When it Comes to Tech Talent, Digital Companies Have a Native Advantage

When it Comes to Tech Talent, Digital Companies Have a Native Advantage

Perhaps the main reason why the market for digital talent is so competitive is that today, nearly every organization needs employees with digital skills. Some employers, however, may have an edge when it comes to recruiting the digital

At Fast Company, Maureen Mullen, chief strategy officer and cofounder of the business intelligence firm L2, reviews her firm’s research, which shows that companies “that have always lived and breathed digital technology”—she calls them “digital natives”—”are sucking up top-notch tech talent, leaving everyone else to pick over the scraps”:

Take Nike for instance. It’s regularly ranked as one of the best companies to work for, and it’s consistently more popular than other top consumer brands like L’Oréal, P&G, and LVMH. But Nike’s popularity still pales in comparison to digitally native technology companies. Searches for Amazon, Facebook, or Google “jobs” outpace searches for “Nike jobs” by an order of magnitude.

In fact, it appears there’s already been an exodus of digital talent from agencies to digital-native companies. WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, and Interpublic Group bleed talent to Facebook and Google. Based on L2’s analysis of LinkedIn data, the two tech giants employ 2,227 people who have worked at WPP, while WPP has only attracted around 124 former Facebook or Google employees—a net loss of over 2,100 people.

How can everyone else compete with the natural-born tech innovators? She points to some strategies “traditional” employers have used to poach employees from the Googles and Facebooks of the world, such as opening locations near existing tech hubs, or targeting recruitment toward employees of specific firms, but overall, she concludes, it’s getting harder to lure tech talent away from from the digital natives.