• PHOTO: Tim Houstoun, CEO of Global Shares, and An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, at the Global Shares new jobs announcement in Clonakilty, Co Cork, in September 2020. The company is now set to add 200 more new jobs bringing total employment to over 750 people by year-end 2022. Global Shares  manages employee share plans for some of the world’s most exciting startups, tech unicorns and enterprise brands.

Clonakilty-based fintech company Global Shares, which specialises in employee equity and works with companies in more than 100 countries, is expecting to almost double its workforce by 2024.

Employee equity or ownership, a big practice in the United States and other countries, involves companies giving their employees shares in the company, a slice of the pie so to speak, to encourage greater engagement and retention of staff.

With the employee equity market seeing significant growth in recent years and that growth expected to continue, Global Shares is expanding its own operations and workforce to ensure it remains at the forefront of supporting companies towards this shift.

With 550 staff, offices in Jersey City, Nashville and 17 locations worldwide, Global Shares is 100% focused on equity compensation and as an employee-owned company itself, the team knows how important it is to get equity right. It has been on a mission to simplify employee ownership for more than 15 years and today works with some of the most exciting startups, tech unicorns and enterprise brands across the globe, offering a range of equity management solutions from seed to IPO and beyond.

Global Shares has now established itself as one of only a handful of companies in the world who can do what they do on a global scale, competing with just two other global providers which are both multi-billion-dollar financial services giants.

At the end of 2019, Global Shares had 305 employees. By the end of last year, the company’s workforce had grown to more than 550, and is expected to reach the 1,000 mark by 2024.

During the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, Global Shares hired more than 250 new team members and accumulated numerous awards, including ‘Best Workplaces in Ireland 2021’, ‘Best Workplace in Tech 2021’, ‘Top 100 in Wellbeing 2021’, as well as the prestigious Technology Ireland ‘Company of the Year’ Award 2021.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Global Shares HR Director, Stephen Tabb, said the company’s growth has been “phenomenal”, and that they are not done yet.

With a recruitment drive underway, the company plans to expand its offices in Clonakilty, Cork city, Nashville, Miyazaki in Japan and many others. They are also recruiting for positions in new offices in Leeds and Porto.

“We’ve firmly established ourselves as one of the market leaders in the employee ownership fintech space, and it is important to strike when the iron is hot.

“To capitalise on this position and become the number one provider of choice for our industry, we are looking to further increase functionality across our software platform, which is IT led, and expand our growing client pool in a global marketplace.

As well as growing as a company, Global Shares is witnessing the trend for employee ownership rising around the world.

An increasing number of countries now offer tax incentives to promote employee share ownership, as it is widely believed to improve productivity and facilitate wealth distribution.

Equity incentives are also becoming an essential part of remuneration packages in the highly competitive environment for talent, especially in a world of hybrid or remote working.

Here in Ireland, the trend of employee ownership is also experiencing growth thanks to an ecosystem of new and growing start-ups and companies expanding to the US and EU markets.

“Employers globally are realising the benefits of employee ownership — it’s the same as having some skin in the game,” explained Mr Tabb.

“Your performance can directly influence the performance of the company and, if the company performs well, you’ll see a return on that.”

While Global Shares expanding its footprint is “exciting times” for both the company and sector, challenges will come in the form of attracting the very best talent amid a global marketplace and growing demand for skilled employees.

“We now have the added complexity of companies in the UK and across Europe looking at talent here in Ireland, offering remote working opportunities,” said Mr Tabb.

“It’s becoming so much more competitive, so we do have to come up with novel new ways of tapping into that talent and creating pathways for the graduate market to ensure we recruit and retain the staff necessary to fuel that growth. As a company we’re on an exciting journey globally, we’ve a friendly, people-centric culture and strong wellbeing ethos — it’s a compelling combination.”

A company that practises what it preaches, Global Shares is one of a handful of Irish based companies offering employee ownership to its team.

Mr Tabb also highlighted the importance of allowing for hybrid and, where applicable, remote working, citing the importance of fostering good working relationships in person and in the office.

“We know that we have to be ever more creative and ambitious in how we attract talent.

“Whilst remote working is great and it does suit certain roles and profiles, for us, I think having that blended hybrid approach allows for the best of both worlds really — it allows people to stay in sync with the culture, and for those social connections in the office space.

He explained that hybrid working will be the future for Global Shares, and that this will allow the company to recruit talent from around Ireland, as well as globally.

“As we go forward, hybrid working will become ingrained in our organisation.”