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Thrive is set up by Funding London, a venture capital company bridging the finance gap for early stage businesses based in London. With over a decade’s experience in supporting the startups of London through a variety of funding vehicles, Funding London sensed a need to illuminate the ever-evolving scenario of London’s early stage businesses.

Thrive features interviews with and opinion from budding entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. A mix of contributors from all areas of the industry is desired in order to spark genuine discussion about ongoing critical issues. While it showcases the effectiveness of successful ventures, it also encourages sharing lessons learned from missteps and unsuccessful projects.

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Growth · 5 July '17

Recruitment in a Changing Immigration Landscape

On 3rd of May, we joined forces with Morgan McKinley and Fragomen to deliver an insightful workshop on Recruitment in a Changing Immigration Landscape.

Recruitment Update

Since June 2016, uncertainty has been the norm and it will mostly likely continue to be the case over the short term. London remains a centre for talent as many of the largest tech giants elected to maintain a strong presence, forming the gravitas for the whole ecosystem.

Surveys show that the dynamics of the recruitment space are slowly changing. Across the board, only a quarter of companies have planned recruitment activity, yet in the tech space, the availability of IT skilled talent is decreasing against a growing demand, according to CV-Library this is around 22% in May 2017. This led to an increase in salaries and stronger completion among companies. Big Data, Cloud, IT Security, Mobile and Web Development are by far the most sought skills in the UK, according to the Tech Cities Job Watch Report, Q1 2017 .

Morgan McKinley mentioned that while the activity in London is slowing due to a shortage in talent, Paris and Berlin are catching up, attracting both early stage ventures and communities of skilled professionals. In a recent survey conducted by Bullhorn, 70% of the respondent organisations have mentioned availability of talent as a key challenge, followed by economic uncertainty (67%) and pricing pressures (58%).

London based start-ups will have to be resourceful in the way they design their recruitment and engagement processes. Softer aspects are now ever more important when thinking about attracting IT skilled talent, including:

  • Referrals from colleagues and informal opinions.
  • Presence at sector events, social media and within the start-up ecosystem.
  • Understanding of essential and desirable skills of a new role.
  • Decisiveness and effective communication with candidates and employees.
  • Employment benefits, culture, and flexibility.


Overseas Recruitment: A solution or a deterrent factor for early stage companies?

Our companies created over 600 jobs, of which 35% are IT related, followed by 20% in Sales, and 20% in Advertising and Marketing. A few have already employed from overseas, in some cases, as part of their expansion activity outside the UK. Sufficient to mention that many of our founding team members may themselves be from overseas.

The journey of securing the required permissions to recruit outside the EU is riddled with challenges:

First, companies looking to recruit outside the EU are required to apply for a Sponsorship Licence, authorisation to sponsor a set number of visa applications. The waiting time is up to 6 months and provides no assurance that a successful candidate will qualify for either a Tier 2 (for skilled job) or Tier 5 (Temporary worker) visas, both options subject to monthly adjusted quotas.

Second, the process is highly expensive, especially for companies on a budget. Recruiting one candidate is estimated at close to £5k per candidate including visa application fees, however excluding any support for relocation. Furthermore, salaries offered must be in line with the market, meaning that a company cannot remunerate a sponsored employee below a certain threshold.

Third, recruiting overseas requires 6 to 9 months of preparation, for authorisation, visa application and actual relocation, making it virtually impossible for organisations to be agile. Established companies are at an advantage, in comparison with early stage start-ups, which are more likely to grow their teams in line with their business activity, rarely able to plan new roles up to a year in advance.

We understand that our companies need more solutions navigating the uncertain times ahead. To this end Fragomen, led by Ian Robinson, have produced a comprehensive tool kit to address the various immigration considerations our founding teams may have.