Crossing the Pond: Why US Tech Giants are Eyeing UK Talent

US companies have their sights-set on the UK when it comes to tech-talent

US companies have their sights-set on the UK when it comes to tech-talent

There are currently over 40,000 different startups located in Silicon Valley in addition to the big global players such as; Apple, HP, Oracle, Google, Intel, Facebook and Broadcom to name a few.

Back in 2021, CNBC reported that many of the companies listed above employ tens of thousands of tech workers in swanky offices across London, with major expansions in the pipeline. This has made it increasingly difficult for UK based companies to source and hire the top tech talent they need to meet growth plans.

Why?

Cost – UK tech talent are often more affordable due to differing salary expectations and currency exchange rates. This can make it financially advantageous for US companies to hire UK-based professionals. Although it is worth noting, it’s not just about the cost, it’s common knowledge some of these big tech giants have deep pockets, but it’s about sourcing and enticing the top talent to join.

Remote - Since COVID, businesses have learnt how to manage, attract and support workers remotely, removing geographical limitations. This has meant that even though tech businesses were already coming to the UK to grow their businesses, provide offices and utilize the talent pool, now they can do this much easier, on much higher volumes without the cost of bricks and mortar.

Offices - Establishing a physical presence can be costly, and the expenses associated with setting up an office may be lower in the UK compared to the US. This could incentivize US companies to open satellite offices or subsidiaries in the UK to access local talent without the need for full-scale operations in the US.

Loyalty - It’s also about loyalty. Dan Hynes, talent partner at Atomico and the former talent lead at Google told the Times “When I was at Skype, we stopped hiring in the US because it was twice as expensive, but the staff were not twice as good — and they left twice as fast.”

Salaries

US wages across the board are higher than the UK’s at $77,463 compared with $53,985, according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, but in tech this difference goes into overdrive.

The cost of tech professionals in the US is rising rapidly. There is a consequent pay difference between US and UK developers: The average pay gap is 30% widening to 34% for C++ developers.

Choosing the right coding specialism has a bigger impact on remuneration in the US: C++ developers get paid almost twice as much as PHP developers in the USA. In the UK, there is only a 32% pay difference between the two.

The pay gap between the US and the UK is wider for top paying specialisms: Sought-after specialisms are particularly well-rewarded in the US (£10,000 more than average), vs. £4,000 more than average in the UK.

What does this mean for UK companies?

Well, if the UK thought the talent market was competitive, bringing the US people requirements into the equation is only going to increase people pressures.

To stay competitive, UK companies need to look at their employee value proposition (EVP), covering everything from remuneration packages, progression opportunities, training and development and company culture.  For more tips and a free guide, click here

To retain talent and steer them away from the big tech giants, a loyal, supportive culture and inclusive work environment can really help build loyalty. Furthermore, investing in local tech ecosystems and supporting initiatives that cultivate homegrown talent can also contribute.

Ultimately, the challenge for UK companies lies in finding innovative ways to attract and retain top tech talent, despite the allure of opportunities abroad, or indeed, remote!

Race for AI Professionals

It’s no secret that there is a demand for AI talent worldwide. As artificial intelligence technologies continue to advance and integrate into various sectors such as healthcare, finance, retail, manufacturing, and more, the need for skilled professionals in AI-related roles becomes increasingly critical.

At the start of 2024, The Times shared that Charlotte Howard, who looks after talent at Index Ventures, sees an intense hiring frenzy for AI workers in the US, which “has not yet fully hit our shores and many companies are taking advantage of that opportunity in the UK to lock in AI talent early”.

As the AI landscape evolves, the demand for specialized skill sets within AI, such as machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics, is also expanding. Therefore, efforts to recruit and develop talent should align with emerging trends and technological advancements in the field.

Collaboration between academia, government, and industry is also key to nurturing a thriving AI ecosystem. By fostering partnerships and supporting initiatives that promote innovation, knowledge sharing, and skills development, countries can create environments conducive to attracting and retaining AI talent.

Ultimately, recognizing the importance of AI talent and taking proactive measures to address the growing demand can help countries like the UK remain competitive in the global AI landscape and harness the transformative potential of artificial intelligence for economic growth and societal benefit.

 

 

 

Data sources:

 

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