London's Silicon Roundabout is taking aim at the City's recruitment "milk rounds" to entice UK graduates away from a career in banking and towards the IT industry. The Silicon Milkroundabout event will lay 500 jobs on the table from firms like Skimlinks, Playfire, graze.com, Covestor and Last.fm and aims to fill them in one afternoon.
The assault on banking recruitment follows research reported by The Guardian that 3% of graduates are considering a career in tech compared to almost 10% considering work in the city in part due to rumoured £50,000 starting salaries there.
The 500 jobs are the tip of the IT iceberg. Philip Schindler, European Vice President of Google recently said ahead of The Telegraph's Festival of Business that 365,000 new jobs will be created in the UK tech industry over the next five years.
While Silicon Milkroundabout promises competitive salaries and offers of stock in start-ups, Songkick CEO Ian Hogarth said the lack of interest from graduates was hampering the growth and development of start-ups.
“We, along with many of our friends from other start-ups, struggle with the shortage of computer science graduates and experienced software developers," he said. "The fact is that many potential candidates aren’t even aware of tech start-ups as an alternative to the more traditional routes of working for a bank, a consultancy, Google, Facebook or Microsoft."
Patrick Pordage from Cambridge Consultants agrees that the graduate market is a competitive field, but gets in early to pick the best candidates for their start-up like businesses. "Certainly the money to be made in the City is attractive to graduates, but so too is the possibility to work on technology that has meaning to peoples' lives. We take in A-level students through the Year In Industry program, and identify the cream of the crop that way. We have spun off 20 companies that are much the same as start-ups, and many of the people involved in those are now millionaires."
At Bournemouth University, alumnus of Tom Crawford, Dyson's head of product design, students are snapped up by big names before they leave university. They report that 73% of their Software Systems Framework BSc (Hons) program were employed full-time in IT roles, while JP Morgan recruits directly from the university campus. That company employs 5,500 people in Bournemouth alone.
The Silicon Milkroundabout event is also being supported by David Cameron's Tech City, the start-up development in London's east that describes itself as the EU's fastest growing IT cluster.
Eric van der Kleij, Chief Executive of Tech City said: "The biggest challenge to building Tech City is helping graduates understand the benefits of working for a start-up. What they maybe don't realise is that many recruiters see some time spent in a start-up as a great benefit."
Van der Klej listed Songkick, Moo.com, Mind Candy and Tweetdeck as just some of the UK start-ups that have recruited graduates. Each has a base in Tech City.
Daniel Hough, a graduate who now works as a developer at Huddle said: “The pivotal factor in my decision to join a start-up was the desire to avoid the conventional graduate schemes that a lot of my friends had gone into out of University, with large software companies, banks and financial institutions. I’d heard about the facelessness of the organisational structures that often show up, and how arbitrary and restrictive some of the schemes were, and how one could feel like a little cog in a huge machine.
"To me, joining a start-up where I could have a major influence on the company’s performance and direction, with a fun and creative working environment was an obvious decision.”
The Silicon MilkRoundabout event is on 30th October at the Truman Brewery with 100 tech companies exhibiting and 500 jobs on offer. The last Silicon Milk roundabout in May saw 1 in 4 jobs filled.