People at the heart of our Portfolio

16th April 2020

Having the right people in place to grow your business is top of the agenda for the tech sector and for us at FPE Capital. Earlier this year we visited Cambridge Judge Business School with all of our portfolio businesses, where the focus was on ‘growing up and growing out’ through your workforce. The core of this year’s annual conference - recruiting, retaining and managing teams - is an indication of the critical importance of talent in the software and services sector where FPE is exclusively focused.

The global skills shortage is particularly acute in technology, and consulting firm Korn Ferry forecasts that there will be a tech labour-skills deficit of 4.2 million workers by 2030. This is against a backdrop of a more flexible world of work where more companies are open to non-permanent workers; Mercer’s Talent Trends study shows that 83% of HR Directors believe contingent and freelance talent will ‘substantially replace’ full time employees in tech roles.

A proactive approach to fast-track growth

In this environment it’s essential that companies with ambitions for high growth take a proactive stance on recruitment. We know from our own experience that having the right talent in place really helps to fast track growth and conversely, if a business doesn’t have people in place at the right time, it’s a major blocker to its progress. At FPE Capital, we pride ourselves on being able to supply that bench of talent and knowledge about the talent market so that our portfolio companies can hit the ground running by tapping into our insight and our network of relationships. But, we do it differently:

The FPE approach to talent

  1. We choose companies that share our philosophy. Companies that also believe in the value of investment in people. Our portfolio companies are not just from similar sub-sectors but also typically need support in terms of finance and often more importantly, their workforce.
  2. We understand what our portfolio companies need. Sector understanding is important. We also work collaboratively to seek out any gaps where bringing in new talent would fuel growth, but we allow businesses to make their own decisions. We want to support, and guide where needed, nothing more.
  3. We proactively cultivate a strong network of senior talent. We build great benches of leadership talent with whom we socialise and engage with on a continuous basis so that when we make an investment, we can introduce potential Chairs or CFOs if needed.
  4. We tap into more diverse sources of talent. We’re conscious that many companies in the technology industry have been ‘fishing from the same small pond for talent’ and we use a combination of research and tech to help clients identify traditionally underrepresented talent. For example, if we were asked about software developers in the UK, we know that there are 250,000 of which 74% are male. The top five locations for software developers are London (86,981), Manchester (13,341), Birmingham (9,047), Cambridge (8,136), Bristol (8,010). This type of data can help companies access more diverse talent.
  5. We offer ongoing support. This includes talent acquisition advice and technology that brings together workforce and workplace insights to help build talent pipelines so that businesses can plan how they will access the people they need to grow in line with their plans.

Great tech leaders change the way we work

At FPE we’re known for our portfolio of high-growth software and services businesses, but our biggest selling point is our people. We’re a knowledge-led organisation working in software/SaaS, media, connectivity, IT, HCM/ED tech and cybersecurity which believes that great tech leaders and teams can change the way we work and the way we live.

Alison Ettridge, Head of Talent, has been working with FPE to create a bench of Chairs and CFOs to hire into some newly acquired portfolio businesses and supporting existing businesses with talent acquisition. This year Alison is looking forward to continuing to build our network so that we’re primed and ready with great people at the point of our next investment.

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