Real life at Austin Fraser (part one)

A lot of organisations talk the talk. But, at Austin Fraser, we also walk the walk. In other words, when we say life’s good at our business, it’s not just sales blurb – we’ve got facts and figures to prove it – and that’s why we’ve won ‘OpenCompany’ status from recruitment website, Glassdoor. We’re sharing this in a two-part blog, so you can get an insight about what life is like at Austin Fraser.
Let’s start with something fairly basic and fundamental: your pay.
If you compare us to similar businesses, you’ll find our salaries are pretty competitive. We keep an eye on the rest of the industry and review them regularly. What’s more, they come with a range of benefits that are the equivalent of up to 35% extra value on top of your pay.
And speaking of our international offices, there are seven in total – which you could transfer to thanks to our relocation package. You’ll find us in Reading, UK; Hamburg, Munich and Berlin, Germany; and Austin, Denver and Dallas in the USA. Excitingly, there are two more sites coming soon: San Diego (October 2019) and LA (2020). Each site is in a great location in the heart of the city. Go inside, and you’ll find an attractive, modern environment, with great facilities. We’re talking open spaces for collaboration and state of the art tech with dedicated break-out zones. Everything you need to excel and achieve on your terms.

Working remotely is also a reality, thanks to our hi-spec technology. Everyone has a MacBook, whatever their level of seniority. We’re always looking at ways to improve the kit we provide too. As tech evolves, we’re investing in new developments that benefit our staff. 
However, there’s no point in helping people perform at their best if there’s no way for them to progress. We take your development as seriously as you do and make sure you know how you can advance. That’s why our career paths are as clear-cut and transparent as they get. You can see how your role can evolve – and how much you can earn – right from your very first day. Plus, we’ll make sure you have the Learning & Development to build your skills so you can get yourself promoted. This is an aspect of life at Austin Fraser that stands out in the industry. We believe in giving people the support to get where they want along with the freedom to plan their journey. Our end to end training includes modules for new starters, managers and senior managers. What’s more, learning is simply a part of our culture, so it’s considered perfectly normal to take time out for training.
So that’s the important, practical stuff. But life here is about so much more than that. Stay tuned for the second part of this blog, where we’ll tell you why people like working here so much – the warm and fuzzy stuff!

Managing Quality at Scale in the Age of Digital Transformation: three top tech minds reveal all at Leaders in Tech | Denver.

Leaders in Tech was designed to give senior industry figures the chance to explore the latest tech thinking among their peers. Denver’s second Leaders in Tech event didn’t disappoint. The event featured three distinguished guest speakers who each gave their take on Managing Quality at Scale in the Age of Digital Transformation. First up was Angus Robertson, CMO at Axcient. 
Angus’s topic was Creating a Product and Distribution Flywheel. He explained how his company created sales momentum by taking a different approach to the buyer journey. By identifying customers’ friction and engagement points, and getting the Product team involved, he and his team were able to constantly refine the buyer experience, creating products which customers loved and recommended. Having a full understanding of a changing product market meant Axcient could adapt and continue to provide quality at scale.

Next, was Dave Hanna, VP of Technology at Oppenheimer Funds. His specialist subject was a ‘Paint by Numbers’ Approach to Digital Transformation. Dave described a technique of creating a ‘tech template’ for a business, which can then be filled through a series of logical, consultative steps – to create a masterpiece!
 
Finally, Netflix’s Director of Engineering, Brian Buege, took the floor. The title of his talk was The Last 10-Feet; the Netflix Approach to Managing Quality at Scale. Brian described how a business such as Netflix – which has 150 million subscribers and accounts for 15% of internet traffic – actually works. He also explained how Netflix achieves quality by “assuming everything is always going to break”. With that in mind, Netflix has ‘Chaos Engineering’, whose job it is to break everything during production – which is how Netflix make sure all its systems are as resilient as possible. That was just one aspect of a complex operation, which delivers around 90 terabits per second.  

Along with some fascinating tech insight, our leaders enjoyed great food and refreshments, plus the chance to catch up with Denver’s tech community. We can’t wait to do it all again, so keep an eye on our site for details! 
Leaders in Tech is a chance to connect with fellow technology leaders from both new and established innovative businesses, share best practice, discuss up-and-coming advances and generally connect with like-minded individuals. 

Is the role of CTO broken?

