understanding of this, as she was the CEO of Uber Italy. When Uber was launched in Milan there were 5 people working in Europe, when she left 3 years later there were 3000. There is of course risk in tech start-ups, but with that risk can come great reward.

Tim Boughton, CTO and joint founder of Mention Me added that their biggest challenge is recruitment; in order for them to grow they need more people. So they are doing things such as days in the life blogs, to help with the clarity of working for them. Lastly, we heard from Michele Trusolino, co-founder at Debut; a company bridging the gap between candidates using their phones, but applying for job roles online. Michele pointed out that employers before were limited to what they can attract with their brand, but now with certain platforms they can approach the passive market.

The evening was fascinating insight into the current recruitment challenges from a variety of perspectives. With technology evident in more roles, it is important understand it; it is the future so it must be embraced!