Return of the Blue Chip?

February 16, 2023
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Written by:
Ben Elliott

The world works in cycles. Back in 2005, the holy grail of employers that many could only dream of working for was a suited and booted Goldman Sachs. For the past decade or so, that place has been taken by the t-shirt and jean wearing FAANG’s (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google). High-paying tech roles in quick paced start-ups that were both disrupting industries and shaping careers in quick fire speed like never before.  As we enter 2023, with mass redundancies at the likes of Meta, Slack and Twitter and the stacks of cash available to would-be founders dwindling, could the security of a blue chip* make a comeback and become desirable once more? If so, what could big business do to tempt some of the hottest talent in Product and Design away from the start-up world?

Show a good design and product-led culture

Product-people and designers have had to fight tooth and nail to elevate their discipline’s influence, and companies that publicly display their design and product talent are standing out. Seeing a company’s Head of Design or Chief Product Officer speaking at industry events or being sought out and quoted sends a strong signal that product and design have a seat at the table within that business. Building a strong culture doesn’t happen overnight but showing your commitment to being on that journey will go a long way to attracting design and product talent. What about if you don’t have a good design or product culture yet? Then just be honest about it. You’re way better off looking for people who thrive on the chance to change mindsets than mislead someone who thinks they are about to join Spotify 2.0.

Shout about what sets you apart

While start-ups have been the go-to sector for ambitious product and design people these last few years there has still been a heap of things that people haven’t been happy about within these companies.  A few things come to mind. Team Size? If you are a big corporate, the chances are you have more than one designer or product manager. People want to be part of a team they can learn from and grow with. Benefits? They pretty much don’t exist beyond the bare minimum at most start-ups, certainly when it comes to pension so it’s important that companies learn how to sell their benefits package – it’s usually way clearer and more beneficial than what’s on offer at start-ups. Good working practices? Most start-ups are hustling just to get by and require a lot from their employees. If you have processes, practices and a good work culture that provides good home v work life balance then let people know. These are just three examples but there is no point in trying to beat start-ups at their own game, think about what makes your design or product team great to work for and shout about it from the rooftops.

Make your compensation as competitive as possible

Every margin-based business owner knows it’s impossible to compete with a business that has just closed a multi-million-dollar funding round and doesn’t have to worry about the bottom line. However, that being said, the salaries that are being offered by start-up’s can’t be ignored and there is no point in taking the ‘if they want to work for us, they’ll take a pay drop’ attitude as it just closes you off to great talent that, like most of us, have bills to pay and don’t have the luxury to sacrifice their base salary. That’s not to say you must match what Amazon pay their product designers, but it does mean if your salary bandings are still what they were in 2019 then you are going to struggle to attract some of the excellent talent looking for more secure employment.

If there is anything you think we have missed or should add to our list then please let us know at

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