Talented IT staff are being lured by fat corporate wallets or the excitement of a new start-up, a UKFast event has concluded.
Initially intended to discuss the impact of the government's investment in tech hubs, the roundtable discussion, held at the Kensington Roof Gardens, covered how mid-tier technology firms are losing out in the race for talented technical staff.
Tash Whitmey, chief executive of digital marketing agency EHS 4D, said: "We have found that the retention rate at our base outside of London is much higher, as within London people are increasingly drawn to start-up companies.
“The young, talented, innovative people are leaving because they are interested in exciting start-ups so being in London, or one of these tech hubs, and having all these new opportunities on their doorstep really opens up the possibilities for people.”
Elizabeth Varley, co-founder of TechHub, the community and workspace for technology entrepreneurs, suggested a juicy salary is also tempting the talent.
“Within these areas we have the big companies that can pay the big salaries; they suck all the talent from the entrepreneurial pool. The competition is fierce for the best people within the ‘tech hub’ areas such as Silicon Roundabout.”
Jonathan Bowers, managing director of hosting company UKFast, added: “This does not just apply to tech hubs, it is applicable across the industry. It is well known that there is a shortage of talent in the field and established mid-tier companies can find it difficult to compete with the excitement of start-ups or the massive salaries of the big tech player. They need to make sure that they are investing in making their workplace a great place to be.
“By fighting to keep innovation alive and by giving team members ownership and responsibilities, mid-tier firms can encourage their team to buy into the company’s ambitions and stay there to share in its achievements.”
But Stuart Howarth, co-founder of digital marketing agency KOKO Digital, felt all was not lost for the mid-market players, with job security also being an advantage.
"While start-ups are fun, there are risks to joining such a young company – it might not actually perform as expected and be forced to close its doors.
“I don’t feel that people judge a job based on if they are a start-up or not. Culture is important to people, hence why we have set a great culture in our studio. However, so is stability and getting paid what they deem they are worth. Being based in the Midlands, trying to find good-quality talent is one of our main hindrances but if we were based in London, I have no doubt that applications would be flooding in.”
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