Attention young engineers and budding product geniuses! If you’re thinking about moving jobs, or if you’d like to work for one of the UK’s hawt startups, mark out May 26/27 in your calendars for the third edition of the Silicon Milkroundabout.
Nature abhors a vacuum and so it goes that because there are actually very few hiring events for startups in London, past Milkroundabouts have been massively oversubscribed.
“We had to turn a bunch of people away on the day,” Pete Smith, co-founder of Milkroundabout (and co-founder and COO of one of the UK’s startup success stories, the live music alert service Songkick) said of the debut event. “The bar ran dry and every company there hired at least one person and some hired four or five people.”
This year’s Silicon Milkroundabout (wordplay for those outside of the UK on the ‘milk rounds’ that big companies make when recruiting at universities; and the Silicon Roundabout nickname for the part of London where many of the startups are based) is going to be the biggest ever, with 105 startups offering 800 jobs so far and now extended to two days and covering more types of jobs:
Past events focused on recruiting engineers because startups here in the UK have just as big a problem finding good engineering talent as in other tech hubs — and Smith says, it’s possibly even more challenging, since a lot of banks and ad agencies with their headquarters in London (not to mention big tech companies like Microsoft and Google) are also very aggressive in recruiting the exact same people.
This year the engineering emphasis will continue but the second day is being used to expand to covering other fields such as product management, user experience design, visual design, and intelligence/analytics. The event is also growing beyond London, with an additional event now in Cambridge, taking place one month before, on April 28.
(That expansion, too, is mark of how the startups themselves are maturing and looking to get a little more savvy in how they go to market.)
The thinking goes that while a dinky (but promising) startup can never compete against Google for attracting talent, bringing many of them under one roof improves their profile immensely. They’ll be benefiting, too, from the fact that some of these startups are actually not really so small themselves: among the companies participating this year are Twitter, MOO.com, Songkick, Wonga, CBS’s Last.fm, Just Giving, Stack Overflow and Moshi Monsters.
With the first event attracting 500 attendees and the second drawing 1,500, Smith and Ian Hogarth, the other co-founder of Songkick and Milkroundabout, say they are expecting around 3,000 people to show up this time (and we’ll be there, too).
While the UK is no different to other parts of the world facing economic difficulties in the current climate, events like this are riding the wave for one route to more recovery. Boston Consulting estimates that the UK digital economy is already worth £121 billion ($192 million) and will be growing at 10.9 percent annually until 2016, outpacing other countries in the G-20.