For Talent Month here at TechSPARK, we caught up with software development and digital transformation specialists, Amdaris, to get their thoughts on what the skills gap really means for the South West. 

The team has been growing exponentially in recent years, recording an average of 40% revenue growth per annum over the past five years, with a 55% increase in headcount over the last two years, totalling 450 employees worldwide. 

Co-founder and Co-CEO of Amdaris, Vlad Nanu summarises their ambition: “We want to become the biggest IT company in the South West.”

“Our vision was to be able to build really great software teams that encompassed great processes, design and usability,” adds Andy Rogers, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Amdaris.

Watch the full interview here

"We're believers that everybody should have a career, everybody should have a future, everybody should have an entry point and an exit point."

— Vlad Nanu, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Amdaris

A good problem to have

The topic of a national tech skills gap is nothing new, but the discussion has remained at the forefront of our community, especially when it comes to the lack of software developers. So, we wanted to see what the experts thought, and who better to ask than the founders of Bristol’s fastest growing software development company? 

Vlad outlines that the interesting thing about the skills gap is that it’s actually “an effect.” He explains, “The gap is driven by the rise in technology, which means there is actually lots of cool stuff in development on different levels.”

We can perceive the skills gap positively; the extensive deficit in the South West is a reflection on the hive of activity here. Vlad tells us, “If there are more tech activities in the inner region, which expands the tech talent deficit, it means there are also other roles that have to be filled.

“That gap is actually not necessarily only created in the tech sector, it’s created everywhere, and is driven by the tech sector. One way we’re dealing with that is by investing in all these surrounding roles.”

Amdaris is passionate about taking a holistic approach to face the skills gap. They’re working to achieve this by offering internships in a wide range of roles, whilst demonstrating that a career isn’t only a linear progression. 

Vlad says, “We started to help people to see their career opportunities not just going upwards, but actually left and right as well. We had success stories from when people will join in finance, for example, and then they will end up becoming a data scientist with all the support and investment we provide.” 

Vlad is assured that in the South West we are already harbouring the necessary attitudes to narrow the gap. He tells us, “There will be enough talent, right. We just need to be very creative and support each other. We don’t necessarily have to see the IT community as something localised, we have to see it as a globalised market.

“What I’m trying to say is that it’s a good problem to have. Now imagine if it was the other way around, where we would have 1000s of developers with no jobs. That’s even worse.

“Having this demand is actually fantastic news for the region and for Bristol, because we  see other regions that are underdeveloped in tech. So it’s actually the right balance. It has to be tilted towards the deficit. It shouldn’t be the other way around. And this is where Amdaris comes in and helps to close this gap with diverse expertise and developers.”

What about the short term for the skills gap?

Whilst the skills gap is a positive indicator of drive, investment and the ambitious intentions of the South West tech cluster, we’re still left with a shortage of essential talent to facilitate the type of growth we’ve set our sights on. 

Andy outlines, “In the short term, there’s obviously a problem. 

“What happens when there’s a short term problem, is it generally results in a switch to greater investment in grassroots programmes, as well as training and educating more young people into engineering.” Andy concludes that the shortage will inevitably lead to a slower trajectory of growth. 

“If you are going to build a team in a locality, like Bristol or anywhere in the South West, then there could be limits to your growth. I think people are realising that they’re not going to be able to build a big enough team,” he explains. 

“That’s where Vlad’s point about the global marketplace comes in, because, yes, you might, over a period of 5-10 years, see an increase in the overall numbers of engineers, etc, but that’s going to be too slow for a lot of projects. So, people have to start to think about what other ways we can creatively solve the shortage.”

A never ending story

From Amdaris’ point of view, it’s about monopolising on preexisting talent to ensure individuals can reach their full potential. 

He expands on the latter point, admitting that an exit point, “may sound counterintuitive, but for us, when somebody is head hunted by a big, massive corporation with a super big salary, it’s a success story.” 

Vlad tells us, “We see talent as a never ending story, we always have to develop talent.” He continues, “We’re believers that everybody should have a career, everybody should have a future, everybody should have an entry point and an exit point.”

This genuine investment into people’s lives has a rippling effect, which is simply demonstrated in Amdaris’ impressive repertoire of growth. Vlad tells us as employers they are thinking, “how do we make someone’s job fun, happy and healthy? We invest in everything from mental health, all the way to career progression.”

Andy agrees, emphasising that, “people have to invest in their businesses and the culture and the working environments, because ultimately, that’s what’s going to attract talent.”

As far as it goes, the South West is already acting as a pioneer for tech and digital innovation. Andy comments, “I really like the work that a lot of incubators are doing in the South West, and a lot of the investment from some of the big banks and other large corporations into the region have really helped, and that needs to carry on.”

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.