Recruitment & HR

Job hunters should look beyond the biggest tech names when choosing an employer.

That was the message of Ben Davies, founder of technology platform Vypr, at the latest Tech Barometer event.

The popular quarterly event is organised by tech specialist Fairmont Recruitment in association with BusinessCloud and discusses the changing trends in tech, recruitment and investment.

Davies was joined by veteran M&A advisor Charlotte Ashton and Jack Donohue, CEO and founder of Fairmont Recruitment.

The serial entrepreneur founded the product intelligence platform Vypr in 2013 to help businesses in the consumer goods sector gain consumer insights in quick time.

Vypr is a household name with retailers including Iceland, Co-op, KFC, Leon and Ella’s Kitchen and has raised more than £9m in investment from private equity and angel investors as well as grown its staff to 55.

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Davies said Vypr doesn’t try and compete with big name unicorn brands on salary but instead focuses on the other benefits it offers.

“The possibilities for people joining are really expansive,” he said. “We have a flat management structure. All the people in Vypr get exposure to everyone in the business all of the time. There’s no pyramid hierarchy. For a young person coming to develop their career it’s a great place to be.

“We’re looking at international opportunities all over the world at the moment. Who knows what individuals could be doing in two or three years’ time if they join what is currently a UK and Western Europe-centric business.

“People may be attracted by the name and the salary (of a bigger firm). We might not be able to match either of those things but what we can really excel on is the day-to-day working experience of a rapidly scaling business.”

Charlotte Ashton spent nearly 20 years working in M&A advisory and the private equity world before launching her own business Implicit to help CEOs, owners and founders prepare for sale and maximise the value of their business.

She said her message to business owners was to be prepared

“You’ve got to be very clear what your end goal is,” she said. “That could be fundraising or some of the shareholders cashing out for example.

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“You’ve got to be clear what that means for you and why it’s important.

“Once you’ve identified the likely stakeholders you’re targeting the key thing to do then is to gain some insight on what’s important to those investors. What metrics are they looking for?

“The more you can do early on to start having conversations, the better. Firstly, it’s good research and secondly you build relationships with those investors but do it on a high quality, low volume basis.

“Effectively it’s free consulting. You can use the feedback they give you to evolve your strategy.”

Jack Donohue, CEO and founder of Fairmont Recruitment, said candidates need to look beyond salaries alone when choosing a job.

“They need to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “It’s really important that they don’t look at the headline salary. Can the company help them develop their career? People are looking at what learning development and career progression they can get. Can they get the health benefits and flexibility? It’s much more than just a headline salary.”