Competition for top IT talent hotter than ever at start-up jobs fair
Mon, 28 May 2012
Competition for top IT talent was as hot as the weather outside as more than 100 start-up companies gathered at the Old Truman Brewery in East London over the weekend for the Silicon Milkroundabout jobs fair.
Around 800 technology jobs were on offer, with Saturday dedicated to product management and design, and Sunday to IT engineering.
Start up firms told Recruiter that the talent shortage was as bad as ever, and in some cases was getting worse. The head of product at e-commerce marketplace notonthehighstreet.com told Recruiter that the company had been looking for six months without success for a specialist developer and three months for a product manager.
In the early afternoon, firms queued up in an orderly line to promote themselves and their opportunities on a makeshift stage in front of potential employees.
Co-founder of Silicon Milkroundabout Pete Smith, told Recruiter that the idea of the jobs fair was to promote start-ups as a career option within IT.
"The best guys are not looking for a job, they are probably happy at Google. If they are thinking of a career change at all, they aren't automatically thinking of a start-up," he said.
Michelle Flynn, recruitment manager at Huddle, a company that provides a platform to help people collaborate better online, told Recruiter that above and beyond the firm’s existing use of Facebook, LinkedIn and its own website to attract candidates, Silicon Milkroundabout had a number of advantages.
"You can only tell so much from a CV or a telephone call. Getting a bunch of people together who are well qualified and keen is a huge advantage," she said.
Chris Banks, chief technology officer at Marketstack, a firm that filters information for global credit professionals, said that competition for talent is fierce, not only from other IT and tech companies, but also from the big banks and consultancy companies.
However, he said that small start-up firms such as his have many attractions. "Start-ups are great because you can do everything, and every day is different. People are looking for a different way of working. The main thing in a job is flexibility, that is the main thing people crave. That is what we can offer over 9-5 in a bank – 10.00 to 6.00 or 11.00 to 7.00, or working at home three days a week.”
David Ponsford, director of product management at global communications company Truphone, said the ultimate recruitment challenge was "finding someone great quickly and on budget”.
He told Recruiter that he has seen a really interesting mix of people at the job fair, including some who haven't left university yet. "They are here a year early, trying to get a place in the market, which is a really smart move."