Yammer has said it has no plans to hire a UK mobile development team because such skills are so difficult to find in this country, despite a push from the firm to build its research and development operations in the country.
The enterprise social network, which was bought by Microsoft in June last year for £1.2bn, launched its European base in London's tech city in July 2011 and had started to grow its team of UK developers by the end of that year. Since the Microsoft acquisition, Yammer has sped up its recruitment drive both in the US and the UK for engineers to focus on the social network's development.
Matt Kauffman, Yammer UK director of engineering, was moved to London from the US in January to focus on expanding Yammer's UK development team.
"We haven't gone aggressively after mobile developers here because the contracting market is so hot at the moment for iOS and Android developers. They can charge such hefty contracting fees. What we would offer them in pay annually would not match up to their hourly rate," said Kauffman. "We have our mobile team mainly in the States right now, where the mobile developer skillset is in pretty equal demand to everything else."
Kauffman said he is actively recruiting for other types of UK developers, including user interface developers, Ruby on Rails developers, Java developers, as well as experienced product managers. However, he spoke of the difficulties in finding the right technical skills in the UK market; a problem that has been noted by the current government, which is overhauling the computing curriculum in schools to equip more students with competitive computer science skills.
"We are finding a pretty good talent pool in the UK, but it's not just like we post a job description and have people banging on our doors. Because we operate in Silicon Valley where the talent is really tight, we have optimised our recruitment process so we can find the right people. But we also have a strong brand. I can imagine for early stage startups, finding the right talent here would be difficult."
Kauffman also noted the difficulty in finding savvy product managers in the UK. "In the US product managers tend to do both technical and analytical work at the same time. A common profile is a person who has some background in engineering and software development, who then goes on to do an MBA in product management so they can understand the real cost of building stuff. These type of product managers probably exist here but they are lots easier to find in the States."
Kauffman said he hoped to expand the Yammer UK engineering team to 25 by the end of this summer. Recently Yammer spoke to V3 about its plans build out its location and mobile capabilities.
V3 is currently running a Make IT Better campaign to improve computing learning in schools and fix the skills crisis facing the IT industry.
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