The Real Problem with Tech Talent

What happens to the tech community when a company exits? Thanks to LinkedIn, we have a graphic example.

In September 2016 GE announced its offer to buy control of Swedish 3D printer Arcam. Take a look at these two charts of hiring trends at Arcam in the 12 months prior to mid-June 2017.

Tech vs Sales-Ops Hires – courtesy LinkedIn

Engineering and IT hiring is up – while Sales and Ops headcount is down.

Executive vs Non-Executive hires – courtesy LinkedIn.

Since the acquisition there have been no senior manager hires.

To the new owners, this is logical. Keep the engineers and data analysts, they’re money in the bank.

Sales and ops resources? We already have plenty of those. Cherry pick the very best for our head office. Of the remainder, keep the best local-market-farmer types and cull the rest.

When the rate of exits outpaces the growth to scale of new ventures you wind up with a brain drain of sales and ops talent with the skills to grow global businesses. It’s a massive talent gap that adds to the challenge of growing startups to scale.

And this has been going on in Canada for decades.

The sales and ops talent gap is a big reason why the rate of innovation by Canadian companies is dismal.

Geoff Foulds
Geoff Foulds
What fascinates me are the edges. And nowhere are the edges edgier… the stakes higher… than startups. There are plenty of sources of friction, compression and tension among founders and financiers, engineers and marketeers. How do you mesh all the edges so they transmit power even when loads are heavy? That’s what I write about.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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