Why Sky Betting & Gaming is seeing its staff poached by London tech firms

Tech giant Sky Betting & Gaming is seeing some of its top talent being poached by London-based rivals, the chief executive of its parent company has revealed.

Conor Grant inset, CEO of the Flutter Group’s UK and Ireland division, which includes Sky Bet, told The Yorkshire Post the issue of tech firms in the capital offering London wages and full remote working to its Yorkshire staffers was a “live threat” to the business and that it was putting in place as much flexible working practices as possible to keep its 1,700 workforce content.

Mr Grant added that Sky Bet currently had more than 300 vacancies and that it expected to launch its new head office in Leeds in September.

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He said: “We have worked really hard over the last six or seven years to build a culture and an identity for this business, particularly as a tech business. That has reaped huge benefits for the business. But we have a threat to it and we now need to look at how we can tackle this.

Flutter Group's CEO for the UK and Ireland Conor Grant.

“It is something definitely that we are concerned about. But for us Leeds is going to continue to be a huge destination for us. It is a flagship for the UK. We have got to be creative about how we meet the needs of our current employees and prospective employees.

“There is a very live threat to us and we need to be mindful of it.”

Sky Bet is preparing to begin a soft launch of its new headquarters at Leeds’s Wellington Place which will see it consolidate its existing offices around the city into one dedicated building.

Mr Grant said he expected the office to be up and running by September and that it would be operating on a hybrid model.

Conor Grant in a Leeds Paddy Power betting shop.

“Staff are telling us they want greater flexibility but many still want the office,” he said.

“We are just going to encourage people to get the balance right that works from them.

“That’s been the hallmark of the design of our new office. Sixty per cent fixed desks which will be flexible.”

Sky Bet’s inclusion in the Flutter group sees it part of the world’s largest online betting company.

Mr Grant said that the entire group was taking learnings from the Sky Bet model and that it remained “hugely important” to the wider Flutter group.

“Sky Bet is the largest operator in the market in terms of customer volume,” he said.

“We are number two in the market in revenue and probably pushing very close to being number one.

“Sky Bet will continue to be a flagship of Flutter.”

The online gambling market has seen a vast amount of consolidation in recent yeas but Mr Grant says that this trend is likely to have peaked.

“There are not many deals left. The market has changed.

“I would say we are approaching the peak if we have not reached it already.”

Mr Grant was speaking to The Yorkshire Post during a visit to Leeds to see how its Paddy Power betting shops were fairing since reopening.

He said that the world of physical retail had a bright future.

“It is absolutely amazing to see them open,” he said.

“Our retail stores closed for 35 per cent of last year.

“Shops still have an important part on the high street. I am encouraged over what I have seen in recent weeks.

“The often talked about demise of the high street is over-exaggerated in my opinion.”