The tech industry is staring down the barrel of an urgent staffing issue. By 2026, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the deficit of software developers alone will eclipse 1.2 million. As demand for skilled workers continues to rise, companies with the deepest pockets and most cachet will have an enormous advantage.
Netflix is one of those companies. Moreover, it has wasted no time capitalizing on its current position in the marketplace. Last year, the streaming giant dethroned Google as the top tech employer — a win that many people attribute to its two-pronged strategy of employer branding and posting impressive starting salaries (ranging from $70,000 to $850,000).
Digging Into Netflix’s Problem
While it might sound appealing, Netflix’s branding strategy comes up short. But why?
Building an employer brand primarily around salary offerings is shallow.
It’s shallow because there’s no story there and certainly nothing to set you apart when competitors start offering similar compensation. Instead, Netflix (and other companies) should do the following things:
1. Consider the Quality vs. Quantity of Employees
To be sure, creating an employee-led podcast and offering higher wages will increase Netflix’s volume of applicants. After all, 75% of job seekers say they’re drawn to companies that actively manage their employer brand — and 80% of HR leaders agree that employer branding helps them attract talent.
But consider this: It already takes about 23 days longer to hire tech talent than to fill other roles. Now that Netflix recruiters are attracting just about everyone, they’ll have to wade through a tidal wave of applicants to find the most high-quality candidates. The result? Further extending the time it takes to hire and onboard top-tier talent.
2. Justify the Higher Salary
Getting people through the doors is only half of the equation. As I see it, Netflix failed to make the tangible link between its higher salaries and why it’s such a revered place to work. It also has not clarified what it takes to thrive as a Netflix employee from day one.
It’s about telling high-quality candidates, “Here’s what you need to be prepared to put into this organization in order to reap the benefits of the higher salary.”
Using this give-and-get approach, Netflix gets the message that it pays more in the marketplace while also setting workplace expectations that explain why only top-caliber talent will be chosen to receive those benefits.
3. Tell a More Compelling Story
There’s something beautiful about a cohesive culture where people strive for success and improvement together. That’s a story everyone likes to hear. Great business leaders can push their teams further than those teams thought possible because of their story and the purpose behind the journey they’re on.
Salary isn’t a compelling story on its own — and it might not even be the competitive advantage it once was. The average software developer’s salary has been trending upward for a while now. In May 2020, for example, the median annual salary was $110,140 for software developers, with the lowest 10% of workers making less than $65,210 and the highest 10% making more than $170,100. So companies are left with two choices:
- Outsource their tech work to Eastern European countries like Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Romania, which have enormous IT labor pools and cheaper rates.
- Pay their employees London, New York, or San Francisco prices to keep up with industry averages.
Yes, money will always be important. But when paying engineers and developers high salaries becomes the norm; job seekers will turn their attention to something more compelling and differentiating — such as the promise of playing a part in groundbreaking technological advancements. Unfortunately, Netflix isn’t telling those stories yet.
4. Position a Job at Netflix as a Career Catalyst
As a leader, you want to paint a picture that speaks to the purpose of your organization: how you’re disrupting the market; how you are stretching what’s possible; and how, if an employee sticks with your company, they’ll be set up for long-term success.
That’s the difference between an average developer taking a job for the money and a developer who’s passionate about their work and looking to be part of a company known for launching people toward career success. Unfortunately, Netflix has missed out on the opportunity to cement its reputation as a career catalyst rather than just an employer.
Where Does Netflix Go From Here?
Netflix is at a crossroads. Gone are the days of being the scrappy startup fighting its way to the top.
Netflix has already reached the realm of being a “massive corporate entity.”
So Netflix has become a gigantic corporate entity, and in the process, its employer branding became a lot more transactional: “Come work for us, and we will pay you a lot of money.”
This sterile employer brand story leaves Netflix wide open to competitors — namely, smaller startups with great ambition and the ability to galvanize high-quality candidates around a mission. As a result, the company can either adjust its outreach approach to emphasize tangible brand value or risk losing great talent to companies with more strategic hiring plans and a stronger employer brand.
Image Credit: thibault penn; unsplash; thank you!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!