How does the war for talent affect B2B tech startups?

by James Ker-Reid - July 9, 2021

The competition for a skilled workforce is not a new thing. In 1997 the term ‘war for talent’ was coined by Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Co. to refer to “an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting talented employees” 

According to research there were 5.98 million private businesses in the UK at the start of 2020 and 99.8% were SMEs with less than 250 employees. 

SMEs have a substantial influence on national employment accounting for 52% of private sector turnover in 2020 and 60% of all private sector jobs in the UK (a total of 16.6 million). With no established big brand culture or reputation on the market for how they treat employees, startups have a clean slate when it comes to establishing the culture and benefits they want for their employees. 

Millennial tech talent seems to focus on the bigger visionary picture and put a greater emphasis on the challenge as opposed to just company perks and financial rewards. They tend to look for places that offer them opportunities to grow and be part of a new venture.  

With little room for error in a fast growing business how can startups win the war for talent and get it right the first time round?

Ditch the hire fast, fire fast and adopt an agile recruitment process. 

It’s important to have a people strategy in place before you make your first hire and that you continuously update it to ensure it evolves with your growth to meet long-term goals. 

As a B2B tech startup it is important to not solely focus on the development of your tech, but to also keep an ear to the ground on new emerging technologies that could free up your workforce to focus on more rewarding activities. This attracts new recruits and in turn motivates your existing employees. 

Why does equality and diversity matter?

It is more than just a tickbox. Continuing to hire from the same places means you risk missing the diversity you need to take your business to the next level. Diversity remains a key challenge for the tech sector as only 15% of the tech workforce are from BAME backgrounds and gender diversity is currently sitting at 19% compared to 49% for all other jobs.

Research shows the greater the representation of representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. Companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30, and in turn these companies were more likely to outperform those with even fewer women executives, or none at all.

How your workforce can attract the customers of tomorrow

Tomorrow’s customers are more socially and economically conscious. In the last few years there has been a shift in how people interact with businesses. There is a new expectation for businesses of all sizes to exist for more than just shareholder gains. And consumers are learning to hold businesses accountable for their impact. 

Moving forward good ideas will no longer be measured against their functionality, but instead their need to solve consumer requirements while simultaneously creating positive global change. 

How Sales for Startups can help

We know that hiring the right salespeople is hard and if you haven’t done it before, this compounds into a state of paralysis. 

Imagine this, you have 10 CVs for 10 salespeople all of whom have surpassed their targets, top performers in their industries, have great contacts, etc. but you have one position to fill. 

How do you choose? 

Read our article 5 steps to hiring the best sales talent to your startup for more information. 



Further Reading

Patrick Thorp
September 1, 2020

A Beginners Guide to Revenue Operations

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James Ker-Reid
November 22, 2021

Building systems and operations that scale at startups

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Patrick Thorp
August 25, 2020

How to build a successful Go-To-Market Sales strategy

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