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20th March 2015

Analog IC Design and Layout 2015 – Part 2

Leon Morrison

Leon Morrison

Principal Consultant

Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Leon has been in the UK since the year 2000. …

Origins of the Analog IC Design and Layout shortage and the EU Visa situation

Origins of the shortage

As a follow on from my last blog about the increased demand for Analog IC Design and Layout Engineers, I’d like to expand on the origins of the shortage and the EU Visa situation.

The semiconductor industry is at one of its peaks and the demand for engineers in Analog IC Design and Layout is at an all time high.

Analog IC Design and Layout 2015Site closures and acquisitions/restructuring last year did put a number of engineers onto the employment market, but the majority were quickly snapped up.  A number of designers and layout engineers took the opportunity to move into contracting. With the increased number of jobs so far this year, those on the market (available) within the EU have decreased.

Companies are of course still set on filling positions with the best skill set matches and do filter out on a range of criteria, with technical skill match being a top priority. Graduate demand is also high at the moment, and it’s a good time for junior engineers to look for more responsibility.

Some areas of design where skills are in demand include; Automotive, Power Management Sensors, Imaging or Image Sensors, High Speed ADCs, High Speed Optical, MEMs, RFID and Audio.

The EU Visa Situation

Whilst demand is high only a small number of companies are willing to sponsor visas for engineers. This is certainly the case for more junior engineers. For more senior engineers, companies are more likely to ‘do what it takes’ to attract the right people.

There are a vast amount of junior engineers in Europe who require sponsorship and graduate level engineers are finding it a challenge to find a company who will sponsor. The most successful of these will have a Masters or PhD in a relevant subject i.e. Microelectronics or Electrical Engineering ideally with a relevant thesis topic. Those with any industry or research experience will find the chances of success are higher.

Why are visas an issue for companies in the EU?

Companies perceive visas to be costly in terms of investment of funds and time.  There is also a concern that overseas engineers may be less likely to stay in a position for as long as a local or EU national.

In the UK specifically the visa situation has recently changed. Tier1 visas (where the candidate could apply for their own visa) are gone, so now a candidate requires full sponsorship on the Tier2 system and for that the company themselves will require a sponsorship licence and subsequent sponsorship certificates. Times to sponsor can be as short as 1 month and on average about 2-3 months. A company transfer for someone already on a Tier2 in the UK can take as little as 3 weeks. IC Design is on the Shortage Occupation List, so the likelihood of obtaining a work permit is an IC Designer is very high (essentially 100%).

Those based outside of Europe are very much of strong interest to companies in the EU, but to have the best chance of success one needs to have the right specific skills and/or a proven track record of design or layout success.

If you are unsure of if you qualify to be considered or have questions about where your skill match is, feel free to get in touch.

It’s a great time to apply and with so many companies looking across a range of technology areas, we are in an ideal position to suggest the best matches and for those who needs visas, to suggest those companies who can and are willing to sponsor.

You can also check out the available positions we have at the moment.

LEON MORRISON  

PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT

ANALOG and RF IC DESIGN DIVISION

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