Joey Tait

HeForShe: Joey Tait | Managing Director, develop

Joey Tait

develop is an award-winning software engineering recruitment business based in London, and working across the UK, German, and Miami markets.

develop partners with the world’s most innovative businesses, offering product-based solutions for both permanent and contract recruitment objectives. The business is a leading contributor to the software engineering community and focuses its effort across seven brands: develop .NET, develop Java, develop Python, develop PHP, develop JavaScript, develop Technology and develop Change.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve been in technology recruitment for around 15 years, and with that experience I set up develop in August 2020. We are a leading contributor to the software engineering community and a disruptive recruiter that takes special care to train our staff and technically test our candidates. I am the Managing Director, overseeing operations, marketing, finance and internal growth.

Working with my business partner, Kevin (Kevin Hammond – CEO) who I met in school, we’ve built the team to 50, growing through the pandemic, and I am passionate about developing staff, and creating a high-performance culture that everyone enjoys being a part of.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?  

Honestly, no. I started out working to my strengths, and added to my skillset as needed, as time went on. Being open to the idea of continually learning throughout my career has set me up for success and allowed me to adapt to different outcomes. That’s still the case, even more so now that my career is so intertwined with develop’s progression. The business drives my learning and vice versa; the two go hand in hand.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes, too many to mention, but that’s the nature of business – success doesn’t come without failure.

However, I now see challenges as part of the journey. Accepting that you’re going to have them enables you to have more clarity on how to get through those tough situations.

Our industry moves quickly and dwelling on failures will set you back. Learning from failure quickly and decisively will put you in a strong position to move everything forward, despite any perceived setback.

What has been your biggest achievement to date? 

Every year since develop opened has been rewarding in its own way, but 2021 to 2022 was our best year yet. We achieved almost 500 placements throughout the year, grew the team to a strong 50 headcount, and opened an office in Miami.

We’ve got an incredible platform to build on and we’re continually striving to create something really special, for our team and the people we partner with.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?   

I never stop learning. ​​Continuous education is important in any field, but especially in tech. It’s important to not get complacent. With so much changing all the time, you have to stay on top of your skills and knowledge.

That’s something we’ve ingrained into our business model at develop too. We pay for all our staff to learn how to code and give them the time to do it in work hours. Every new client and partnership that comes through our doors is an opportunity for the team to learn something new, and I think we’ve built an open and safe environment for them to do so.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?  

I’m a huge supporter of mentoring at every level. At every stage of my career, I’ve either been mentored, or mentored others. At develop, I make sure I take the time to sit down and work with our team, whether it’s their first week or they’re a seasoned consultant. Everyone can benefit from some one-on-one time with a mentor.

Early on in my career, I had some amazing people who helped guide me through my journey, helping shape me into the person I am today, both personally and professionally. I’d like to do the same for our team.

What can businesses/government/allies do to help diversity and inclusion?  

There are a few priorities that I think are key to supporting diversity and inclusion within a business. Understanding unconscious bias and its impact is one of the first steps. Practising what you preach sounds simple, but it’s often not the case. Implementing pay equity, having diverse teams and representation at all levels, and facilitating open conversations are just some of the ways businesses can help to reduce and eliminate biases.

We need to change our approach towards getting diverse talent involved by providing opportunities at all levels, starting early. One initiative I’m working on at the moment, in line with this, is donating STEM toys to local schools. By providing the tools for schools to educate their students at a young age, we can help level the playing field and hopefully even out the unfair split in male-dominated industries like tech. Young people need to be given the opportunity to explore all industries and find out what they are interested in without barriers.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace? 

Whether we recognise it or not, we are part of the problem. It’s our responsibility to do our part, be allies and support and push for change.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? 

Find what makes you tick and pursue it passionately.

Failure is just a stepping stone to success, don’t let it keep you down for long.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?  

The growth that Kevin and I have planned for the business over the next few years is really exciting and will in turn push me to achieve more personally. We’ve recently opened our first offices in America as we look to help drive the success of the tech market in Miami and are planning to open an office in Germany in the near future. We’ve made a great start in Miami, and we’re hoping to change the perception of recruiters/headhunters in that market. This growth should also see our team reach a headcount of 150 by 2025.

I hope that we can also change the way the industry works. We hold a powerful position in the creation of more diverse, equitable teams, so I hope we are able to make a difference there. By making sure that opportunities are offered equally and without bias or barriers, we can hopefully impact the wider industry.