Addressing the London Talent Gap in Tech

Over the last four years, job-growth in the UK tech sector has outpaced job-growth in the rest of the private sector by a factor of four. UX/UI designers, digital marketing specialists and developers are now part of a long list of jobs which are in high demand. Jobs which barely existed 5 years ago are now critical to a company’s success. Tech City estimates that in the United Kingdom alone one million technology jobs need to be filled by 2020.

So, the future is bright, right? Well, yes. But let’s look at the situation more closely.

With so many jobs needing to be filled, the UK tech sector represents a world of opportunity. The UK has seen an incredible boom in startup activity over the last five years and people are finding the startup life appealing. Flexibility, creative input, and the ability to make a real impact are all traits which people are increasingly valuing in the work place. But what do you do if your existing skill-set doesn’t match the needs of a startup?

There are two main factors to take into account and these are technical skills and a deep understanding of the operational culture of a startup. Make no mistake, both are as important as the other. Startups may be renowned for their informal company cultures - quirky startup office traits are infamous - but the buck does not stop here. Understanding the needs of a startup is very different to understanding the needs of a larger, more established organisation!

The Tech talent gap is here and it is real. The UK government recognises it as a priority and any growing company knows the problems that the talent gap poses. In fact, 45% of London startups listed hiring as their biggest problem. The first few years of a startup’s life are crucial and they simply can’t take the risk of bringing people on board who are lacking certain technical skills, can’t move quickly and pivot at a moment’s notice or take real initiative. This has led to a mis-match between current job vacancies and the talent looking to fill them.

It was from listening to founders talk about the difficulties the talent gap causes that Startup Institute was created in Boston, and is now launching in London. We train people how to make an impact on the very first day of working at a startup by putting the technical skills that we teach into context. This means learning what it really takes to work in the startup world and working in cross-functional teams to solve real problems affecting real startups.

The result? Great people find jobs they love with cutting-edge companies from the local ecosystem.

In the words of Joana Shields, former CEO of Tech City:

“Startup Institute’s arrival in London is well timed. Tech and digital businesses are the new growth engine of the London economy generating 27 percent of the capital’s job growth. A healthy pipeline of talented, skilled individuals is essential to sustaining this.”

The talent gap isn’t just a problem for businesses – talented people are missing out on fantastic opportunities! Startups are in a position to be more flexible employers and their smaller teams and flatter structures means that every team member can make an impact and experience the joy of seeing a product take shape.

So how do you make the move into the startup world? The best way to learn is by doing. So get out there and show Tech City what you’ve got! Applications are now open in London.

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