The 3R's: Relocation, Remote working and Reality

By Leon Morrison


Back in 2006 when I started my recruitment career in the area of Analog and RF IC Design, I had the odd candidate mention remote working.

The situation remained fairly similar over the following 10 years, but since then we have seen a steady increase in the demand for remote working.

Fast forward then to 2020!, covid hits us and then BOOM, everyone needed to work remotely and for the first time in modern history, office workers from across the globe had remote working freedom. Even companies that had a zero remote working policy eased their restrictions for the first time and to the entire workforce!

This flexibility on remote working remained in place for most of 2020, 2021 and largely 2022 and for the most it felt like a fundamental shift for good, one that was overdue and largely welcomed by the vast majority of employees. This unforeseen shift and despite all of the tragedies of the pandemic, spawned a remote working revolution like never seen before!

And then the next shift happens - we call it '2023, the year of adjustment'

Given that Covid was mostly under control by 2023 there has been a readjusting in company policy regarding remote working and in 2023 we saw a shift towards a hybrid working model for most. In fairness, this has suited most people and the majority of candidate/client agreements lie in 3 days on site, 2 days working from home. This in itself has been a major success for the work life balance of employees, with a healthy mix of being in the office conversing with colleagues, sharing ideas, team building and sharing of values whist also still having a couple of days at home where travel is not required and when focus on complex tasks can go uninterrupted.

However there remains an underlying restless dragon in the depths of the working tower and that is that the demand for full remote working from Analog IC Design Engineers has been increasing in intensity. As well as 'in-country' requests, demand also stems from engineers who are not willing to relocate at all and who are looking for fully remote 5 days a week from their country of residence across Europe and beyond. I get requests to work fully remote from candidates all across the UK, Europe as well as Turkey, Egypt, India, the US, Canada and so on.

I call this the Push and Pull factor. Candidates are pushing for remote working and clients/companies are pulling back to more time on site in form of a hybrid model and in some cases, full time!

This is not to say that remote is not possible, however it’s clear that start up to mid-level companies are generally the most likely to offer remote working. This gives them a strategic hiring advantage over other companies and enables them to find talent they may not normally have had access to. I notice a small number of the larger companies also offer remote working.

However, the common thread regarding the ability to gain full remote working is that that skill set match needs to be very strong. I.e. a company will typically only allow full remote working from in or out of country, if the technical experience match to the requirements is in most cases, exceptionally strong!

Relocation changes over time

What I have also noticed over the years is that candidates are a lot less likely to consider relocation - be it in country from Reading to Cambridge or even from overseas from France to the UK for example. After 18 years of recruiting Analog IC Designers I have seen a huge change in this. Candidates are less willing to relocate them and their family than ever before and if they do, it’s often only for significantly higher salary and lifestyle benefits.

But if it continues on like this, with companies wanting on site working and candidates not as willing to relocate, we will have more of a problem than we do now.

Moving forward:

Tips for Candidates

Engineers will keep demanding remote working and more companies may give in especially when the market picks up.

But it’s very important to realise that the market demand is primarily for engineers to be on site for some or most of the time and that relocation has always been integral for not only the survival of the industry but also for the growth of the engineer.

I would encourage candidates to strongly consider the value of on site working (even if it is just a few days) and also the experience gained from relocating oversees for you and your family.

Relocation benefits such as:

  • New experiences
  • New friends
  • A welcome change and challenge
  • Better opportunities
  • Widened horizons (once you relocate you are more likely to do it again)
  • A new start!
Tips for Companies

I fully appreciate and understand the need to have engineers on site and the reasons for this make a lot of business sense. I hear the arguments for on site working on a regular basis and I work hard to bridge the gap between the companies needs and the requests from engineers.  

It is important however for employers to realise the recruitment landscape is now made up of a fair percentage of engineers who will no longer consider relocation and try to absorb strong technically matched engineers into their hires even if they are overseas or remote within country.  We have partnered with a payroll company also known as EOR (Employer Of Record) and have been helping more and more companies to hire engineers based in other countries.

I hope to see the Semiconductor market find an alignment which gives the employees the freedom they are looking for whilst enabling companies to have employees in the office to build on that all important company cohesion.

Feel free to contact me to discuss any questions or queries related to the points above.

View all our Analog IC Design Jobs across the EU and our RFIC Design jobs across the EU here.

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