Start-ups are all about untapped potential. Making better use of resources and technologies than everyone else around, convincing customers, or at least investors, and – lift off! Right now, there is one potential available, and increasingly so: talent.
Many of the best minds of a whole generation will be available soon. And they already know it. The job retention schemes that kicked in everywhere in Europe when the Corona lockdowns started keep lots of people employed and paid, just in case the old business returns after the crisis peaked. Though in many instances this may happen, in many others it won’t. So a part of the adaptation to the Next Normal is searching for new opportunities.
One anecdotal evidence by yours truly: Two weeks ago, we posted a job ad on our LinkedIn page; not our first one, and definitely not our last one. We are hiring as always. But this ad alone yielded some dozens of applications within 24 hours – and increased the number of our LinkedIn followers by more than 10%.
The power balance will shift towards companies.
And of course, more data is pointing in the same direction. The London-based start-up job platform Otta for example lately registered twice as many candidates as pre-Corona – and only half the number of new job openings. “The power balance will certainly shift towards companies”, Otta cofounder Sam Franklin told the FT-backed start-up magazine sifted.eu.
This development certainly is helpful for already existing start-ups that are on a growth trajectory (here is a list of those still hiring). But it could just as well be favourable for entirely new ones. Because from now on until the end of summer (at least!), whatever great, thrilling, mind-blowing, security-increasing, virality-decreasing idea comes along, it will be able to choose from a pool of highly qualified, highly motivated, highly whatsoever employees, entrepreneurs, people.
Whatever great idea comes along, it can choose from a pool of highly qualified and motivated people.
Sure, these ideas needn’t come from start-ups, they could come from somewhere else, too. From the government for example, as it happened in the USA almost a century ago. The economist John Kenneth Galbraith told the story in his memoirs: After Franklin D. Roosevelt had become US president during the Great Depression of the 1930s, he called everyone who wanted to help get the country out of the mud and into the future to “come to Washington D.C.” Like many other young and talented Americans, Galbraith went to D.C. – there was not much else to do anyway. So the US government got the best minds of a whole generation to work for it; and they took the USA into one of the best futures a country ever had.
So if the German (or European) government would call everyone who wants to get the country (or the continent) into the future to “come to Berlin” (or Brussels), a lot of people – and the right people – would follow. And in the great future that would be built after all these great minds were called, we all could live happily ever after.
At this point in writing, we paused for a moment and looked thoroughly at the pictures of Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen. And sighed. No, we should not hold our breath to wait for that Berlin or Brussels call to come.
So back to square 1: Untapped potential is all about start-ups.