A TALENT FOR INNOVATION
Where in the world is global innovation happening? Silicon Valley in San Francisco? Silicon Roundabout in East London? How about a growing research and development campus in rural Wiltshire? Dyson’s Malmesbury headquarters is growing, and the tech company is on the hunt for the brightest brains to join it.
Dyson first came to fame in 1993 for its super-suction, bagless vacuum cleaner – the DC01 – developed by James Dyson. It tackled the traditional bagged vacuum cleaner head-on and, within 18 months of its launch, it was the UK market leader. Twenty-four years on, the company’s transformation continues apace. Alongside vacuum-cleaner technology, it now has hand dryers that properly dry your hands, bladeless fans and purifiers that control your environment, and advanced LED lighting. Dyson employs 5,500 people globally, sells in more than 70 countries and invests £3 million per week in research and development, ploughing long-term investment into its core technologies such as batteries, motors, filtration systems, and robotic vision systems.
New technology, new talent
Inventive things happen at lightning pace. “We’re growing our in house expertise,” says Sarah Wallace, Graduate Talent Acquisition at Dyson. “We’re working with some of the best universities to research and develop ways to fundamentally change the way people interact with their technology and the performance it delivers.” Dyson is currently launching its largest range of new technology and is looking to recruit top graduates, along with pre-university entrants. These will include young engineers and scientists for its research, development and design teams, but also creative people for positions right across Dyson.
“Many roles involve working on products that are still in development,” says Wallace. “Our technology is at the core of everything we do, and a launch will bring together many different teams, from engineering to finance, from marketing to creative.”
If all this sounds appealing, add to the mix a growing technology campus in rural Wiltshire. “We don’t do things by halves,” says Wallace. “Our new café has a lightening jet suspended from the ceiling. That’s typical of Dyson’s approach of doing things differently – the building practically had to be built around the aircraft.” As well as a new multi-sport facility, other benefits include widespread car-pooling, as many employees travel to work from Bristol and Bath.
However, Dyson isn’t for everyone. Some misconstrue its environment as laid-back. “The rural setting is part of our heritage and James Dyson’s commitment to the area,” says Wallace. “People work very hard and, because everyone’s very good at what they do, there’s very little wasted time.” Those looking for a heavily structured, moderate work pace, meanwhile, can feel overwhelmed. “Some companies do graduate rotation programmes,” says Wallace. “If we tried to put a framework in place, we’d have to change halfway through the first year because things move so quickly here!”
Instead, Dyson gives its graduates exposure, training, freedom to develop their career and support from line management. “The focus on graduate recruitment here comes right from the top,” says Wallace. “It was with a small group of graduates that James Dyson launched his first vacuum cleaner, the DC01. Many of those same graduates are now in the company – they are some of our most senior leaders.”
As Dyson moves from being “a big small company” to being a global technology firm, further change and innovation undoubtedly lies ahead. However, some things will always remain at its core. “We’ll never be corporate,” says Wallace. “We’re about keeping Dyson Dyson, which means getting the best brains together and giving them responsibility from the off, letting them learn by doing – and making the odd mistake along the way.”