Are the financial benefits of becoming a tech contractor upsetting the traditional career progression and creating a shortage at the top?
This challenging question has prompted numerous conversations within our Leaders in Tech communities.
When we ask this question of engineers  –  particularly those with more experience in smaller companies  – they imagine a sort of ‘super Tech Lead’: a very senior engineer who is going to lead the technical direction of an organisation.
So what exactly does a CTO do all day?
Answers to that question from current CTOs have included:

Working with commercial stakeholders (CEO, board, investors), to identify the commercial roadmap over ‘x’ months.
Working with product owners and business analysts to develop a realistic product roadmap that supports the commercial roadmap.
Identifying a tech roadmap aligned with product and commercial roadmaps.
Negotiating when you realise the commercial or product roadmaps are unrealistic because of technical constraints. Note: negotiate, not “tell others it can’t be done”. Negotiation skills are critical.
Figuring out how to structure teams, line reporting, process and cadence within the technical team.
Getting the balance between feature development, BAU and technical debt/bug quashing right for the commercial and product culture within the business.
Keeping up to date with changes in law that have impact on technical roadmaps.
Preparation and negotiation of budgets to be spent on tech staff – salary budgets often have to be treated differently to others.
Preparation and negotiation of budgets around technical operations such as hardware, service fees (data centre, cloud, etc.), software licensing, patent licensing where appropriate, etc.
Validating all of the above with senior management and board members, mostly using the language they are most fluent in: finance. You will spend a lot of time building spreadsheets and slide decks, and you’ll ideally need to do basic interpretation of a balance sheet to keep up.
Communicating the above with shareholders and future investors whilst giving yourself enough margin to not get fired if it doesn’t pan out.
Setting cultural tone for the technical team. All of the below contribute to that, but ultimately you are going to set the example. The kind of behaviour you choose to reward is what the team will eventually value.

Notice, there isn’t much engineering going on here. Depending on what’s going on within your company, it’s unlikely you’re going to be spending too much time working on product, and it’s worth expanding on that:
In very small companies, you are going to have to work on the product directly. In larger companies you won’t have time to work on the product directly.
Leaders in Tech | Berlin
Join us on Thursday 18th October for the next instalment of Leaders in Tech | Berlin, a community for CTOs, CIOs, VPs, Heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to get together and discuss current tech trends.

Jason Franklin-Stokes – interim CTO with 30 years of successfully creating, building and growing technology start-ups in Germany, France, UK and US – will be discussing why the CTO role is dead! (or at least dying out). Are businesses demanding faster time to markets and user centricity? Is this shifting a focus from Tech to Product. Why do companies need a CTO? Or even a head of IT? If the CPO is the role that everything rotates around then surely the CTO is dead?
If you are a senior level technology leader, this is an opportunity for you to meet with fellow technology leaders from established and/or innovative businesses. To share in best practises, discuss up and coming advances in technology/methodologies & generally connect with like minded individuals with similar interests/challenges.

16th in the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018

16th place in the Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018
We did it! We placed 16th in Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018 and we’re super proud of our placing. Being recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Austin means so much to us.
 
We are so proud of every team member for helping make this happen! When you work with great people around you, you can achieve extraordinary things.
 
It’s our third year being a finalist in this prestigious award and since last year’s nomination, we’ve become even better at listening to our people. We’re committed to creating exciting and rewarding career opportunities and building closer relationships with the communities we operate in.

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200

Austin Fraser secures top 20 ranking in Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200
Celebrations are set to take place across all Austin Fraser offices, following our second consecutive placement in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. 2018 sees us come in at 20th in the ninth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, which ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.
 
Growing our international presence
How have we achieved this? In the qualifying two year period, we’ve seen exponential international growth, with revenue rocketing up over 115%. Global locations have doubled in the past 18 months, too, opening offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas. And we have more ambitious plans for Europe and the US in place.
 
Strategic leadership
As many of you will have seen in the media, earlier this year, we announced a significantly expanded leadership team, with the aim to propel Austin Fraser’s organisation’s global growth. At the same time, the business has been developing deeper relationships across our specialist sectors across Technology, Automation, Aviation and Life Sciences industries
 
Strengthening our culture
International growth comes with its own set of challenges. So we were delighted to see other regional players like the Bullit Group and Westcoast in the league table.
We’re a people-led business to our core and have nurtured a culture that supports, fosters and rewards success. As a recruitment partner, our teams are genuinely motivated by a core desire to ensure both our clients’ and candidates’ success. We couldn’t be prouder of every team member for making this happen and look forward to celebrating and thanking everyone in person.

Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018

Austin Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2018
 
Hey y’all! We’re so excited to announce we’ve been recognized as a finalist for Austin Business Journal’s Best Place to Work for 2018!.
Our Finalist placing acknowledges that we go the extra mile for our teams.
 
Being recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Austin is so exciting for us and is credit to our culture and belief that our people are at the heart of our business.
 
