HR · 10 February 2017

Startups urged to recruit more fairly when securing foreign tech talent

Foreign tech talent
The study highlighted the dependence of UK startups in using foreign tech talent to drive business growth

Britain’s technology employers have been warned to change recruitment strategies and focus on local UK workers, as new research reveals a heavy reliance on foreign tech talent to drive growth.

In a global study of technology hubs, undertaken by tech recruitment specialist Hired, almost a third of job offers from UK tech startups were given to candidates based outside the country.

In order to lure the foreign tech talent considered essential to startup growth, the “relocation salaries” offered to overseas candidates by UK-based companies were also found to be greater than the rates earned by the local workforce.

The average salary offered to a foreign professional by UK tech firms was 28 per cent higher than British employees for the same role.

The findings could act as a notice to the UK’s tech sector to prepare for the loss of access to the European workforce in light of Britain’s exit from the EU. With no guarantees around visas for existing foreign employees, startups may soon have no choice but to invest in British workers.

Lindsey Scott, head of communications at Hired, said in an official blog post that the findings “underscored the importance for the UK to continue to invest in developing a pool of local talent”.

Scott added that the reality in cities such as Sydney and New York was significantly different to the UK, with local employees paid higher salaries than those relocating from abroad.

Commenting on the study, Richard Shea, a director at recruitment firm Futurestep, said that the figures “demonstrate once more the contribution foreign tech talent is making to our economy”.

“This is in stark contrast to other technology hubs such as San Francisco and a clear indicator that the UK technology industry is reliant on foreign workers in order to stay on the forefront of innovation,” he said in a statement.

The salaries of tech workers in London were also found to lag behind other cities. The average salary for a tech professional in the capital was £56,000 – 25 per cent less than counterparts in San Fransisco and 30 per cent behind New York salaries.

Shea added that UK tech startups should not underestimate the importance of higher salaries in remaining competitive.

“With the widening skills gap in STEM industries, it is crucial for employers to ensure they have the best people on board if they don’t want to risk losing out to their competition.  Whereas higher salaries alone may not enough to get the best people on board, they certainly play an integral part in a candidate’s decision to choose one company over another.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is a reporter for Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and previously worked as a content editor in the ecommerce industry.

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