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Over half of employees in a typical startup know how to code, but talent remains top priority



Startup | Tech

By Loren Webb

Recent research has revealed key insights about the Australian startup eco-system; showing that although over half of employees within a typical startup already know how to code, talent remains their biggest priority in order to scale and grow. 

The report comes from StartupAUS, Australia’s peak national advocacy group for startups, and has launched today in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Google, Australian Computer Society (ACS) and Middle8.

The study mapped 21 Australian startups at different stages of growth on a plane to show both the level of funding they have raised and their number of employees.

Employment trends across Australia’s startup sector:

  1. Startups are creating thousands of brand new jobs each year.

  2. Over half the employees of a typical startup know how to code.

  3. Talent remains a top priority for startups across the globe.

  4. Demand for technology skills is increasing across many industries, creating additional competition for startups.

  5. Some cutting edge startup roles have become more mainstream in the last year.

Who are startups looking for?

Further to those main points, analysis of startup job ads shows a huge concentration of demand along the Eastern seaboard of Australia.

Technology roles dominate the majority of those. Over half of the 14,000 job ads posted on major sites by startups in the last year were STEM roles, with 6,000 alone categorised as Information Technology positions. Of the remainder, traditional business roles in sales, admin and customer support all feature heavily.

Job ads for product roles have hit the mainstream, whereas data and machine learning roles haven’t quite reached the same level yet.

Looking deeper into theadvertisements for technical roles, the strongest focus is still on coding jobs – software engineersand developers. Classic IT roles in network engineering, security, systems analysis and technical writing continue to feature as well.

How are startups finding talent?

Startups are able to use large job marketplaces for their more traditional roles, but are still looking elsewhere to recruit specialised technical startup roles.

More modern startup roles are traditionally sourced via recruiter sand networking, but ads for roles in UX/UI, product and data all have over 100 incidences across the year, indicating a growing awareness in the market of these skills.

This data collected likely indicates that for traditional business roles and software development the large online jobs sites are effective, but for specialist tech roles in artificial intelligence, machine learning and data and product, startups are either unable to get the talent they need or are using specialist recruiters.

Global war for talent

Access to talent is not just an Australian concern. Digital technology is a relatively new field and a powerful force for economic growth, so talent is both limited in supply and highly sought after.

StartupAUS COO Alex Gruszka says, “We’re in a global war for talent. The closest thing technology has to raw material is human intellectual capital – startups are built from turning ideas into innovations and creating value. So making sure we get world-class talent into Australian businesses is a critical step to those businesses growing and flourishing.”

“Startups are grown by smart and hardworking people that are able to take ideas and turn them into innovations which, in turn, provide valuable dividends to the community and economy at large.”

Gruszka adds, “The sector has been consistent in calling for STEM skills and this snapshot shows why. Over half of those working in a startup have a technical background, which gives an interesting leading insight into what the jobs of the future might look like.

“I was personally surprised by how mainstream many of these tech skills are becoming. Where five years ago startups relied on bespoke recruiters and networks to find industry roles like product managers, they are now using large job boards like SEEK and LinkedIn. And while the demand for data scientists has grown among startups, it’s actually grown faster in the financial services, professional services and not-for-profit sectors.”

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