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Job hunting in the North West UK

Job hunting in the North West UK

13 Jul 09:00 by Matthew Rollinson


How the market has changed in recent years, and how to get the most out of it

I work in scientific recruitment in the North West and have done for many years. And I don’t think there’s been a more exciting time to be working in science in this region.

Various initiatives from the northern powerhouse recently announcing millions of pounds of investments, through to major projects such as the world largest wind farm being built off the cost of Cumbria through to the development of Oxford road corridor and expansion of UK Science Park sites (from where I’m writing this) all point to the region being a huge attraction for investment and future developments which will no doubt impact your career in the coming years and provide opportunities.

We have also seen some negative looking headlines in the past, such as companies deciding to move away from the region. These have all contributed to changing the job market in this region significantly in my view as someone who has worked in it throughout this time.

What does this mean for you a candidate seeking a role in the North West?

If you've not looked for a job in the last 5 years you’ll find the markets changed.

How? Firstly, I’d say many more companies to look into, and a swing from large companies dominating the must-apply list, through to the small to mid-sized (SME) sector being where many of the best jobs are to be found.

Why? Mainly in my view the exit to stage right of large pharma, and the entrance to stage-left of entrepreneurs spurred on by catapults, crowdfunding and general investment in this market, has driven the area to build new businesses. Combine this with sudden availability of a lot of lab space available in the region and the building of much more on top of that, and it’s the perfect formula for producing high growth scientific businesses, who need staff.

So, how do you deal with this as a candidate on the job market?

First of all, I’d say these days network around the places you may want to find a job, as opposed to simply the companies you’d want to work for via singular websites.

Some of the fastest growing companies in this region with the best opportunities are also the least well known. Though scientific businesses do cluster around similar locations.

By looking into locations now, like Manchester science park, Alderley Park, Liverpool science park, Biocity, Biohub, Medicity, Hexagon tower, Trafford park and others, you can identify these fast growing SME organisations clustered together, and make approaches to many companies, where in some cases once stood one or two large companies.

Additionally you’ll find in many cases job boards updated as a collective and this can be a superb crowdsourced list of vacancies in your field.

The best part in my view, is it’s no longer two or three HR or Lab managers reading your CV, it’s twenty to thirty potentially.

Secondly, be prepared to join a fast recruitment process, I work in the laboratory recruitment field mainly, and we are routinely working on a two to three week lead time from CV submission to hiring decision.

Some take longer, some are asking to see people the next day.

By planning in detail in advance what you want, you will know when you have found it. You can confidently join this recruitment process knowing if things work out a little more quickly, you’re still making the right decision regardless of speed.

At LiCa Scientific, we know much of this market very well and can map out companies in niche fields for candidates and look into the best ones to approach, and for a full view of the most exciting opportunities on the market. The small to mid sized sector is not to be ignored.

So the market has changed in the North West, it’s a perhaps bit more difficult to see the roles but be assured they are out there. Good luck and if you need a hand then do give us a call.