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The technology startups that are hiring, firing and furloughing

Martin Cooper April 16, 2020

Hiring activity among technology startups in the UK has fallen almost one-third (31%) in the past month, with more than 25,000 vacancies lost, according to a joint report by job sites and

The study found more than 50% of tech companies have cut back on hiring staff in the past 30 days or frozen it altogether, with many furloughing staff en masse. With an average 38 applicants per position, the technology job market hasn’t been this competitive since the 2008 financial crisis.

The report analysed the top 100 startups and technology companies in the UK and compared hiring behaviour between January and April.

Airbnb, Google and Facebook have all scaled-back their hiring efforts in Europe, while fintechs such as Monzo and Starling, which have onboarded staff at a staggering pace during the past couple of years, are furloughing employees.

Proptech and transport

Other scaleups such as Habito, Treatwell and Carwow have frozen recruitment, a likely reflection of the challenges proptech and transport businesses face.

On the flip side, the analysis shows companies such Transferwise (45 live vacancies) and Revolut (324 live vacancies) continue to hire at normal levels, while subscription delivery services Gousto, Hellofresh and Oddbox are all scaling up efforts to bring on employees after a huge spike in demand during the lock-down.

Amazon (more than 1,000 live vacancies) and Deliveroo (more than 100) are also ramping up teams.

Hardest hit

Marketing, social media and IT sales jobs at tech companies have been hardest hit, with advertised vacancies dropping more than 60% month-on-month.

Engineering jobs, however, have weathered the storm to a certain extent, with hiring for C++, Java, Ruby and PHP developers down only 20%.

Unsurprisingly, tech companies operating in the hospitality and travel sectors have, in the majority of cases, paused recruitment for the foreseeable future.

‘London and the south east is suffering the biggest hiring slump but the sector remains bullish in Scotland, with more than 3,000 jobs still live’

The report also analysed the regional distribution of technology jobs by sector and job title to determine the best places to find a position.

London and the south east is suffering the biggest hiring slump – down 40% – but the sector remains bullish in Scotland, with more than 3,000 jobs still live and comparatively little overall decline (down 8%).

Click here for a ‘live’ list featuring more than 2,000 vacancies.

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Martin Cooper is a senior editor and writer at The Focus. The man behind the style guide comes from a newspaper and magazine background and has worked in the sports, aeronautical and hospitality industries. While head of production at The Argus he appeared on the Jeremy Vine radio show and worked as a freelancer on the sports desk at The Sunday Times. Martin is also an FA Level 1-qualified coach and took his youth team from division five to division one in two seasons before going out at the top.