Contractor Update: Analog IC and Physical Design

By Bradley Wilson


Recruiters and Engineers alike…

We have seen a noticeable slow-down in the market within Europe this year which has had a knock-on effect on the number of contract positions available. As such, I thought I’d provide some insight into why I think this is. Read to the end for some more positive news!

  1. A slow down in the German Automotive market – There has been a noticeable drop in car sales over the past 3 years (General Motors saw a decline for a third year running, with a drop by 1.6% in 2019) which has impacted the immediate mass production of general automotive products. However, with the emergence of new areas of development like Autonomous vehicles, which require the likes of LiDAR and SPADs sensors, the market has begun to get busier but clients are looking for more permanent solutions to protect their IP. I’ve seen a similar pattern of investment and solution being used by clients focusing on battery design for electrical vehicles as dedications to lowering emissions by governing bodies throughout Europe move to the forefront. The good news is that there has also been a trickle effect within these areas towards the end of this year allowing contractors the opportunity to work on these new technologies. (Source –
  2. US-China trade relations – When looking at a $700bn market for both Import and Export of IC’s, China commands 30% and 11% of each side respectively, whereas the US commands 5.3% and 4.1% respectively. As two powerhouses of the global IC market find themselves at odds regarding their previous trade agreements we have seen knock-on effects throughout Europe particularly for clients that have teams in or received investment from either the US or China. (Source –
  3. Brexit – A term many in Europe and the UK are yet to understand in its entirety. Whilst after the announcement of Brexit in 2016 saw one of the largest years in recent times for foreign investment from €875m in 2015 to €3.6bn in 2018 in to the semiconductor industry across Europe including the UK, with the deadline looming and no clear decision as to what the UK will do, many clients in mainland Europe are struggling to plan for how this may affect them. (Source –

Some good news!

With this being said, as we move into Q4 of 2019, we have begun to see an increase in requirements for contractors again across Europe, with clients in the UK, France, Belgium, and Scandinavia to name a few looking for engineers. Due to the extended period of uncertainty in the market, this year clients have been under pressure to continue providing and increasing their ability to perform within the market. As we move into Q4 we have seen a greater push in the direction of short-term contracts available to engineers of varying skillsets, offering them a chance to keep themselves busy up until the end of the year.

I currently have 6 Layout, 7 Design and 3 Physical Design roles that came available in just the last 2 weeks. If you are considering contracting and would like more information, or to discuss the roles we have available, then please contact me via