Is There a Tech Talent Gap in Northwest Arkansas?

December 26, 2016

Colleen Vaughan

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Northwest Arkansas is best known for being home to industry behemoths like Walmart, J.B. Hunt and Tyson. Collective Bias HQ also calls Northwest Arkansas home. What this region is not known for is being a tech talent incubator. Jennifer Joyner recently wrote an article for NWA Business Journal calling out the need for companies to step up in attracting better talent and resources to the region.

The article touches on the many problems NWA’s tech industry is currently facing. For one, our tech industry is incredibly young and many companies are reeling from a tech talent shortage. As Joyner puts it, “[i]t’s a reflection of a national trend, and projections show growth in the technology sector is not slowing down anytime soon. Where the region might differ from more tech-centric areas is in the experience gap.”

Some of the solutions in the article for minding the tech gap come from Collective Bias’ own SVP of Product, Ali Mirian.

“[T]oday there are great engineers without degrees and we shouldn’t ignore them,” Mirian said. “Tech startups like Collective Bias live and die by the talent they attract.” CB now has a team of over 30 data scientists and software engineers, a level of recruitment success that is not often seen in this region.

Promoting entrepreneurship in the area is one effective solution that Ali offers. “The key to getting talent here is to allow entrepreneurs to feed their ideas, and then the talent will come,” he said. Leading the efforts in providing a solid foundation for budding companies and entrepreneurs to grow is Fayetteville-based Startup Junkie Consulting. The global social venture has consulted with successful Arkansas companies like political startup Raise The Money, online wedding apparel renter Menguin, and measurement firm DataRank (who has since been bought by Simply Measured).

Head over to Northwest Arkansas Journal to read the rest of Joyner’s article.

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NW Arkansas is facing a gap in tech talent, despite several huge companies like Walmart and JB Hunt called Arkansas home. Ali Mirian, SVP of Product at Collective Bias, offers the idea of promoting entrepreneurship in this area as a means of growth and talent attraction.

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