Betfair seeks IT recruits with global ambitions

Online gambling firm Betfair is looking to hire nearly 100 technology employees and graduates across different areas of expertise. The company is now looking to recruit 80 to 90 people with expertise in areas including C#, C++, SQL Server and Java, as well as outsourcing consultants, quality assurance and internet security specialists.

Online gambling firm Betfair is looking to hire nearly 100 technology employees and graduates across different areas of expertise.

The company is now looking to recruit 80 to 90 people with expertise in areas including C#, C++, SQL Server and Java, as well as outsourcing consultants, quality assurance and internet security specialists.

Betfair is also seeking database administrators with experience in high-volume transactional systems. The company handled nine billion page views during the week of the World Cup. Previous experience in a betting exchange, while desirable, is not a specific requirement, so the roles could suit generalists.

Additionally, the company is building its user experience to simplify its "relatively complex" interface for new devices such as mobile phones. To that end, Betfair is looking to recruit roles including information analysts and designers.

The company is also looking to fill some leadership roles across the various areas of its technology function.

Betfair is also seeking to hire more graduates. It has already employed staff on a full-time basis following the completion of the first scheme, while the second intake has recently finished a 19-month programme and a new round of 10 graduates is due to start work soon.

"We pick the top students across the best universities and we had a great turn-out of really good quality people for the latest intake. In fact, we have to turn away some of them, which is why I want to expand the programme, keep these people and develop them," said chief technology officer at Betfair, Tony McAlister.

McAlister added that while he is looking to extend the reach of Betfair's graduate scheme beyond London and cover universities outside the capital, the plan is to look to other countries.

"I want to target not UK universities, but also institutions in Europe and Asia and the US. That is because I am globalising my [IT] organisation," he said.

"I have a development centre in San Francisco, so I can hire graduates from universities like Harvard and Stanford and get them to work in California, for example. I can do the same in London and Romania for anyone in the UK or Europe."

The IT chief talked about his intentions to hire abroad to mitigate IT skills shortages in the UK, as well as broader developments such as immigration caps. According to McAlister, it is no longer possible for companies to adopt a "nationalistic view" when it comes to recruiting.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be able to strengthen UK skills as I can pick from that pool of people and place them elsewhere. I want to do the same around the world," said McAlister.

"However, if a country is doing something to their policies or education system that limits skills development and the home-grown talent is not being provided, I will just open an office in another country and use those immigrants in their country or use another place I can move them to," he said.

"I am happy to move British talent around the globe and I will take some of my UK staff to the US to help with work around mobile. In the end of the day, we are a global company, looking for talent anywhere."

Click here to hear a podcast with Betfair CTO Tony McAlister on the firm's recruitment plans.

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