“I was very independent as a kid and always trying to find random ways to have adventures and make money,” Amy Golding said. The 36-year-old was born and raised in South East London with her two older sisters. Being the youngest child in her family, Amy always had a voice and was determined to stand out from the crowd.
After graduating from Cambridge with an English degree, Amy jetted to China to work as a journalist at a magazine. Taking her skills and knowledge, Amy then returned to the UK and worked in a consulting company. In 2014, Amy launched her own recruitment company and in three years built it into an operation with 130 employees boasting a £17 million turnover. The talented entrepreneur, who now lives in Notting Hill with her husband, then left to join talent consultancy Opus as their CEO.
However, she quickly noticed a gap in the market when it came to tech. Amy realised there was a shortage of women from different backgrounds in tech and knew that was a problem that needed to be addressed. That was when _nology was born. “I launched my first business almost by mistake. I know that’s a really irritating thing to say,” Amy said. “But I never had a big plan to start or run a business, and I certainly didn’t know what that business would do if I did. I think that’s a common misconception about entrepreneurs. That they were all born that way, with exciting, innovative business ideas coming to them in their sleep. But I’ve always been someone that throws myself into whatever I’m doing and spots opportunities as they arise.
“I was running Opus Talent Solutions, a tech and renewables recruitment business, and was frustrated by the huge shortage of talent in these critical markets, and especially diverse talent. So, it all started really with ‘how do we solve this problem?’ rather than ‘how do I start another business?’.”
_nology is a global tech training and talent hub that offers online software developer courses in a 12-week intensive programme. The fully-funded tech courses are aimed at people who want to switch careers in tech, focusing on bridging the skills gap and improving diversity in technology teams. Upon completing the course, candidates are equipped with the essential tech skills and soft skills to be ready for full-time employment in a tech role. Amy is determined to diversify the talent pool and remove the barriers and stigma around women in tech.
“It’s not a perception that tech is male-dominated, it is male-dominated,” Amy said. “About 83% in the UK. But there are actually many pathways in. A lot of the difficulty is in the rhetoric. There is a belief that to work in tech, you have to have studied computer science or have been heavily STEM-focused, which are traditionally subjects that are male-heavy. A lot of women, therefore, think that the pathway is already closed to them by the time they finish school. The reality is that there are so many roles in tech that are creative, logic-based, about teamwork and collaboration, innovation, design. Qualities that many women would bring a lot to.”
With a more diversified talent pool in tech, there will likely be better outcomes with innovation and problem-solving capabilities that could transform industries for the greater good, Amy said. She added: “Tech is no longer a side-line, it underpins most of the things we do, buy, interact with, and use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the current tech talent pool is only c.17% female. It’s very undiverse in other ways too, which we are also trying to tackle. But this means that the products being designed and built, aren’t representative of the whole population using them. A diverse talent pool means more creativity, more ways of thinking about a problem, and therefore, better outcomes and more innovation.”
Amy, who is now CEO of Opus Talent Solutions which has a £100million turnover, said she has had her fair share of obstacles along the way just like any other business owner. She explained: “There will always be normal business struggles, whether that’s the market, the product, customers, employees. No matter what the business and what the industry, these problems will crop up in different ways. I think the main struggle for me was working out how to deal with it all in a way that felt authentic to me, having not come up against these things before. I had a lot of experienced people around me, and a lot of good advice. And it’s really important to listen and use this experience. But I wasn’t always confident to go with my gut when the advice felt wrong. It’s not as though your ideas are necessarily better. And the advice might well be good. But you have to have a clear, consistent approach. Your belief, delivered with passion, will often be more successful than someone else’s delivered half-heartedly.”
Amy prides herself on her hardworking nature and optimism as the primary driving forces for her success. However, the 36-year-old had to learn to be comfortable with the ‘unknown’ as sometimes you never know how your career journey will turn out, with unexpected twists and turns along the way. “I’ve always been very determined, I’ve always worked very hard, and I’ve always been optimistic. So, I sort of thought that eventually, good things had to happen. But I never knew how, or when. Even in the middle of your journey, things can take totally unexpected turns. Sometimes the worst setbacks turn into the best opportunities and vice versa. The thing about choosing to run businesses rather than climb the career ladder is that you can’t expect it to be a linear journey and you have to be comfortable with a level of unknown.” In a few words of advice to SMEs who wish to rise to success, Amy said: “Be authentic to yourself in business. If it feels right in your heart, it’s probably not going to be far wrong. _nology is a great way to explore getting into tech if you’ve got no experience. It’s a good starting point to find out more.”