While many of our competitors have pushed hard to open offices in the US, we have resisted that urge. We’ve focused most of our growth and investment nationally, with the successful emergence of CSR, Client Server’s regional team that services all of our clients outside of London. They have grown from strength to strength over the last three years, quadrupling revenues, working with new clients and covering locations from Edinburgh to Cornwall and everything in-between.
But bubbling away in the background has been our ambitions for Europe . Barely a year old, it’s starting to rumble.
I know it’s nothing new to recruit tech roles in Europe. For years companies have opened development centres and hired “near shore” teams, to help cope with the talent deficit and spiralling costs faced in the UK. But after the protracted and shambolic delivery of Brexit, I’ve always believed Europe would see the next proper boom in technology hubs.
Investment, start-ups, innovation and research centres already flourish on the continent, but with the devastating effect that COVID-19 has had, the desperate need for economic growth and the concerns around rising unemployment will, I hope, give it the shot in the arm it needs to jump to the next level.
The traditional attitude of European politicians has been less welcoming to new technology than in either the US or China (or the rest of fast-growing Asia). European governments, used to having a large role in Europe’s economic life, have tried to regulate and control the digital and technological economy, rather than standing back and allowing it to flourish like our friends across the Atlantic.
But with a desperate need of a steroid-like injection into the economy, I hope this archaic, post-war approach will change. Europe has always had a reluctance to embrace technology and the new digital era, in a large part due to historical scares and boundaries as well as the obvious divided marketplace, where there are different languages and cultures to consider.
I hope we take a leaf out of our American brethren’s cap who have a more free-wheeling capitalist approach to technology, where they have embraced the dynamic home-grown technology sector, allowing it to flourish, removing many operating constraints and having a refreshing openness to new customer services.
I think with the dawn of a new working landscape and the move towards more remote and WFH capabilities, there will be no “Europe” per say, but rather a collection of start-ups, software houses, innovation and research centres, popping up in cities across the continent - and not just capital cities either.
So while Europe might be a single market, it’s definitely not a single tech scene and opportunities will be plentiful and if you take a close look, you’ll quickly notice that there is interesting stuff happening in Europe one we want to be part of in a big way!