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Start-Up And Scale-Up Spotlight: Overcoming Hiring Challenges In The Tech Industry

Start-Up And Scale-Up Spotlight: Overcoming Hiring Challenges In The Tech Industry

26 Aug by Peter Starling

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I recently spent some time at QODE Brisbane, an event developed by the Queensland Government to showcase the state’s evolving tech and innovation space. As part of the Government’s strategy to create more ‘jobs of the future’ in Queensland, the two-day forum brought together global experts from across the AI ecosystem – both from start-ups and established tech hubs alike.

Various talent issues were discussed over the course of QODE, however, it really got me thinking about tech companies and what they can do better to hire great talent. More often than not, success comes down to networking, whether that’s through connections in the industry or even university. In fact, I know a number of companies – founded by my industry connections who have collaborated – that have gone on to become very successful. But once you go past the start-up phase and scale up operations, what are the challenges faced when hiring tech professionals in Queensland, a state that is widely known for a shortage of technical talent?

The Challenge of Finding Good People

With Queensland’s core industries not cultivating the right skill sets for technical roles, education, training and development have traditionally been focused on other areas. Take the mining industry for example, where an organisation’s ‘ideal hire’ possesses the same skills as candidates from the last 10 or 20 years!  

But in the tech space, we’re talking about newer companies (with newer technologies) attempting to hire skill sets that until recently, didn’t even exist in the market. This is a situation that often forces tech companies to consider a.) hiring graduates straight from university and helping to develop their skills, b.) hiring tech professionals from another state who are willing to relocate to Queensland or c.) looking offshore for overseas talent through one of the skilled visa routes.

Although organisations are not always looking for the same talent, I’ve found several reoccurring challenges that leaders are finding after exhausting their search at a local level:

  • How do I adapt a role to source the right skill set (if my ideal skill set isn’t available)? I’m seeing an increasing number of organisations compromising on ability in favour of someone they can mould in the long-term.
  • How do I develop my businesses unique selling points/employment brand to attract the right people?
  • What’s the best way to go about attracting interstate or even overseas-based candidates?

Supporting Start-Ups/Scale-Ups

Whilst engaging a specialist recruitment partner may be the obvious answer to get to top tech talent efficiently, the problem for start-ups is that paying traditional percentage-based agency fees isn’t always a viable option. As recruitment partners, I feel we need to find another way!

How can we engage these tech hubs at a level that is cost effective, yet still deliver the outcome required? What other delivery models can we implement that will have a positive impact on Queensland’s tech community?

One obvious alternative is a pay-per-use solution, which some recruitment partners have begun to implement into their offering. This is where recruitment partners work alongside tech start-ups for only the parts of the recruitment process where their expertise is needed (for example just sourcing or references), in an effort to reduce the cost burden as much as possible.

Tech events like QODE are doing a fantastic job of promoting Queensland as home to some of the world’s most innovative tech organisations – something that can only have a positive impact on employers and candidates alike. I would love to hear about the hiring challenges you feel are most pressing for start-ups in the tech and innovation space – get in touch.

Peter Starling is a Client Partner at OnTalent with an extensive background in recruitment spanning 24 years. Peter has an established track record across Energy, Engineering, Technology and the Innovation sectors with a passion and curiosity around supporting start-ups and scale-ups.   Connect with Peter on Linkedin, alternatively call him to discuss how he can support your business on +61 7 3305 5830