Earlier this year KPMG released a report that confirmed that hiring in Britain’s tech sector is nearly at its highest for over three years, thereby catching up and outpacing the private sector. As the tech bubble continues to bubble, hiring in and around the Silicon Roundabout is not as straightforward as you might think.
‘Tech City’ is the name given to the growing array of tech companies in East/Central London. It’s the heart of all things creative and digital and also home to a few corporate companies too. Also known as the Silicon Roundabout due to it being centred round Old Street, Tech City is the place to be if you’re involved in technology. Now, here at Prism, we’ve noticed a few trends in the hiring/job market within the esteemed Tech City.
Tech City is its own little network essentially, so get out there! There are a number of networking events happening regularly so there are plenty opportunities for you to meet new people to expand your company network. It’s a great way to find the best people that wouldn’t be found from the traditional sources such as advertising and job boards.
Meetup.com is a great way for you to find networking events in your technical space. Some of the best meet-ups we’ve found have been via meetup.com. These talks or conferences usually involve a few talks on a specific technology followed by a networking session where you can socialise with others who are interested in that technology.
Although they may not be particularly looking for a new role, they may well know someone else who is. Even if they don’t, you’ve just expanded your network. Not to mention they are really good fun typically with free beer and pizza provided. They are also usually hosted at fun offices such as Just-Eat, Red Badger, Moonfruit or simply in a Shoreditch boozer.
3. Shared workspace
Sounds a bit dodgy at first but it’s all about being open to trying a new/different working environment. If you’re a small business you can really take advantage of using a shared office as it saves you having to deal with the commercial side of renting a building to work in, instead you can use the pay as you go option which is flexible to your business growth.
The agglomeration economy helps with the sharing of ideas, meeting people who can help advise and grow your business along with sharing resources and ideas in a reciprocal environment.
Google Campus, Central Working, Hoxton Mix and the Tech Hub (headed up by Elizabeth Varley) are great examples of shared workspaces that enable tech-savvy people and small start-ups to work in one environment.
More on hiring in Tech City:
- Recruitment and funding flagged as issues for London’s start-ups
- Startup Institute: Tooling up staff for early-stage tech firms
- Start-ups finding it hard to located the right hires
4. Dress down culture
Don’t be afraid to ditch the suits and chuck on some jeans. Most companies in Tech City have adopted this approach and it’s proven successful. Employees want to feel relaxed and comfortable at work, allowing them to do so improves the working environment and may well increase productivity. It may not look as ‘professional’ but that’s Tech City for you.
5. Be flexible with interviews
You only want to interview your candidate next week Thursday at 10:30am at your office. Sounds perfect for you right? But be aware that good candidates are in high demand. So aside from them probably already being in a great job, they’re also more obliged to interview with your competitor over a coffee tomorrow before work than wait to be squeezed into your schedule next week.
Be flexible and accommodating as a great way to get to know someone is in a mutual environment. Shoreditch Grind is a cosy coffee shop in Old Street and is a great place to ‘break the ice’ and discuss all things tech. Meeting candidates over a beer is also a very accepted way of conducting interviews.
6. EU nationals
Let’s be real, some of the best talent is further afield than the UK. As Mic Wright wrote in his TCN Column, Silicon Valley is already demanding immigration reform with the Zuckerberg-backed FWD.US – and here in the UK tweaks to the visa regime haven’t done enough to help tech companies bring new talent into the UK.
The sooner you utilise that talent, the better. The most progressive companies are doing immediate Skype interviews with highly skilled developers in Poland, Italy, Romania etc. There is some amazing talent on the continent that is being neglected by the majority of traditional business in comparison to the more forward thinking Tech City firms. One of our clients, moo.com, took advantage of this and ended up hiring one of its senior PHP developers straight from Wroclaw, Poland.