Look around, what do you see?
Start-ups here, start-ups there, start-ups nearly everywhere.
What gifts do these start-ups bring, if any?
You guessed it! Lots of glorious jobs.
Yes, large companies might be about to replace you for a robot. So what? Start-up job vacancies are popping up like mushrooms. Don’t believe me? Look at the figures and be amazed.
The effects of start-ups on job growth
Clearly, not all regions and ecosystems are built the same, so the numbers may vary quite a bit. But start-ups in different regions share a similar trait: they are the leading job growth engine.
In this recent report, Robert Walters, a global recruitment consultancy, shares that in London the fintech sector alone created 61% more vacancies in 2018 compared to the previous year. That makes it the fastest-growing sector in the London economy.
The Netherlands Employment Report (NEP) highlights the growth rate of start-up jobs – 23% over two years – and found that it “is about twice as fast as job growth in the IT sector, R&D, and retail”.
Further proof of the importance of start-ups for job growth is found in research by the Kauffman Foundation who claim that start-ups and scale-ups in the US generate the most net new jobs.
There you have it – start-ups are creating job vacancies.
Enough numbers, is working at a start-up even any good? I mean, aren’t they small fish?
In actual fact, start-ups can offer more than just an innovative vision and fancy tech.
What are the benefits of working for a start-up?
Tales of brave employees who quit their job to join or start a start-up are whispered amongst those who lurk in corporate environments.
It doesn’t seem very smart, does it?
However, there are certain attractive aspects of a start-up company.
Here are a few good reasons for the risky jump.
Start-ups introduce you to the modern workplace
What do you think of when you think of an office?
A man wearing a grey suit sitting at a grey desk staring at the grey walls that promise no escape until 5 o’clock?
It might have sounded like this a few decades ago.
Enter the new age workplace with stocked mini-fridges, ping pong tables, new-age tech and bright and colourful walls.
Start-ups and innovative companies are pioneering the modern workplace, which is a new perspective on how people should work.
Start-up companies purposely put you in environments that nurture creativity and provide certain comforts. This means:
- Gyms and other facilities
- Wellbeing sessions and expert talks
- Free food and drinks
- A casual work environment (where you can wear slippers, for example)
- Flexible working hours
- The thrill of working in a “hip” cafe or co-working space
- The chance to work from home (where I suppose you can also wear slippers)
Start-ups often praise creativity and idea-sharing
Do you know what it feels like to work somewhere where your ideas are often shot down or, worse, not taken into consideration at all?
It doesn’t feel great.
Start-up companies tend to have more open ears and often encourage creative thought-sharing. This ensures that employees feel appreciated for what they do and makes it easier for them to have a healthy relationship with their jobs.
What you’ll learn in a start-up, you won’t learn in a corporate job
Start-ups are small and usually have a more horizontal structure that allows for more collaboration between bosses and employees. This creates an optimal environment to learn new things.
These businesses also place more responsibility on their employees, who usually have to learn things outside of their capabilities and acquire new skills.
So, be prepared to expand your skill set.
An early-stage start-up may also be relatively unknown and have very few funds.
It’s one thing to learn while working at an established company, it’s another thing to learn while trying to get a company off the ground.
This may be one of the most valuable experiences in anyone’s career.
We’d all love a piece of the pie
There are long-term benefits to working for a start-up… if it succeeds.
In the early stages, start-ups don’t have enough money to guarantee a high salary. However, employees often turn into investors and choose shares over large figures.
The CEO of Paypal, Bill Harris, defends this idea and says that employee equity might be a viable solution for both employees and start-ups.
There’s one more potentially career-changing benefit, in addition to stock options. Start-ups are usually small. They have fewer people, which means less competition and more credit where credit is due.
Stick with a start-up and you might find yourself in a senior position sooner than you expected.
Of course, working at a start-up doesn’t come without its risks and difficulties.
Jobs at start-ups usually require long hours and dedication to ensure early growth and, as previously mentioned, you might not get a lot of money out of it.
To add to that, the biggest off-putting statistic by start-up Genome is that 90% of start-ups fail.
They rarely rise up to become a mythical horned creature and often follow the unfortunate path of the giant, feathery lizards of the Mesozoic: Extinction.
But we would never get anywhere without taking a few risks in life, right?
What kind of jobs do start-ups offer?
Start-ups have created new jobs that simply wouldn’t have been available a while back. The demand is different for each ecosystem, but start-ups are mostly searching for:
- Software engineers
- Mobile and Web developers, and
- Data scientists
Do these sound too techy? There are plenty of jobs for non-techies too, like:
- UX/UI Designers
- Sales Representatives
- Marketing and Growth experts
- Product Managers
- Content Managers
- Operations and “Customer Success” specialists
How to find start-up jobs
Having told you about all of the wonders and terrors that start-ups can offer, I must share this baffling piece of information.
Despite the job vacancies, new start-ups and talent have difficulty finding each other!
The European Start-up Initiative recognises that, among others, “connecting to the right skilled workers” is still an obstacle to starting and scaling up.
It might be difficult to determine where you should search and what you should search for.
With this start-up heatmap, you can view, search, and compare information about business environments in European cities.
After examining the data and hopefully drawing some insights, there are plenty of dedicated online boards like:
Another effective way to find a job at a start-up is by using your connections. Knowing someone high up is the way in, especially with start-up companies.
Scour your LinkedIn and Facebook for useful connections, go to networking events, nurture relationships, then sell yourself as if you laid golden eggs.
Start-ups for employment
In the flagship report World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2020, the International Labour Organisation highlights that despite the decreasing unemployment rate, there’s still much work to be done.
One of the key takeaways is that there are still “major gaps in access to work” and “poor work conditions” around the globe, especially in less fortunate countries.
There’s also the serious fear of job displacement as automation bursts in with his charming can-do attitude and flaunts his god-like skills.
The Start-up Genome, a global start-up ecosystem accelerator for forward-looking governments, in its Global Start-up Ecosystem Report (GSER), says that you can’t solve this particular problem by stopping innovation – that’s counterproductive.
In actual fact, innovation needs to be used in order to solve the very problem it’s created!
So whether it’s recruitment start-ups trying to connect employers and jobseekers, start-up companies looking for employees themselves, or newborn start-up ecosystems – this start-up phenomenon looks set to play an important part in curing our unemployment problem! And hopefully it’s here to stay.
From Emma at immerj