techSPARK is super excited to be introducing our audience to our newest partner, iO Associates. To learn more about how the team strives to provide high quality recruitment; from developing a deep understanding of the sectors they specialise in, to nurturing genuine relationships with their clients, we caught up with Michael Collins, Director at iO Associates.

Read on for insights into how the talent market is evolving in these economic downturns, what the current trends within tech recruitment and where the name iO originated from.

techSPARK: Could you tell us a bit about iO Associates and what you guys do?

iO Associates: Essentially, we are a recruitment agency, but we do try and do things differently (I know, everyone says that!). We want to engage and immerse ourselves within the tech communities we work within.

We specialise in recruitment across Tech and Digital, iO Associates (part of Precision Resource Group – PRG) has extensive experience in recruiting the highest calibre of talent to create the products and infrastructure of the future. Our team comprises highly experienced and knowledgeable consultants who are dedicated to providing customised solutions.

We work closely with businesses to find the perfect fit for their needs, whether it’s for contract, interim, search, or permanent appointments. We offer comprehensive support throughout the entire process, including assisting with Statements of Work, determining IR35 status, and implementing full Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) models.

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it’s crucial for companies to have a recruitment partner who truly understands their industry. That’s why, at iO, we go the extra mile. We regularly organise iO Meetups and conferences in the tech and digital sector, collaborating closely with our clients to stay ahead of the curve and connect with top-notch candidates.

tS: Where does the name iO come from?

iO: There are a couple of opinions within the office of where our name comes from, and a few people claim to have come up with it.

Firstly, “iO” refers to Jupiter’s primary moon, which represents exploration, discovery, and the limitless possibilities of the universe. This association reflects our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is technologically achievable.

“iO” is also derived from the globally recognised symbol for “Input/Output.” This symbol represents the fundamental concept that every input in computing, technology, and the digital realm yields an output. We embrace this notion at iO, and work hard to ensure that our efforts deliver tangible results for our clients.

The name also has a visual representation that evokes a resemblance to the binary digital values of 1 and 0. This connection reflects our understanding and expertise in the digital realm, where we leverage technology to create innovative solutions.

I’d say now iO is synonymous with Bristol tech recruitment and the communities we work within.

tS: What differentiates iO Associates?

iO: First and foremost, our commitment to building lasting relationships is a cornerstone of our approach. We prioritise open and transparent communication, allowing us to truly understand the unique requirements and aspirations of both candidates and clients.

By fostering meaningful connections, we create a trusted and collaborative environment where the right talent finds the right opportunities. We genuinely want to build long last relationships and I’d say I’ve made some really good friends with some of the people I’ve worked with over the years.

I’m confident in saying, our industry expertise is genuinely unparalleled. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the tech sector, we possess comprehensive knowledge of the skills, trends, and dynamics that drive success in this ever-evolving field. We leverage this expertise to connect talented professionals with top-tier companies, ensuring optimal matches that benefit both candidates and clients.

tS: Tell us about the meetups you host. How can people get involved? What is the value?

iO: This is something very close to my heart and that makes me incredibly proud to work for iO. We have always been a very active members of multiple Meetup groups across the UK. We’re really keen to help keep our community positive and engaged hearing from the best speakers on a variety of topics.

Our meetups are a community with the aim of bringing together professionals nationwide through insightful and interesting talks.

iO actively runs our own range of successful meetups, Breakfast Briefings and attends industry events to ensure we are ahead of the game and understand market trends. Last year, we organised 82 events with over 5,000 attendees, partnering with our clients to share the latest cutting-edge technology and network with highly skilled candidates.  

iO Meetups include .Net (LondonThames ValleyNorth EastExeter,  South West and Cardiff ), Java (London & South West), DevSecOps (Bristol & London), Tableau South WestSoftware Development South WalesCheltenham & Gloucester Tech, and The Bristol Tech Symposium.

Check out the links above to see our upcoming events, or check our website: iO Events 

tS: Can you outline some of the current trends you’re seeing in tech recruitment?

iO: From my observations in the tech recruitment field, I’ve noticed some exciting trends that are shaping the way companies approach hiring and nurturing their talent. One significant shift revolves around the concept of work flexibility.

It’s refreshing to witness how many organisations have embraced a more hybrid model, acknowledging the value of adaptability in the workplace. This shift means that employees now have the freedom to balance their time between the office and remote work, based on their individual needs and the nature of their roles. It’s truly empowering to see companies prioritise their employees’ work-life balance and provide them with the flexibility they deserve.

Another trend that has caught my attention is the increasing focus on professional growth and development. Companies have realised that investing in their employees’ skills and knowledge is not only beneficial to their individual growth but also crucial for the organisation’s success.

Lastly, I’ve noticed a change in the dynamics of salary growth within the tech recruitment space. While salaries remain competitive and appealing, the rapid upward trajectory we’ve seen in the past has somewhat slowed down. This adjustment in salary growth seems to reflect a more holistic approach to employee compensation.

Companies now recognise that offering a supportive work environment, work-life balance, and opportunities for personal and professional development are just as important as a competitive salary. It’s encouraging to witness the industry shift its focus towards creating a well-rounded package that truly benefits employees.

tS: How is the current economic crisis impacting the talent market?

iO: The current economic crisis has undoubtedly had an impact on the talent market. The wave of big tech layoffs has understandably created a sense of unease within the tech industry. However, it’s important to remember that resilient and innovative companies will always find a way to thrive, regardless of the economic climate. The best tech talent tends to rise to the top, and their skills and expertise remain in high demand.

In response to the crisis, there seems to be a trend of consolidation within the talent market. Many companies, after receiving significant investments to expand their teams, are now focusing on stabilising and optimising their resources. This period of consolidation can be viewed as a natural progression rather than a downturn. It allows companies to re-evaluate their strategies and ensure a sustainable growth trajectory.

Despite the challenges, tech communities continue to flourish. With the world gradually opening up over the past year, in-person meetups, events, and conferences have made a powerful comeback. These gatherings serve as vibrant hubs for professionals to connect, collaborate, and exchange ideas face-to-face. The resurgence of in-person interactions adds a new dimension to networking and knowledge sharing, providing a refreshing break from the remote work era.

tS: iO Associates was founded in Bristol. Why the South West? 

The South West boasts a thriving tech scene that continues to flourish. With a rich ecosystem of innovative companies, start-ups, and tech hubs, the region offers a wealth of opportunities for both employers and job seekers in the tech industry. Bristol, in particular, has emerged as a prominent tech hub, known for its vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and forward-thinking mindset.

The South West’s geographical advantage plays a significant role in our decision. Situated between London and the technology hotspots of the South East and the Midlands, Bristol serves as a strategic location that enables us to cater to clients and candidates from a broader geographical reach. We are well-positioned to tap into talent pools not only in Bristol but also in nearby cities like Bath, Exeter, and Cardiff.

Beyond the geographical benefits, the South West offers a fantastic quality of life. With its beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture, and a strong sense of community, the region provides an attractive and desirable place to live and work. This appealing lifestyle factor contributes to our ability to attract top talent and foster a positive work-life balance for our team.

Lastly, our commitment to the South West reflects our dedication to supporting local businesses and nurturing regional growth. We take pride in being an active member of the tech community in Bristol and the surrounding areas, participating in local events, collaborating with industry partners, and contributing to the development of the regional tech ecosystem.

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.