Simon Raymer has a problem. The chief information officer of Fraedom, a global company specialising in payments and expenses systems, is perpetually hunting for technology talent.
To innovate and grow, the company must hire experts. It needs workers who understand technology — developers, systems architects and people with coding skills — with a record of solving problems.
Yet many other companies all over the world are looking for the same expertise.
“The scarcity is global,” says Mr Raymer. “As soon as you start talking tech, especially fintech talent with good experience, it is very rare.” The London-based company employs 200 developers. Such is the scale of the competition that at any one time it is trying to fill between 50 and 100 vacancies.
Conventional recruitment methods do not cut it in this market. “You can’t just put out an advert and expect people to come clamouring for the job,” says Mr Raymer. “We have three dedicated recruiters working full-time, scanning LinkedIn and going out and spreading the word.”
While it has a San Francisco office, Fraedom is not a large, cash-rich Silicon Valley company. Neither is it a lean, scrappy start-up, offering the stirring possibility that it may change the world and make employees with stock options very rich. It is a mid-sized, privately owned company founded in 1999, and it must find a way to persuade the best technology talent to choose to work there. If it does not, it risks falling behind.
As some of the world’s biggest companies bet on technologies like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, demand for tech talent is escalating — and so are the salaries and perks commanded by those who can build and run those technologies.
How likely a company is to attract that talent depends on where in the world it is. In Japan, with its relatively restrictive immigration laws, more than 86 per cent of businesses struggle to recruit talent, according to data from ManpowerGroup, the US recruiter. This compares with a global average of a little less than 50 per cent.
The global data cover all roles, but the technology industry was cited as the second-most difficult to recruit for. The US and Europe fare somewhat better on the tech front.
Technology is a well-paid sector and salaries vary depending on specialisms. At Fraedom, says Mr Raymer, joiners earn “market salaries” of between £40,000 and £200,000 a year, with PhDs and other specialists commanding “scary salaries”. For Harvard Business School MBA graduates who work in technology, median salaries have risen from an annual $115,000 to $130,000 in just five years. At the other end of the scale, start-ups with limited funds for high salaries must find creative ways to lure talent.
科技行业薪资丰厚，而薪资因专业领域而不同。雷默表示，在Fraedom，按照“市场行情”，新加入者的年薪在4万英镑至20万英镑之间，博士和其他专业人士要求的“薪资高的吓人”。对于进入科技行业工作的哈佛大学商学院(Harvard Business School)MBA毕业生而言，短短5年内，他们的年薪中值就从11.5万美元升至13万美元。另一方面，没有太多资金用于提供高薪的初创企业，必须找到创造性的方法吸引人才。
A nimble, creative company with a sense of mission and disruption is a big draw for workers, but only up to a point.
Many expect rewards for risk in the form of stock options — where the worker forgoes a high salary in lieu of a stake in the company.
In the US, employee stock options have helped attract the world’s best talent to early stage ventures, but in Europe and Asia, such perks are less common.
Research by Index Ventures, the tech-focused venture capital firm, suggests that employees in Silicon Valley receive double the reward for risk of their European counterparts, where such benefits are often reserved for the most senior executives. It says on average, employees own 20 per cent of late-stage start-ups in the US, versus 10 per cent in Europe.
The authors say this uneven state of affairs holds back the European technology sector as it tries to compete for workers. Index produced a league table of European countries that showed how, in terms of broad equity ownership by employees, the UK has created the most favourable conditions, with Germany’s and Spain’s the least favourable.
Europe’s founding investors are less keen to accept a diluted return than their US counterparts, says Dominic Jacquesson, director of talent at Index. Diluted return “is short-term pain but you could have a share of a bigger pie in the long run,” he says.
Mr Jacquesson says even a relatively straightforward ecommerce venture needs a complicated and expensive set of skills, including some roles that he describes as “semi-tech”.
“As you scale up, you need a world-class team around you. Hyper-growth is a skill set in itself. How do you build brands in the superfast timescales of technology?” In Silicon Valley, he says, “even the office manager will negotiate a salary with stock options”.
One tech company that offers reward for risk to all staff is Farfetch, the London-based fashion retail platform, through a scheme called Farfetch for All, started this year. The company has 2,000 employees in 11 offices around the world, with employees from 57 nationalities.
有一家科技公司为全员提供风险报酬，那就是总部位于伦敦的时尚零售平台Farfetch，今年该公司启动了一项名为“Farfetch for All”的计划。该公司在全球11个办事处拥有2000名员工，员工来自57个国家。
Sian Keane, executive vice-president of people, says that, in the context of hyper-growth — Farfetch grew more than 70 per cent over the 12 months to the end of 2016, based on the value of goods traded — the scheme fosters cohesion. “We are trying to create a sense of community across different markets — London is no more of a headquarters than Portugal,’ she says.
Meanwhile, Fraedom’s hunt continues. The company may be neither a start-up nor a member of the Fang group (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), but it does have some old-fashioned advantages.
“If you work for a start-up, you are never sure your pay cheque is going to arrive,” says Mr Raymer. “And if you work for a big company, there is surface glamour and perks, but it is hard work.” So the company positions itself as a friendly employer with a limited hierarchical structure, where tech teams are given autonomy to solve problems. It also helps that the company has been around for 20 years. As Mr Raymer points out: “Young people in their late 20s and early 30s often want a house, a family — and a bit of stability.”
It’s not just money: skills, flexibility and brand matter, too
A recent survey by ManpowerGroup found that while 59 per cent of job candidates around the world identified compensation as a primary concern shaping their career decisions, work type (53 per cent), flexibility (38 per cent) and company brand (20 per cent) are increasingly important, writes David Robinson.
“People now prioritise learning and new skills,” explains Becky Frankiewicz, the recruitment company’s North America president. As technological innovation forces many employees to develop skills to stay at the cutting edge of their sector, Ms Frankiewicz says: “In the future, the haves and the have-nots will be divided up by who has the skills.” In the UK, Australia and parts of Scandinavia, type of work has eclipsed pay as the most important consideration.
In another survey conducted by the company, four out of five millennials said they would change jobs for a role with the same pay that offered better training opportunities. Meanwhile, 87 per cent of respondents said they would consider gig economy roles such as contract, temporary and freelance positions for their next job.