Interview with Gordon Smith of Hired – a soar in demand for AR/VR talent

  •  Hired is a marketplace for tech talent founded in 2012.
  • The State of Software Engineers Report 2020 by Hired shows UK tech salary increase by 13%, the highest recorded globally.
  • Other notable findings include, a soar in demand for AR/VR talent and drastically slowed demand for blockchain engineers.


Gordon Smith, GM, Europe at Hired.


Gordon Smith, GM for Europe discusses these findings and the Hired marketplace.


What is Hired?


We are a marketplace that makes it easier for technology workers to find their next position. Our founders realised when they created the business that it’s quite stressful and hectic being a technology worker at the moment because there’s such a mismatch between supply and demand. There are many more jobs than there are people to do them. Candidates often find themselves inundated with cold calls and spam for job opportunities, it’s quite overwhelming. So we built the first model that’s geared towards creating a good candidate experience. For candidates, Hired is completely free. You create your profile once and companies will approach you, only with relevant opportunities. We put a lot of control back with the candidates in a very noisy market.

On the flip side, for the companies who are hiring, we’ve done all of the admin work up-front. What they’ll see when looking to hire for their team is a shortlist of actively looking candidates who have the experience and skills that they’re looking for.


Hired produces an annual State of Software Engineer Report. This is a collection of insights showing the trends driving digital transformation. Hired is in a unique position to share these findings because of their visibility into the hiring process. 


How does Hired acquire its job data?


Our proprietary data is a unique aspect that we have. Because of the level of transparency on the platform, candidates are very open about what they’re looking to earn in their next role. We’ll see several companies reach out to that candidate, giving an indication of salary. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of instances across our marketplaces in the US, Canada and Europe every single day. We can see all sorts of information about who companies are reaching out to and the money that they’re offering. From that we can then see trends in terms of specific skill sets that are getting more money, or certain candidates that are getting a bit more aggressive in what they’re asking for.  


The latest report from Hired found that the average UK tech salary increased by 13% in 2019, to £74K/year. This was the highest pay increase compared to other tech hubs globally, including San Francisco and New York. It means that UK developers now earn £37K more than the average Brit.

The annual State of Software Engineers Report 2020 also found that demand for AR/VR talent is up by 1400% globally.

It’s worth noting that demand for blockchain engineers slowed to 9% this year, normalising from its explosive 517% growth reported last year.


Why has demand for AR/VR talent increased?


I think there’s a big rise in companies wanting to leverage this technology in different types of ways. Augmented reality is going to be a huge thing in the future. We’re very much at the stage now of companies still figuring out how to monetise that and put it into commercial use. People tend to see it used in shopping centres or airports playing games, but there’s a lot more to it than that. An example being Improbable, a company that we work with who model real world situations. Their customers are Governments who might want to model different types of scenarios. They can build entire replica cities on behalf of those Governments and agencies wanting to look at scenario modelling. As a case in point, Improbable is one of the biggest funding rounds we’ve seen in the UK for a while.


Why is interest in blockchain engineers slowing?


With blockchain engineers, it’s an interesting one. It is still very much emerging technology. We maybe don’t see as much activity hiring specifically blockchain engineers as expected with what you read in the press. I think similarly to AR; it’s something that companies are figuring out how to leverage. Something we’ve seen a lot with companies hiring blockchain engineers, is that they’ll tend not to look for someone with blockchain engineering experience. If a company was hell-bent of finding somebody who’s got excellent blockchain experience, you’d be fishing in a very small pond because it’s such a new technology. So we tend to see companies looking to hire really good backend engineers that have experience in different programming languages.


What goals does Hired have looking forward? 


For us, it’s to continue growing in our core markets in North America and Europe. We’ve got a really strong base now and each year, the number of candidates placed is growing. Now, it’s looking at existing customers and finding out what other challenges they have when it comes to hiring technology candidates that we could potentially help with. An example could be looking at having somebody on-site at the companies short-term. That could help  growing companies who want to hire but aren’t big enough to have a whole recruitment team yet.

Another thing would be employer branding. What can Hired do to help our customers promote themselves and why they’re a great company to work for?  Going forward, we’re still focussing on tech but looking at how can we do more for our existing customers. 



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