Our success is creating a truly inspirational environment for our teams to work in every day. Our offices are designed to encourage collaboration and innovation in the way our team’s approach their work, allowing our dynamic workforce the space they need to be brilliant.
 
We offer an exclusive incentives package to motivate and make sure our people love what they do. We never leave out the fun stuff, with our buzzing calendar of social events everyone can get involved! This is what creates a great place to work and progress, and together helps shape our Austin Fraser DNA.
 
It’s our third year being nominated for this prestigious award and since last year’s nomination, we’ve become even better at listening to our people. We’re committed to improving internal career pathways, building closer relationships in our communities and with our clients, we hope to smash our previous 6th place ranking and come out on top this year.
 
We’ll keep you posted on where we’re ranked when the finalists’ placements are revealed on June 22nd!

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence
We’re delighted to announce our next new office opening in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for October 2018. This move will anchor Austin Fraser deeper in the US market, hot on the heels of our award-winning Austin, Texas office and Denver, at the start of the year.
We’d also like to congratulate Dallas team lead, Alina Brovko, who will relocate from Munich to build the new Dallas team and roll-out our growth plans.  Alina is a brilliant example of the career pathways available at Austin Fraser and our strong ethos of fostering talent from within.
 
How we evolve on the ground
As the fourth biggest technology market in the US, outside New York, LA and Chicago, and a concentration of established Austin Fraser clients located in the city, Dallas was the obvious choice for our third US office. With its flourishing start-up ecosystem of incubators, tech meet-ups and a strong Fortune 500 presence, it holds real potential for Austin Fraser. With our Austin team just three hours away too, it will allow for deeper collaboration, ensuring our networks and talent pools are harnessed for client success.
As with previous locations, it’s important to us that we are embedded in the local community. Our approach is about adapting and integrating, while staying true to our Austin Fraser DNA. We invest heavily in communities, creating longer-term relationships while developing an exceptional pool as well as new career opportunities internally.
 
International growth
This past 18 months has seen Austin Fraser double our global locations, with offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas.  We scale our international teams with home-grown talent, while building a strong local talent pipeline.
As Alina explains “We’re seeing a lot of our clients with hubs across the US so for this market, it makes sense for us to support as many of those as we can, as we extend Austin Fraser’s presence.  Our business is about how we can help our clients grow. Being on hand, to build real connections and relationships really means that we can specialise as well as play an active part in the tech community here.”
Further expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US are in place and we’ll look forward to sharing these later this year.

Meet AF’s new German Tech Director, Ashley Dunbar

Meet AF’s new German Tech Director
We’re very proud to announce that Ashley Dunbar is our new German Technology Director. He’s been with the company over nine years and was promoted in February earlier this year to UK Technology Director. His wealth of experience in the Technology sector will help us deliver a first class service to our clients and candidates, as well as driving the growth and development of our teams.
 
“Continually developing my skills and taking on new challenges is something I relish so when the opportunity arose to gain international experience I knew it was the right move for me”, says Ashley Dunbar, German Technology Director. “Having built up the UK Technology business I was confident I had the knowledge and track record to take German Technology to the next level. I’m a few weeks into my role and I’m really impressed with all my new colleagues and believe the opportunity here is vast and the future really excites me. The vision for our German business is what initially enticed me. Making it a reality by moving into new territories and truly delivering performances which have a global impact is why I’m here.”
 
“None of this would have happened without my family who have supported me every step of the way. For all of us, relocating to Germany and a great city like Munich is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we couldn’t let pass us by.”
 
Pete Hart, CEO comments, “Ash’s ambition has always been evident, so it is was no surprise when he put himself forward for international opportunities. Relocating his family to Munich is yet again evidence of his commitment to Austin Fraser.”
 
We are confident that Ashley will thrive in his new role, and we’d like you to join us in wishing him the best of luck on this adventure as he relocates to Munich with his family.

Opening the doors to our new space at Lenbachplatz

Opening the doors to our new space at Lenbachplatz
Back in March, we announced that we had secured a new, premium office space right in the centre of Munich. And now, after months of hard work, we have moved in. From Monday 4th December, we will be based at Lenbachplatz 1, one of the most sought-after addresses in Munich. Lenbachplatz is a prime location with great local transport connections, and the nearby Kaufinger Straße offers a wealth of restaurants, bars, gyms, shops and other social activities
 
This year has seen Austin Fraser open the door to six new offices across the world, all of which enable us to deliver an even better service to our candidates and clients, and Munich is no exception. This modern office space will enable us to increase our current employee count by over double!
 
