Insight into… Neil Casey – Danish furniture lover, “ThoughtWorker” and Insight favourite

Ahead of our third “Insight Into” event being held tonight, we wanted to give you an insight in to one of our very exciting panel speakers – Neil Casey, technical recruiter at ThoughtWorks. Read on to hear what Neil has to say about the Manchester Tech scene, how ThoughtWorks is disrupting the industry and what it takes to attract and retain the best talent.


Tell us more about you – your current role/background and what you plan to bring to the panel?

Having spent the best part of the last 14 years in tech recruitment, I currently look after experienced hiring here at ThoughtWorks. Having seen numerous changes in technical approaches, tooling and skill set demand in recent years, I can bring a view of how these conditions have affected the ability of companies to grow, develop and retain their best talent.

Thoughtworks are one of the leaders in the Tech scene, and famous for Agile amongst other things. Whats it like working day to day in such a progressive business?

Having worked at a number of the big tech players, I can honestly say ThoughtWorks is unique. There is an uncompromising approach to delivering opinionated and disruptive technology solutions, which is driven by our technical colleagues feeding into all the work we look undertake. We are a community of technologists rather an organisation that employs developers. From a recruitment perspective, that adds a layer of challenge, to identify individuals who are not just talented, but hugely passionate about the affect of tech on our clients and society as a whole.

How have you seen the Digital scene in Manchester evolve and what have Thoughtworks done to stay ahead of the curve?

The Tech scene in Manchester is a replication of Manchester as a culture…. community orientated, opinionated and not frightened to stand on toes. ThoughtWorks has looked to blend our ‘Tech at Core’ approach to digital transformation with our ‘seismic shift’ offerings… these are ‘evolving interactions’, ‘humanity augmented’, ‘rise of the platforms’, ‘security, privacy and transparency’, ‘rise of the robots’…

Neil family

Thoughtworks are recognised for giving back to the Tech Industry and helping it improve – how has that benefited the North?

From a technical level we have delivered a number of high profile programmes, from supporting the digitisation of Stockport Council, creating an open-source platform to transform the way social care is monitored and actioned. We have partnered with MAG supporting chat bot and smart city technical development and currently we are partnering with Shop Direct in transforming their digital approaches and build technical platforms for change. From a community level we have always been a huge supporter and advocate of community tech and social groups, providing space, resource and support. We have recently moved to our new community hub in Federation (the amazing new digital hub). This gives us an even bigger platform to expand the impact we have.

Similar to Insight, Thoughtworks prioritise finding people to fit their culture and Values as much as having the right technical background, how do you approach that?

The culture of ThoughtWorks is one of the most protected things we have. The fact we call ourselves ‘ThoughtWorkers’ (although a little creepy, granted) is a demonstration that people have more than a transactional relationship to the company, seeing themselves as more contributors to a larger mission. We have a very visible DNA within Social and Economic Justice, which is seen in all of our people globally. This has been maintained over 27 years through a deliberate recruitment process to identify open minded and inclusive talent. As well as seeking client industry alignment and making commercial decisions based on a moral compass, rather than revenue outcome.

This is your second Insight Into event for those that haven’t attended before what can they expect?

These events are great at bringing out fluid and authentic views, from people who are seeing the challenges first hand. The panel tend to be very open in advising they don’t have all the answers, but are willing to share the learnings they have made along the way. Always well attended and always insightful.

Tell us something interesting about Neil Casey out of work?

I am a huge fan of mid-century, Danish furniture design.. oh, interesting?… I completed the first ever civilian ‘hell week’.. (the first week (and worst) in the Navy Seal selection process)