Businesses face an exodus of IT professionals as they begin to favour opportunities with tech start-ups

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Chris Bartlett, Chairman of leading UK recruitment business GCS, has suggested that a recent industry report foreshadows the likelihood an exodus of IT professionals from larger companies to emerging technology start-ups.

"Over the next two years, we will see more and more start-ups emerge and take an aggressive approach towards enticing the best talent away from more complacent employers."

Chris Bartlett, Chairman of leading UK recruitment business GCS, has suggested that a recent industry report foreshadows the likelihood an exodus of IT professionals from larger companies to emerging technology start-ups. "This reminds me of the market in the late 90s," says Bartlett, an IoD Director of the Year. "When the IT industry recovered after the dark days of the recession, a great number of workers were looking to join forward-thinking and driven businesses that had sprung up in the aftermath of the downturn - the proverbial phoenixes from the ashes."

A recent study by CWJobs.co.uk revealed that 86% of IT professionals would like to work for a start-up technology company and 58% have aspirations of ownership.

"Obviously talking about it and actually doing it are very different things," says Bartlett "and, over the last few years, we have seen a very small number of people actually leave the security of a job with a larger business. This said, the more established companies in the market would be foolish to think that this will remain the prevailing attitude - the CWJobs report observes that only 15% of IT professionals believe small businesses are attracting the top talent in the industry."

Bartlett believes that ongoing dissatisfaction amongst the UK's workforce will combine with re-emerging confidence in the jobs market and, as soon as small businesses increase their efforts in candidate attraction, talent will be ready to seize upon new opportunities. A report published by GCS last year corroborates Bartlett's statement about worker dissatisfaction; the report indicated that 63% of permanent employees within the IT industry do not feel they have enough scope to progress their career and 48% of IT professionals are less than satisfied with their existing benefits package.

"As the industry recovers from the recent recession - and make no mistake about it, it is recovering," says Bartlett. "The bolder start-ups will feel more confident in investing in their business and that will mean increased efforts to attract the best talent. Along with the 'greater employee voice' and 'more control in the job' that the CWJobs report says candidates seek, other incentives - such as share options - can encourage long-term employees of major employers to sacrifice a fair slice of their salary in order to be in at ground zero with a company that looks likely to grow rapidly."

Bartlett concludes and advises, "I believe that, over the next two years, we will see more and more start-ups emerge and take an aggressive approach towards enticing the best talent away from more complacent employers. If businesses want to retain the best talent, they would be well advised to work hard at retention; make sure their staff feel valued, have career progression potential, relevant and enticing benefits, interesting work and an engaging work environment."

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