Annie Le Cavalier is the General Manager Melbourne at Stone & Chalk. In this piece, she discusses why career professionals need to give thought to pivoting their corporate careers and moving into emerging tech.
People think of startups as being the domain of techies – developers bashing out code and bringing in VC funding. And while software development is a big part of the technology industry, the reality is much broader than that. To thrive, Australia’s emerging tech industry needs people with ambition, drive and experience. That’s why Stone & Chalk and LaunchVic have partnered to help mid-career professionals transition to the booming startup ecosystem and help create the new economy.
According to a recent report from RMIT Online and Deloitte, over 50,000 Australians reported a ‘lack of skills’ as the main barrier to finding work in 2020. Pivott is designed to help Australians understand that technical skills are not the only roles startups are seeking; and the fast-growing emerging technology sector has opportunities across a range of disciplines, all of which are actively hiring.
The reality of Australia’s technology industry is that it is growing, and with rapid pace. The opportunity is ripe for Australians to fill the skills shortage gap. And it’s not just technical skills. Startups in the emerging tech scene need the support of professionals with diverse skill sets, ranging from sales and business admin, to HR and marketing. And beyond this, the industry needs people with a wealth of business experience too; emerging tech isn’t only for the tech savvy millennials as it’s so often construed.
Stone & Chalk recently launched Pivott in Victoria, a free program open to technical or non-technical job seekers to provide them with the skills, mindset and tools they need to seek employment in a startup or scale-up. The program also provides accurate matches between job seekers and employers, based on their unique skills, in an effort to support startups in a more meaningful way. It’s a game changer for startups in need of both technical and non-technical talent, and an opportunity for Aussies to consider an alternate career path.
Attracting talent to attractive tech
Despite the economic downturn, skill shortage, border closures and redundancies, COVID has brought about a period of growth for the startup scene in Australia. So much so, that already successful home grown scale-ups like Octopus Deploy, CoverGenius, LittlePay, Airwallex, Canva and SafetyCulture have made international headlines in recent months — putting Australia on the map as a hub for technology like it hasn’t been perceived before.
Emerging technology has the potential to become the engine room for constant innovation and change, paving the way to provide jobs of the future. If that’s not a big enough draw card to jump ship from corporate life, startups often offer equity to their employees, enabling them to own a stake in solutions that are quite literally changing the way we live, work and play. It might be a different ball game to the work perks in corporate land, but the reward of working on solutions today, that solve problems of tomorrow, far outweighs any risk. A startup often offers a flexible working environment where the quality of work is more important than being in an office 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.
Now more than ever, startups need all the support they can get. With the exodus of international talent, they’re relying on homegrown skill to ensure emerging tech doesn’t remain a shrinking industry. At a local level, startups have either been relatively undeterred or have experienced rapid growth as a result of COVID-19. People realised they could rely on and utilise technology for almost anything; working, staying connected, upskilling, working out, shopping and teaching (to name a few) — and a series of online platforms emerged to cater to these needs. The reality is that the mass adoption of tech has led to unprecedented growth, so much growth that the demand is now outweighing the supply of talent.
Stone & Chalk’s Pivott is a great example of how we can support startups in reaching the right talent. The program helps talent understand what is required to join the startup rebellion, and in turn ensures the talent is well equipped with a robust understanding of the role and industry.
We recently surveyed over 60 of Stone & Chalk’s residents and found that they are forecasting over 170 new roles opening up in 2021. Littlepay, the transit focused payments platform allowing commuters to pay via their contactless smart device, is growing its workforce by 20 people. And it’s not just technical roles; they’re currently hiring for a Head of People, an Accountant, and a Product Manager. Similarly, frankieone – the platform helping banks and fintechs manage fraud, is also hiring a number of non-technical positions like a Scrum Master, Solution Consultant and Associate Director of Strategy and Operations. The opportunities are there for everyone, whether you’re tech savvy or not.
This, combined with the booming resilience of the tech industry, makes it an exciting time to pivot your career and contribute to something larger. Each day, I’m excited to be participating in building Australia’s future economy and be surrounded by resilient and visionary founders who are at the forefront of the next big thing. The sector isn’t only growing — it’s maturing. Come and get involved.
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