“We’re very excited to upgrade our offices and relocate into a premium office space in a super location in the heart of Munich. We have have collaborated with various design and build teams to bring our ideas to life, creating a truly inspirational workspace for our team to work in every day. This space was brought to life as soon as our team walked through the door. Austin Fraser has grown rapidly in the 5 years we’ve been in Munich and now we have the platform to continue this growth and create opportunities.” Ashley Dunbar, Director Germany.
 
We have created a range of modern meeting areas and social spaces, plus an even better training facility, which will encourage even more collaboration throughout the team. These state of the art facilities will also be available to both our clients and candidates to use as their second recruitment home; another extension of our full package service. We’re committed to helping our clients achieve their business objectives and combating the shortage of exceptional tech talent in the German tech market.
 
To showcase the new office and share the space with our clients and candidates, we have organised a number of open days over the coming weeks. If you would like to join us and work alongside the team for the day, just drop us an email at [email protected].
 
 

Five ways the GDPR will impact your tech business

 
Leaders in Tech is a group of managers and thought leaders who regularly get together to discuss current tech trends, share knowledge, learn new things and network. Our final Munich event of 2017 will be held on Wednesday 6th December in our brand new office at Lenbachplatz 1.
 
The topic this time will be all things security and data protection, including an overview of the upcoming GDPR, which will come into force on 25th May 2018.
 
This change in regulation could have any number of implications for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Tortsen Rammelmann from Solvectio GmbH will give us a more in-depth insight into the changes and their respective ramifications on 6th December, but for now, we have put together a summary of the issues we have become aware of at Austin Fraser, as we ourselves prepare for 25th May.
 
Five ways the GDPR will impact your tech business
1. Consent
The Regulation has maintained the current definition of ‘unambiguous’ as the legal basis for consent for processing non-sensitive data. However; the new rules mean that businesses that gather users’ data for a specific purpose will not be allowed to transfer or share this data for a different purpose without the user’s explicit consent. This could inhibit the ability of businesses to innovate with existing data. Explicit consent will also be required for the processing of sensitive data.

A consequence of the new legislation is that businesses will need to seek consent (unambiguous or explicit) more often from customers. A concern about this is that it could lead to ‘consent fatigue’ and the kind of ‘meaningless consent’ people provide when they click away cookie reminders on websites. The implementation phase will need to look closely at how practical consent requirements will be for emerging technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), which are not web-based and have no obvious user interfaces.
 
2. New liabilities and obligations for data processors
A significant change in the new rules is that data controllers and processors will be jointly liable for any breach of the Regulation.

Joint liability will extend responsibility beyond the companies that collect and use personal data. Cloud-providers, data centres and processors will now be liable for data held on their services. Given that data processors will have little visibility over whether the data collected by data controllers are compliant with the new Regulation, managing the legal implications of this requirement within contracts between controllers and processors will be difficult and potentially costly. This means that customers, particularly SMEs, will be faced with higher costs. Consumers will also be faced with a complex legal environment with less clarity around who is liable in the case of data breaches. National data protection authorities will need to work closely with industry to develop best practice model contracts to help streamline compliance with joint liability requirements as much as possible.
 
3. Restrictions on the use of ‘legitimate interest’ as legal basis to process data 
Many companies currently rely on the legal concept of ‘legitimate interest’ as a legal basis to lawfully process personal data. The new rules restrict the instances where legitimate interest can be used as a legal basis for processing. Companies will have to ensure that any data processed under this legal base is compliant with the now more restricted requirements and reflect member state law. Legitimate interest is a key enabler of the digital economy and underpins a company’s ability to combat cybercrime and fraudulent activity. Restrictions on its use as a basis for data processing could prove problematic for many businesses.
 
4. New restrictions on the use of profiling to support products and services
Many companies rely on profiling and automated decision making based on profiles, to develop cost-effective real-time personalised services that benefit customers. The new Regulation will limit the use of profiling in circumstances where its use may lead to ‘legal effects’ and could mean that companies offering financial services, for example, are unable to use fully automated profiling, without some form of human review. Automated profiling will be allowed in certain circumstances such as fraud detection and public services, or where provided for in national law.

The new rules could be problematic for many FinTech companies as it will make it more difficult for companies to offer some personalised financial and insurance services to consumers. It could also make it harder for companies to detect and prevent fraudulent activity, which cannot feasibly be done manually.
 
5. Innovation and further processing
In a digital economy, innovation depends upon the ability to use existing data to see and understand the world differently. The new Regulation imposes stricter limits on such further processing which will make it more difficult for many organisations to drive innovation.

