Despite there being a strong cluster of excellent SoC/Semiconductor design teams in Scotland and mainly in Edinburgh a consistent lack of collaboration towards solving the relatively low availability of talent in the market is staggering!

Almost all engineers that do consider a move tell me that they are overworked, don’t get enough downtime are working to unrealistic project deadlines, project slippage leads to overlapping projects and no time to regroup after one project finishes and another one starts. Exasperated engineers then look to a move to the next company in the hopes that the environment will be different and avoid such draining practices.

Much of this is due to there being a high demand for staff across almost all companies in Edinburgh. Lack of willingness or ability to offer training and development pathways for engineers coming through the system means that companies instead compete for rare skills in an ever-tightening market.

A slowdown in inbound international talent, especially from Europe, coupled with an inability to attract and afford to move engineers up from England, reluctance to fund work visa sponsorship and to train and develop graduates in any real numbers means the pool of talent in Edinburgh consistently is outstripped by demand. Movement is patchy as all companies compensate well and similarly, all companies are working on interesting projects and have adopted flexible working.

The Semiconductor design community in Scotland/Edinburgh needs to work much harder to:

Work with universities in Scotland and further afield to sell the careers both to those in university and demystify these to university and high school students looking at their options.

Look at helping the universities transfer people into the relevant courses – plenty of physicists, computational mathematicians and electronics engineers move into software programming, gaming, finance, actuarial careers etc so why not get more to transfer into Semiconductor design roles  Analog, Digital, Verification etc.

More effort needs to go into developing talent than simply pinching it from thy neighbour. Recruit and develop more graduate engineers locally Scotland and UK wide.

Set the same entry level (may need some work on unconscious bias here) for international prospects as you would local prospects.

Beware of old reputation from a previous phase of their career blocking people from being hired into your company now. Look at them with fresh eyes.

It is encouraging that a strong group of companies continue to grow and thrive in Edinburgh but the lack of collective thinking around attracting design talent into the community here is deeply concerning!


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