There’s good reason for jobseeker optimism in Nottingham’s flourishing tech industry.
Despite Nottingham having the lowest employment rate in the UK at 58.6% in the ONS July bulletin, the Powerhouse City Growth tracker forecasts that the city will again lead the East Midlands for both GVA (the value of goods and services produced) and employment growth (the number of people in work) in the final quarter of 2018.
Meanwhile the number of new tech companies in the East Midlands rose 50% year on year in 2017, while the UK tech sector as a whole is growing 2.6% quicker than the rest of the UK economy.
As one of six UK Science Cities and home to two universities, Nottingham has enjoyed significant investment in recent years with an improved transport network, better leisure facilities and the arrival of end to end fibre broadband as a newly minted Gigabit City.
A thriving tech scene supported by networks such as Tech Nottingham and Women in Tech, homegrown start-up success stories, and global brands committing to the city, means there’s a real interest in Nottingham, which groups like Invest in Nottingham are working hard to capitalise on. If you’re currently looking for employment in the city, that’s good news: investment leads to growth, meaning more opportunities of higher quality.
Nottingham’s relatively low living costs and good housing affordability compared to other parts of the UK, a high quality of life, a high proportion of people under 30, and a very accessible city centre with a well-deserved reputation for nightlife and leisure, see it increasingly considered a great place to work for people entering employment.
The challenge facing employers in Nottingham is a lack of skilled workers to fill the 19,741 digital jobs currently available, according to TechNation. Therefore, there are real opportunities for people with tech skills to get a foot in the door and carve out a career for themselves.
Companies like Littlefish are at the forefront of generating new tech jobs in the city. The Nottingham 24/7 IT Managed Services Provider, which serves more than 35,000 people working at companies globally from its Stoney Street HQ, has built a formidable reputation for disrupting the IT industry with its focus on operational efficiency and service excellence.
Already supporting a wide variety of household name organisations such as vet charity PDSA, the Houses of Parliament, and retailer Signet Group (H Samuel and Ernest & Jones jewellers) to name a few, the company, which currently employs around 170 people, is frequently winning business from global IT outsourcers (affectionately referred to as the ‘usual suspects’).
Major recent contract wins have created over 50 new roles at Littlefish’s Nottingham head office and service centre. Renovation work is currently underway at its historic Lace Market home to increase capacity, for the second time in less than a year. Multiple IT Service Desk Engineers and Service Management Analysts are required to provide the company’s core IT support services, as well as IT Project Managers, and more senior IT management roles including Service Delivery Managers and Service Transition Managers.
The company recognises the challenge of being an attractive option to potential recruits with so many great employers in the city, and has worked hard to develop a people-first culture.
Managing Director Steve Robinson explained their goal:
“Our ambition is to be considered a real destination employer in Nottingham. We want to achieve the same levels of excitement and buzz that surrounded the arrival of Capital One in the city in the late 90s, and to compete with the big names in Nottingham as a company synonymous with providing fantastic career opportunities. In turn this will enable us to meet our organisational objectives, cutting through procurement apathy and disrupting the mid-market and enterprise managed IT services marketplace, by demonstrating that there is a genuine high quality proposition out there.”
“We’ve invested heavily in building up a great career development platform. The Littlefish [Training] Academy gives our employees access to industry leading training resources, providing the tools they need to achieve industry recognised qualifications and accreditations, increasing their knowledge and skills and rewarding them financially as they progress. It’s an exciting time to join us – our fantastic business performance is creating a number of new roles, and as we continue to grow it naturally opens progression pathways for ambitious team members.”
Littlefish offers the kind of employee benefits you’d expect from a progressive employer. Modern, vibrant office spaces in a converted historic Lace Market factory feature a breakout area with table tennis and gaming facilities, and employees enjoy a casual dress policy, adding to the relaxed atmosphere. It provides pension contributions, access to a comprehensive employee benefits platform, subsidised travel and cycle to work schemes. Employees also enjoy free refreshments, fresh fruit, pick n mix and pizza Friday’s, a Summer Family BBQ and regular company socials. It also continues to innovate in order to differentiate itself as a great employer.
Recognising the number of gamers within the company, Littlefish recently introduced gamification. A state of the art gamification platform has been integrated with live customer service metrics, and games are played within and between teams, focused on specific goals. The teams just finished playing a World Cup style competition. As well as introducing fun and healthy competition to drive customer service, individuals and teams are rewarded with prizes including vouchers and the latest gadgets.
Sales & Marketing Director Mark Petty helped develop the brand messaging around the people first, customer-centric culture that emanates from Littlefish. He explains the purpose behind the companies #PeopleMatter approach:
“We have set a very high bar in terms of the experience and service quality our customers’ people receive, but we are determined to continue driving our current world-class standards even higher. We’re at the leading edge of delivering the experience people deserve when they reach out for IT support. The impact exceptional service has on people’s lives should not be overlooked. We hear from our customers that their people are less stressed and more productive as a result of our services – which is a win-win situation.”
“We firmly believe that in order to deliver services that put our customers’ people first, we must put our own people first. Making our people feel valued, rewarding their successes, offering them a fantastic working environment and building an inclusive and vibrant culture, means they are happy. This naturally permeates into the service they deliver, enabling them to consistently deliver exceptional service. This happiness and energy is contagious and is felt by the people who we serve. We call our approach #PeopleMatter and we live by this mantra throughout the company.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the range of vacancies currently available at Littlefish visit our IT careers page.
This article first appeared in the East Midlands Metro newspaper.