Growing Starling Bank’s engineering team by 225%

Starling Bank image, unicorn piggy bank


Growth of engineering team


Saved vs. agency model


Effective rate

Talentful really allowed us to shift the goalposts for what was achievable. More than doubling the size of our engineering team in the space of a year unlocked previously out of reach opportunities, whilst the foundations and training put in place by the Talentful team meant it wasn’t just a short-lived spike of growth for us.

Becci Freeman
People Business Partner

Headquartered in London, Starling Bank is a digital, mobile-only challenger bank that focuses on current and business account products. Founded in 2014, the company has since raised £363 million in backing and was voted “Best British Bank” three years running from 2018 to 2020.

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The Challenge

Before partnering with Talentful, Starling Bank was entirely reliant on agencies and direct applications for new hires. Candidates were managed through the hiring process by a variety of people from differing teams, creating large inefficiencies in between stages. While the hiring process wasn’t completely broken, Starling’s agency spend was high, and focus was being pulled away from growing the Engineering team and other high priority areas of the business.

In September, the focus of Engineering hiring shifted to Starling’s Southampton office. This created the added challenge of a more limited pool of candidates and reinforced the need to approach talent in a more tailored and personalized way.

  • Reliance on agency hires

  • Disjointed hiring process owned by multiple different teams

  • Challenging location for hiring technical roles

The Solution

Two of our Talent Partners joined Starling Bank’s team onsite for 12 months to help hire a minimum of 40 engineers, scaling their engineering function from 60 to 100 people.

During this time, our talent experts centralized Starling’s hiring function and established a more formal headhunting approach with quick success. Talentful trained the in-house team to ensure sustainable results from the partnership and provided up-to-date documentation on best-practice hiring.

  • Headhunting approach

  • Training for in-house team

  • Creation of documentation

The Result

Over a 12 month partnership with Starling Bank, Talentful delivered against an initial target of increasing the Engineering team from 60 to 100. When this target was amended to 120, Talentful once again surpassed it, ultimately leaving Starling with 135 engineers in total (225% team growth across the project).

On top of this, the Talentful team was able to deliver training to the in-house team, provide valuable documentation for future success and host three tech events to raise Starling’s profile. Over the course of the project, Starling Bank saved £184,766 vs. traditional agency models and enjoyed an effective rate of 10.39%.

  • 225% growth of engineering team

  • £184,766 saved vs. agency model

  • 10.39% effective rate