Whilst these have been uncertain times, and we're by no means out of the woods yet, technology and science sector recruitment has continued with some resilience throughout lockdown. Initially a number of our clients did take time to consider their options, but many ultimately continued recruitment in some form throughout much of this crisis, and some have continued without pause since the beginning, and with only minor adjustments to priorities.

A significant number of our client companies have recognised that their core needs have not changed, have adapted their processes for remote interviews, and are not only interviewing but offering ECM candidates jobs. We have had a good number of new starters joining companies via ECM, from the start of lockdown to date.

Interviews and hiring

Throughout, telephone and video interviews have continued via Zoom, Teams and other increasingly vital video conferencing services. In recent weeks, some candidates have even been invited to visit the office to meet their prospective employers, taking care to maintain a safe social distance, and observing companies' excellent precautionary measures.

Induction processes have also adapted. Companies are largely figuring this out as they go. In some cases, software engineers starting new jobs through ECM have been pleased to receive boxed new laptops direct from the manufacturer, and to have the chance to set up their new work machine exactly how they want it.

Remote working is in most cases a new but temporary reality, with most clients expecting to return to their office as soon as the UK situation permits. In future, we may see more of an increase in roles offering remote working, but the UK tech sector has always been reasonably conservative on this compared to some other countries.

Future opportunities

At ECM we take great pains to ensure that jobs we are advertising are genuine, live roles each with a specific company, with whom we are working closely. This receives our immediate attention as things change. A number of companies are very actively looking for skilled and talented people. We have many dozens of active roles across a host of technical fields, with companies ranging from startups to mid-sized and family owned business through to multinational corporations.

The biggest challenge is currently faced by graduates. Graduate hiring has been most disrupted by the crisis to date. There are jobs out there - at ECM we have a number of clients very keen to recruit at graduate level - but given the number of people looking, the bar is now set very high, and candidates' CVs really need to stand out from their peers in order to progress.

Salaries for new roles have, to date, not been impacted by COVID-19. Some candidates' current employers have had to reduce their hours, freeze pay or take other measures; but fortunately there are many good options out there, and companies not in this situation. Salaries in the Cambridge area have been growing in recent years, and we do anticipate some change as economic realities kick in over coming years, so it's a good time now to be looking for that step up you've been thinking about.

How we can help

If you're looking for your next role, do send your CV through to ECM. If you see a specific job, that's a great starting point, but not a prerequisite for us to review your details. We can't always put everyone forward that we'd like to, but we do read every CV and try to respond to everyone. And of course, your CV won't be sent to any company without your express permission.

If you're looking to recruit, despite the continuing demand on our services and the attention we pay to each client's needs, we are able to accommodate new clients, and would be happy to arrange an initial conversation with you.