There are differences of interpretation about the precise meaning of this Article and how it impacts the ability of companies to develop new innovative services based on existing data. However, given the severity of fines that could be imposed if companies are found to be in breach of the Regulation, legal certainty will be essential for unlocking innovation.
 
If you would like to find out more about GDPR and the impacts on your business then join us for the final Leaders in Tech event of the year on the 6th December by signing up here.
Here is what you can expect from the night:

19:00 Arrive

19:00 – 19:30 Networking and Glühwein

19:30 – 19:45 Security Testing – A presentation by Jürgen Unterreitmayer

19:45 – 20:00 GDPR an Overview – Torsten Rammelmann

20:00 – 20:15 Live Hacker Demo

20:15 – 20:30 Q&A, Discussion

20:30 – 21:00 Networking

What a fantastic year it has been for Leaders in Tech. Our thriving community in Munich now has over 450 members, together we’ve discussed developments in IoT, Agile, and the Digital Revolution, with some fantastic speakers whilst gin tasting, BBQing on the roof terrace, and celebrating Oktoberfest. Off the back of our success in Munich we have now also launched Leaders in Tech in Berlin, Stuttgart and Reading, UK, and have plans to further expand.
Find your nearest Leaders in Tech Meetup and join the community here.
 
 

WeWork Berlin coworking space

We are expanding our presence in Berlin

 We are expanding our presence in Berlin
We are excited to announce that our Berlin team has moved to a new location in Ku’Damm.  We spent the past year in a building less than a mile away from our new location – our old office served us well, and we made great memories there, but we couldn’t be more excited about our new space.
 
We are pleased to occupy a vast, open-plan office within the WeWork Ku’Damm complex, a modern masterpiece of co-working space spanning six floors of industrial design heaven, located in the heart of Berlin. We’re excited about the hustle and bustle happening outside our windows and all of the great bars and restaurants within an easy walking distance of the new location.
 
While we were happy with our previous space, when we first moved in there were only 3 of us who had relocated from Munich so, we had plenty of room. Now that the team has tripled in size, it’s safe to say space was getting tight. The new office offered more square-footage, but more importantly, it allowed us to rethink our layout. We were able to start from scratch by knocking down walls and putting up others that better fit our team and how we’re growing. Overall, we now have more of an open plan so we’re all working closer together.
 
It has been an exciting ten years for Austin Fraser, and we look at this new location as the start of another chapter in our history. We’re still working on getting settled in and adding artwork to the walls, but we’re incredibly excited to be in the new space. We’ll be hosting a welcome party soon, so if you’re in the area, feel free to stop in and say ‘Hi!’
 
The new address is:
Austin Fraser GmbH
c/o WeWork Kurfürstendamm
11 10719
Berlin

The launch of all:in Denver, a community that actively promotes diversity in the workplace!

The launch of all:in Denver, a community that actively promotes diversity in the workplace! 
We are passionate about helping businesses and individuals grow by connecting them with relevant communities for sharing, learning, attracting talent and finding jobs.
 
All:in Denver is an inclusive community, promoting the benefits of diversity in workplaces by actively providing research and insight, and inspiring action.
 
Spearheading this launch is our Denver Lead, Oliver Wood and his team: “I’m very passionate about this project, having worked in the staffing industry for close to a decade, I have experienced first hand how important workplace diversity is. It’s incredibly enriching for both the companies who encourage it and the work they produce.”
 
We’re launching the inaugural all:in event in Denver, Colorado but have aspirations for the community to establish a global presence. We’ve partnered with Denver-based business leaders to create a board of stakeholders, so our decisions truly reflect the needs of local organizations. We’re working hard to provide our community with exclusive research and insight to promote change, as well as provide our members with a platform to share their ideas and experiences.
 
So, to kick off our first event we’re hosting a panel discussion on diversity in the workplace followed by an audience Q&A session with some of the leading diversity and CSR specialists in Colorado. We’d love you to get involved so we’ll provide you with loads of opportunities to have your say and really shape the course of the night.
 
Here’s what else you can expect:
 
4:30 – 5:20 Sign in, grab a drink and find someone interesting to talk to!

5:20 – 5:30 Introduction: The who, what, where & when of All:in

5:30 – 6:10 Panel discussion

6:10 – 6:30 Audience Q&A

6:30 – 7:00 Drinks & networking
 
To save your spot and join in the conversation, sign up here! 
We’d also like to thank Arrow Electronics, Colorado’s largest company, for hosting the event in their Innovators Club, a creative space in their Denver-area headquarters office designed to inspire guests and add a touch of ingenuity to any event.