The UK Data Market - Does your Tech Team have a brand?

I work with businesses of every size and any sector, from the biggest names in telecoms, finance, and retail, to AI start-ups and data consultancies with 10 employees.

I'm 'in the trenches' every day speaking to industry experts and gathering as much information as I can about the ever-evolving space that we all recruit in. Any information you read from my articles will most likely be drawn from the cloud data engineering market, as my network develops within AWS, GCP, and Azure frameworks.

The Big City Challenge

The City of London is a fantastic, dynamic environment which attracts talented individuals from around the world. Here you will find many local engineers who have shaped their careers close to home, as well as top talent from around the world who have joined London's rapidly growing data scene later in their career. Despite the inflow of talent into the area (which will undoubtedly be stifled by new Brexit laws), we still face a serious challenge in the world of data engineering.

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I could write various articles about data engineering and how this market differs to other disciplines of tech and analytics, but I'll try to keep this straightforward. Last year DICE's 2020 Tech Job Report stated that data engineering is the fastest growing tech occupation with 50% increase in demand year-on-year.

"From our perspective, there seems to be more demand for Data Engineers than supply. Effectively positioning your brand to the community can make the first conversation with a candidate much easier."

We are still living through a pandemic which is causing a lot of fear in job security and personal life. People are being more cautious than ever and most are grateful to even have a job at all, which is why the manner in which your brand is represented to the market is one of the most important factors to be aware of in 2021.

As money making businesses, you want quality candidates to be attracted to your brand, which means you should evaluate these three critical factors:

1). How does your brand engage with the data community?

Some organisations are simply too big and well established to be posting content about their data team on social media. However, what is becoming more prevalent is dedicated pages to showcase their tech/data capabilities which are separate to main business accounts. An example is Sainsbury's with their Digital, Tech and Data page on LinkedIn where they showcase some of their tech success, host meetups and 'hackajob' events, and generally give their talented team a social media presence.

There are huge positives in this as the page gives the team pride in their work and spreads positive vibes about their work environment to their wider network on LinkedIn. Tech functions of any size can do this with a phone camera and a sprinkle of social media flair!

  1. 2). If you work with external recruiters, how many do you engage and how do they represent your brand to the market?

If you're not the one that's approaching the market with your vacancies, who is? This is a key question and something that is so often undervalued when selecting a Preferred Suppliers List (PSL) or working with external recruitment partners. The way a recruiter briefs a candidate is imperative, as it sets the candidates expectations and gives them the first impression of the client's brand, tech, and culture.

People chat to each other and data communities in most cities are actually pretty tight, so the last thing you want is negative connotations of your brand being floated in this space.

Here is two things to keep in mind when using external recruitment partners:

  • a). Don't use too many! I can't stress this enough. Imagine you're a data engineer starting your  job search and someone messages you about a great role with your skillset. You have a great chat and you apply for the role and feel pretty special having applied for this exclusive job.
  • An hour later you get another message for a similar sounding role, you pick up the phone and oh... it's another recruiter calling about the same job! Then another the next day, and another... suddenly the job doesn't seem so exclusive and special anymore and your enthusiasm declines. Long story short, choose quality over quantity with recruiters!
  • b).This may seem obvious, but work with good recruiters. I truly believe that we are improving all round and we're more tech savvy than ever. If a recruiter takes their time to really learn their niche & client, they can make life 10x easier for both clients and candidates as they'll have a deeper understanding of what a role requires and how a candidate would fit the culture.
  2. 3). Are your vacancies actually attractive?

This depends on many factors but here are three important ones:

  • a). Salary
  • b). Tech stack
  • c). Role and Responsibilities

This bit is fairly simple, if you've hired people before, you'll know that one of these has probably caused a candidate to reject your job in favour of another one. Striking the balance between all three is so important as today's market is tight and very competitive - £2,000 per year or the opportunity to work with Spark could be the difference between them signing your contract or your competitor's.

This brand stuff ain't easy, I know. But if you get started and tweak each area of your approach in the right way, recruitment will start to become easier and cheaper (the most important thing right?).

Author Bio


Euan’s a data engineering recruitment specialist who works with experts in Python, SQL and Cloud development, every day. Euan works the London market and supports our clients throughout the UK and beyond with expertise in this fast-growing sector.