GUEST BLOG: Why Scotland must fight to retain its status as a destination of choice for top international Deep Tech talent.

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Following on from our webinar with TalentScotland which addressed the imminent changes to the UK immigration system as a result of Brexit, we hear from Enigma People Solutions, our corporate sponsors and deep tech recruitment specialists, on ‘Why Scotland must fight to retain its status as a destination of choice for top international Deep Tech talent.’ 


TalentScotland’s website says it perfectly

“Long recognised for its excellence in innovation, today Scotland presents boundless opportunities for tech professionals with a variety of skills. The industry has a highly skilled workforce but there is a continual need for highly talented people with a wide range of skills to join the growing businesses across a range of sectors. Whether you’re keen to work for an ambitious local start-up or a renowned global tech firm, there’s an abundance of tech jobs available in various fields”

“What’s more, Scotland offers an outstanding quality of life in a truly memorable location.”

Scotland boasts numerous highly specialised firms and if we look at the fast growing Photonics sector in Scotland, that is currently a £1.2 billion sector with over 60 companies employing over 5,700 people, one key impediment to growth is that talent for these roles is lacking so a mix of increased local and international talent is required.

Photonics Scotland’s Photonics in Scotland 2020 Report highlighted that 1 in 4 people employed in the industry is from outside of Scotland and this attraction of international talent must continue if the industry in Scotland is to continue to thrive and be world leading. The challenge must be understood and taken seriously. The report shows that over 70% of companies have reported a growth in employee numbers in the previous 12 months but worryingly nearly 70% had stated they experienced a skills shortage in the last 12 months.

Lack of skilled candidates has been identified as the biggest impediment to growth for nearly 45% of companies surveyed.

International talent brings knowledge and skills that help companies to grow, perform and compete on a global footing. Especially when considering experienced hires bring with them extra mentoring that can nurture and develop home grown talent as it comes through.

Scotland has a reputation for excellence in deep technology which is one of the reasons why the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) held their 2019 AGM in Glasgow. The country has an excellent engineering production line through a number of world class universities but even with this  does not produce enough specialists in Semiconductor design and Photonics to fill all of its jobs, which is why we see a skills shortage and 1 in 4 employees from outside of Scotland. However the collaborative nature of Scottish engineers means that professionals from overseas can smoothly be blended into the workforce which is a huge strength for Scotland.

The value of mixing international talent is that the persona of Scottish educated engineers allows for a smooth path to collaboration between international and Scottish educated engineers. This was summed up nicely by Donald McClymont CEO of our client indie Semiconductor

“My personal pet theory is that the Scottish University system tends to produce well rounded, mature individuals who are capable of working in a team and taking responsibility and can do so with social ease.”

With industries like photonics predicted to triple in size by 2030 the ability to attract the best international talent is key to the sector’s success in Scotland. Key to us attracting that talent is understanding firstly how to identify and source them and then courting them in order to win them on to your team.

Enigma People Solutions has long been successful in finding the international talent our clients need to help bolster their teams in Scotland.

It is clear there is an appetite from candidates to move to Scotland and many are impressed by the strength of the Deep Tech industry in Scotland.

Two recent examples of the appetite of experienced professionals to move to Scotland can be seen in the interviews we conducted with Piotr Matyba – Senior Laser Development Engineer and Keith Copeland – Head of Operations who moved from Sweden and USA respectively in 2020.

Technology Scotland recently partnered with TalentScotland to promote the support available to Scottish Technology companies that are looking to hire and sponsor work visas for international talent. This demystifies the process and shows it to be really quite low cost, simple and accessible.

https://www.talentscotland.com/employers