Explore the ScaleUp Annual Review 2022

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The importance for scaleups to be able to access, attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile talent has been vital for supporting their growth at home and abroad. 

Four  in ten scaleups in our annual review this year employ staff from the EU and three in ten scaleups employ staff from the rest of the world, with more than half (51%) intending to recruit from overseas. 

In the 2021 Kalifa Review, of which the ScaleUp Institute was pleased to be a part, foreign talent was shown to represent more than 40 per cent of the people employed by the UK fintech industry. In order to remain a global leader in fintech, the UK needs to strengthen its position on immigration or risk a significant shortage in human capital: 85% of fintech startups and scaling firms were willing to relocate outside of the UK in order to get talent. 

  • Roles Sought

From this years annual survey,  alongside a deep-dive study into our scaleups talent requirements conducted over the last year, we know scaleups are seeking international talent to fill a considerable and broad range of roles: from deep tech positions like quantum technology engineers, machine learning and AI experts to heavy goods vehicle drivers and hospitality staff, and from business development professionals and market access specialists to biomaterial engineers and bioinformaticians. One important aspect for many though is finding individuals with sector specific knowledge.

  • Countries recruiting from 

Many scaleup leaders are looking for the best people rather than at specific countries: their search is worldwide. The US and EU were the most common locations to seek talent but, as their international export ambitions grow in scope, they are also looking to emerging markets in eastern Europe, the Indian subcontinent and Australasia. Many seek these skills in international markets to bring talent to the UK but are also thinking strategically about their target markets for expansion.

  • The ScaleUp Visa 

A recommendation of the ScaleUp Institute since the Scale-up Visa launched this year after  much detailed work of the ScaleUp Institute with the Home Office and HMT. 

Scaleups that have achieved growth of 20% or more in either employment or turnover year-on-year for at least 3 years and employed a minimum of 10 people at the start of the 3 years will be eligible to sponsor talented individuals through the Scale-up Visa. It allows scaleup businesses to employ high-skilled individuals who will receive two years’ leave to remain in the UK without requiring further sponsorship or permission beyond the first six months. The salary offered has to be more than £33,000.

The Scale-up Visa lasts for two years and after six months of employment the individual can move to a new employer. It can be extended by three years and gives individuals a means to settle in the UK after five years.

The visa should help with the skills demands. The evidence that has been gathered over the years continues to prove vital as we progress and enhance the private and public sector support available to scaling businesses. 

The ScaleUp Institute will continue to work with the Government on how the Scale-up Visa service evolves, providing data and evidence to ensure the visa fully addresses scaling business needs and works effectively. It is vital for scaleup leaders, across all sectors, to recruit the expertise and skills that they need to increase their capacity to grow, to boost their innovation and productivity – and in turn keep contributing to the UK’s economy.

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