Finding right talent: A major challenge for startups


Mid- and senior-level employees at startups are lured by MNCs with better salaries,  bigger brand tags and job security.

Finding the right talent is still a major concern for most startups. And even if they do find them, embracing the startup culture is the biggest issue for the selected candidates. Around 61 per cent of the respondents from start-up companies who participated in a survey by Athena, an executive search and consulting company, concur with this statement.

Around 44.4 per cent of the respondents are of the opinion that ensuring whether the right talent has the right skills is also a major challenge for startups. Close to 39 per cent of the respondents see stability concerns of prospective candidates as one the biggest deterrents to join a startup while close to 28 per cent of respondents feel budget constraints sway away right talent from startups.

The study further reveals that ‘people cost’ takes away a majority of the budget for a startup and on an average the figure stands at 67 per cent. For a start-up, the people act as directors, leaders, employees, managers, strategic thinkers—basically everything that a startup needs.

Only once the people front is sorted, can the company focus on strategic initiatives and technology infrastructure. And these two account for nearly 16.7 per cent and 14.7 per cent of the expenses incurred, respectively.

Startups, which participated in the survey stated that finding senior- and middle-level managers was a bigger challenge than finding junior-level managers. The reason being that mid- and senior- level employees are lured by MNCs with better salaries, bigger brand tags and job security. In addition, mid- and senior-level managers feel that professional growth is fuzzier in start-up organisations.

However, the encouraging fact is that almost 55 per cent of the startups witnessed candidates changing jobs to work with them. Regardless of the risk involved, professionals are eying startups for better career opportunities.


  1. Job change is a cyclical process. When one gets into an organisation, it is with wishful thinking of job enrichment,growth both of stature & money and potential career progression.The exit is mostly due to the above wishes remaining unfulfilled,lead by non-compatibility of organisational culture and teams.For start ups, the best they can offer is a conducive culture for sustained progression…a sense of feeling to every employee that he/she matters and can ‘make a difference’ in their arena of operation. For this to fructify within an organisation the founders have to be ‘open culture architecture’ …a rarirty and the most difficult virtue in enterpreneurs!

  2. Even candidates from IITs and BITs are looking at startups both for challenging roles and fat CTCs. It is now upto the startups to retain the talent either at entry, mid, senior level positions. They have to now focus on engaging the talent in different ways according to the culture of the firms.

  3. most start ups start with a host of resource constraints.And they are in a hurry to prove their innovation for want of valuations and finance to build the idea.
    Start ups are akin to VCs Some Win and Many loose.
    Talent is willing to take an affordable risk .
    Some Bay arae start ups indicate that they look for right cultural fit and give them time to scale up on teh skill.
    That has enhanced retention and Loyalty

  4. Article is good …..
    But it talks only about the out-come of Survey (Problem / Issues).

    I was expecting solution …… but I could not get.

    Can anyone suggest the solutions also ???

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