Mid-size Businesses Losing Talent War

Article date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:17 GMT

Mid-size Businesses Losing Talent War

Mid-tier technology companies are losing out in the race for talented technical staff as workers flock to exciting start-ups or big firms offering huge salaries.

Tash Whitmey, CEO of digital marketing agency EHS 4D issued the warning at a round table debate discussing the impact of the Government's investment in tech hubs.

At the event, held by hosting specialist UKFast at the Kensington Roof Gardens this month, Whitmey 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 of these new opportunities on their doorstep really opens up the possibilities for people."

Elizabeth Varley, co-founder of the community and workspace for technology entrepreneurs, TechHub, suggested it is not only start-ups that are drawing technical talent away from mid-tier companies. She said: "Within these areas we have got the big companies that can pay the big salaries; they suck all of the talent from the entrepreneurial pool. The competition is fierce for the best people within the 'tech hub' areas like Silicon Roundabout."

Jonathan Bowers, MD of hosting company UKFast, said: "This doesn't 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."

Maggie Holland, editor of IT Pro, offered her advice to the mid-sized companies struggling to attract the right talent: "Companies looking to encourage the current, and future, generations of digital workers can't just have a foosball table and bean bag chairs. It is about the culture of the company and their passion for risk as well as the opportunities that they provide."

Stuart Howarth, co-founder of digital marketing agency KOKO Digital believes that the security that mid-tier companies can offer could prove to be an advantage for job seekers in the long run. He said: "Whilst 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 would have no doubt that applications would be flooding in."

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