Will engagement or salaries win you staff?

By Jay Gohil. Back from another month with the European Silicon twins, the London born roundabout and the Berlin based Allee. There’s no doubt that tech is king and the start-ups in the areas have more chance than ever of becoming the “next big thing”. I’m always impressed with at the diversity of the companies, the culture and volume of activities available for geeks, meeting with one of my friends for a beer, there’s always something to do in these cities for people with a keen interest in technology!

With both of these Start-up hubs in vibrant capital cities and with so much to do, it’s no wonder that the “war on talent” in even harder for new companies trying to break through than ever before. Within IT, we’re seeing more and more companies clamber for the best talent and with organisations such as Amazon, EBay, Facebook and Google as prime targets, are we set to see another boom within the “salary first” permanent jobseekers or will company vision and engagement shadow financial gain?


This was being debated by CxO’s and managers I’ve met over the last month and is now a key topic when looking and sourcing staff, how can they attract, but also retain the best staff when they cannot compete with some of the salaries being offered? Is there a case for more bonus structures within the technology teams to compensate for over achievement? Do you hire contractors in to get the job done whilst you hire a less experienced developer to train up?


Personally, I still believe that times have changed and people will stick with a company that excites them, has plans and keeps them fully engaged.. however the challenge then lies in convincing them of this world beyond the interview. How can you differentiate yourself enough to attract the top talent into your company?


One of the best responses (and reason someone joined their current company), was not due to the salary, but due to the CTO sticking by a “no assholes” guarantee in his hiring and being extremely selective over who he takes into the company. This has worked so far but as they move into SME territory, they’re losing a number almost as fast as they grow, so is this a sustainable model – I’m sure Google would have a few pointers and thought on this, but when you’re not running one of the world’s most influential companies, what do you do?


This isn’t a new question but it is one that I believe can always bring forwards new insights and ideas, I’ll keep this topic open and re-look at this over the next few months, I connect with Directors, partners and Investors on a regular basis and will be getting their thought on this. If you’re interested in commenting please contact me on j.gohil@vertex-solutions.co.uk or call +44(0)1442 209056