Earlier this month, my Adzuna co-founder Doug Monro and myself were very excited (and honoured) to be invited to Number 10 Downing Street to meet with Rohan Silva, the PM’s Senior Policy Adviser & General Tech Ninja. We spent a good deal of time chatting to Rohan about the UK job market, how the government can better help startups like us and which government policies are preventing young, entrepreneurial companies from swinging for the fences in 2012.
It was an awesome experience hanging out at Number 10 – from going through security on Whitehall (the man with rubber glove was surprisingly gentle), to strolling along Downing Street and looking for the front door! Highlights of the day included: seeing young Florence (DC’s 2 year old) pushing a toy pram through the Number 10 reception area closely followed by her Nanny; craning our necks around corridors on the ground floor hoping to spot a Malcolm Tucker esq. character lambasting a junior intern; and, of course, meeting David Cameron, George Osbourne and Nick Clegg (it was one of those moments where I wished I went for a high five, but decided against it. #highfivefail)
Many thanks to Rohan who kindly gave us a tour of number 10 and spent a good hour with us chatting about startup life, what the government is up to & the state of the UK labour market.
So why were we invited?
1) Our Unique Data on the Job Market
Because we list every live job vacancy in the UK, Adzuna is fast becoming a leading indicator for labour market trends in Britain – and the government are starting to take notice. We have 500,000 unique, fresh job ads in our database at any one time and our unique technology and stats boffins make us able to ‘find the gold’ in these listings. For example, what’s happening to startup salaries around the country to the massive supply & demand imbalance in the engineering sector in Scotland. We believe Adzuna’s data (and ability to crunch the data) will be of massive value to the government going forward, as well as anyone else with an interest in what’s happening in the economy. We’re not allowed to say much about how we intend to collaborate, but trust me what the government is doing with our data is really cool – so watch this space!
2) This Government loves Start-ups
A few months ago when Larry Page and Sergey Brin visited Number 10, they said they wouldn’t have been able to launch Google in the UK because of all the red tape, bureaucracy and unnecessary legislation in place in Britain. That’s bad. The Tories know that’s bad, and with the deficit, record youth unemployment and shrinking GDP, they have to be seen to be doing something about getting Britain back to work. Adzuna has half a million job ads available right now, and startups more widely are job creators.
So Dave, George and friends are working on fixing issues like this by putting a real emphasis on data transparency within government & talking to start-ups like Adzuna & Songkick about what startups really need (not wanky offers from Startup Britain like 20% off Moo business cards, but concrete policy changes like entrepreneur tax breaks, grants, IPO markets and so on). I love the aspiration, but let’s see if they can deliver 🙂
Our intention is to provide the PM and government with up to the minute jobs and housing market data. The stats currently being used by the government come from the ONS, largely from employer surveys which are flawed and consistently 3 months out of date. The data we can provide – the same data we make available to our users for free! – will enable the government to keep their fingers on the pulse of the UK economy (instead of waiting 3 months and then making a decision). This data should influence policy and help the government make better decisions around education, training, budgeting, regional policies, housing and much much more. Simply put, we’ve got to train the right people with the right skills in the right places – and get Britain back to work!