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New Report Shows Major Talent Retention Challenges and Solutions for UK Tech Scaleups

Employees working for tech startups and scaleups leave their jobs because of work culture or bad management and take positions based on salary, a new report has revealed.

The ISL Retention Report – Tech Scaleups 2019 surveyed nearly 200 people who had left their post in the previous four months and found that more than three quarters (80%) cited the working environment as the key reason.

Line management played a significant role in the decision as 79% also stated their direct manager had a major impact on their happiness at work, while 77% said a lack of career progression was also a significant reason. However, 83% said that salary and rewards package was most important in their decision making around taking another role.

The report, produced by tech and engineering specialist recruitment firm ISL, also shows that flexible working remains high on the agenda alongside remuneration, with 80% claiming this would be a significant factor in their decision to jump ship.

Alan Furley, director of ISL, said: “With the financial technology sector booming, a by-product of this rapid growth is a tightening candidate market. For many start-ups and scale-ups in particular, it can be incredibly challenging to dedicate the time and resources to finding such sought-after talent in the current candidate climate.

“Keeping staff, therefore, needs to be high on the list of priorities and businesses would be wise to consider recognising where there are people within their existing company who could cross train for another role – allowing other potentially more easily filled positions to be advertised.

As the battle for talent intensifies, the return on investment from being able to hold onto skilled employees will play an ever-greater role in determining the winners from the losers.

Dom Hallas, executive director of the Coalition for a Digital Economy, wrote the foreword for the report.

He said: “We routinely listen to startup and scaleup founders explain how difficult it is to first find the right person with the right skills, and then actually hire and keep them in post.

“Not being able to find the right talent not only directly impedes on the growth of individual startups/scaleups, but it also costs the wider UK economy approximately £63 billion a year in lost GDP. 

“Recruiting and retaining skilled workers go together. And both must be addressed in order for startups to grow into scaleups and for scaleups to grow into unicorns. As the battle for talent intensifies, the return on investment from being able to hold onto skilled employees will play an ever-greater role in determining the winners from the losers.

“The important part about this report is that it examines a deeper question – the additional burden placed on startups/scaleups, as the outsized demand for skilled labour now requires employers to go beyond standard recruiting strategies, to add staff retention as a key priority for their growth strategies.”

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