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Tech workers mimic Facebook founder’s qualities – while shunning Lord Sugar’s

The UK’s IT sector is full of budding Mark Zuckerbergs, according to research undertaken by Randstad Technologies.  The research found that more than a third of IT workers across the UK (37%) share key personality traits with the Facebook founder.

Randstad Technologies created an interactive quiz that matches tech professionals’ personalities to famous entrepreneurs in the sector.

Aside from the dominance of the Zuckerberg personality type, the quiz also revealed that just 5% of tech professionals act like Alan Sugar.  The results follow news that The Apprentice star might be moving away from technology entirely, in his words, to “make new friends”.

The Zuckerberg personality type is also predominant across core tech hubs such as Silicon Gorge in the South West; Silicon Roundabout in London and the eastern end of the M4 Corridor.

Randstad Technologies have provided more detailed results from the research together with comments from Ruth Jacobs, managing director at the company:

Personality types of tech entrepreneurs

Mark Zuckerberg is known for his inquisitive mind and drive to invent.  Aged just 12 he used an Atari BASIC to create his own messaging programme, which he dubbed "Zucknet".  While at Harvard, he developed a number of software packages for his fellow students.  The Facebook founder is also known for being a risk taker and for having a ruthless streak when it comes to hiring and firing.  

Ruth Jacobs, managing director at Randstad Technologies, commented, “People have a lot of pre-conceptions about Mark Zuckerberg, something that the release of The Social Network five years ago did little to dispel.  However, he has many fantastic leadership qualities, qualities that have helped him to build an outstanding management team he can delegate to.  Being able to take a step back and allow people to work through problems themselves is an essential attribute in successful management.  The fact his personality type dominates in the UK’s IT industry is great news for our booming tech sector which needs leaders who are able to combine technical brilliance and emotional intelligence to provide relevant and useful products for both industry and the consumer.  The findings suggests people working in the UK’s core tech hubs possess the imagination, drive and leadership qualities that are required to develop disruptive new technologies.”

Lord Sugar and Yahoo! boss Marissa Mayer are the personality types least reflected in the UK tech profession and represent just 5% of the industry apiece.  Single-minded, bullish and confrontational, Lord Sugar may now be best known as the no-nonsense autocrat on The Apprentice, but he’s also one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs.  Starting out as a general importer/exporter and wholesaler, his company AMSTRAD was a key player in the early computer industry and achieved a peak stock market valuation of £1.2bn.  Sugar later went on to stabilise the finances at Tottenham Hotspur during ten years as club chairman.

Jacobs commented, “Although he has always appeared to be more focussed on traditional selling than creating great technology and chasing a good profit rather than creating a good product, it’s difficult to argue with Lord Sugar’s success.  He might not be a tech purist like Steve Jobs but Lord Sugar is an outstanding businessman.  The fact that technology professionals are not mimicking his style might be good for all of us – as contestants on The Apprentice know only too well, a boardroom grilling by Lord Sugar is an uncomfortable experience.”

Sugar and Mayer are both known for their drive and determination, but there is some suggestion they may not make the best bosses.  Mayer is rumoured to get just four hours of sleep per night (she doesn’t believe in ‘burn-out’) and is clearly ambitious, but there are reports that she has a bullying managerial style.  

Jacobs said, “If you’re following in Mayer’s footsteps you are probably a border line workaholic, with a no-nonsense approach to getting things done, even if it means telling some home truths.  That might be good for business but it might not go down so well with colleagues!”

UK tech professionals split according to tech industry personality type

In search of Sugar

Tech professionals acting like Lord Sugar are most prominent in network, systems & security roles (13%) as well as testing & quality assurance (11%).  Geographically, Lord Sugar’s style is most common in the East Midlands (21%).

Tech Specialism

Network, Systems & Security


Testing and quality assurance








Tech specialisms where workers are most likely to act like Lord Sugar

Where are the Zuckerbergs?

Zuckerberg personality types dominated the UK’s largest tech hubs, including Silicon Roundabout, the M4 corridor and Silicon Gorge.  But the region with the highest proportion of Zuckerberg-esque tech professionals was Yorkshire (47%).  In terms of tech specialism the highest proportion of Zuckerberg personality types are found in Analysis, Intelligence & Data (52%).

Silicon Roundabout

M4 Corridor

Silicon Gorge

Mark Zuckerberg




Susan Wojcicki




Bill Gates




Steve Jobs




Marissa Mayer




Alan Sugar




The personality types dominating key tech hubs

Jacobs added, “Zuckerberg personality types are the most prevalent in tech hubs such as Silicon Roundabout, Silicon Gorge, and the M4 corridor.  But there is a particularly high concentration of tech professionals in Yorkshire.  Given calls from industry leaders to make Yorkshire more attractive to tech start-ups and the fact it is set for a tech boom as the government renews plans for a Northern Powerhouse, this bodes well for the sector.”

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