Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, January 05, 2007

IT Jobs in London, UK

The UK's top IT talent is beginning to make use of Hollywood-style talent agents.

"The queen is dead, long live the queen" has taken on a new, slightly altered meaning. As LA's legendary theatrical talent agent Ruth Webb passes away, the phenomenon of talent agents appears to have blown over from the US to the UK. To the IT recruitment sector, to be precise. Glam value in the UK IT sector is effecting a talent agent activity that is operating on rather different premises than your average Hollywood agent works from; only 5 percent of all top IT jobs in London, UK are seen as potential talent agent material.

There's an undeniable shortage of talented employees in the top echelons of the UK's IT sector, and despite a lack of news reports about the phenomenon, talent agents are definitely beginning to get a firm foot in the door.

It's a trend that started in US IT sector just before the dotcom bust, according to the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) in London.

"Top IT contractors in the UK are at last joining the ranks of film and football stars and getting personal agents to manage their careers and secure them high paying positions with client organisations," according to the association.

The top 5 percent of IT professionals are becoming superstars as demand for elite talent becomes increasingly competitive. Niche areas including games development or systems security are especially expected to be canvassed by talent agents.

Talent agents are relatively new and their activities are turning the tables in the search for London jobs. In face, recruiting companies usually match candidates to employers' specific requirements but talent agents act on behalf of highly-skilled individuals, negotiating contracts on their terms. The impact talent agents will have on the wider sector will likely be noticeable.

"Many traditional IT recruitment companies are now seriously looking at the talent management model and the possibility of providing a gold-plated, bespoke service for the highest-earning IT professionals."

However, rigid hiring processes will likely counter impact on the innovation. Large IT organizations in the UK are known to stick to preferred supplier lists when hiring staff and are often reluctant to negotiate with agents who are new to them when looking for jobs UK.

But the association's spokeswoman, Ann Swain, also pointed out that the talent agent route might mean a breakthrough in the IT recruitment system.

"The talent agent route does perhaps give us the chance to move away from the established procurement model and develop higher margin business," Swain said.

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