Welcome to 2023

Posted 12/1/2023 by Benet Hanley

As people filter back to work from various extended holidays and ski trips (snow conditions permitting) I hope we enter the new year with renewed enthusiasm and optimism. 2022 was a challenging year for the deep tech industry in terms of recruitment with significant trends showing relative lack of talent and pressure on salaries. Whilst a difficult landscape for recruiting talent and a cautious approach by candidates may continue, I feel that we will see increased candidate movement in 2023. Deep Tech sectors like the Photonics Industry are expanding and this has created a demand for experienced photonics, optoelectronic engineers and specialists that simply cannot and is not being met by local talent.

Headlines from December’s Royal Bank of Scotland Jobs report that:

  • Hiring intentions remain high, but candidate supply continues to fall
  • Candidate shortages and economic uncertainty weigh on permanent placements in November
  • Permanent placements fall, Softest increase in vacancies for 21 months
  • IT, Engineering and executive vacancies all lower than the same time in 2021.
  • IT Engineering and Executive skills all shown to be in significantly short supply.

Scotland highlights

Sebastian Burnside, Chief Economist at Royal Bank of Scotland, commented: "Following the post-pandemic hiring boom, the latest Report on Jobs survey indicates that recruitment activity lost further momentum in November amid a slowdown across the economy. Greater uncertainty around the outlook and candidate shortages have taken a toll on staff hiring across Scotland. Latest data indicated a notably steeper contraction in permanent placements, while temp billings fell for the second consecutive month. "At the same time, labour scarcity resulted in strong growth in pay, with both starting salaries and hourly wages rising at sharper rates during November. The steeper drop in candidate availability across Scotland, which was often blamed on a generally low unemployment rate, fewer foreign workers, worries over the economic climate and cost of living crisis, is likely to add further upwards pressure on pay in the months ahead, particularly if firms want to attract and secure the skilled workers they need.

Supply of permanent staff falls steeply in November in fact showing the most severe deterioration since May and among the fastest on record.

A combination of labour and skill shortages, Brexit and economic uncertainty reduced the supply of candidates.

The downturn in permanent staff supply across Scotland outstripped the UK average for the eighth month in a row.

Upward pressure on starting salaries intensifies, Latest survey data signalled a further rise in salaries awarded to permanent new joiners in Scotland for the twenty-fourth successive month in November. The latest rise in salaries was attributed to competition for labour amid staff and skill shortages.

For the second month running, Scotland noted a quicker rise in starting salaries than recorded at the UK level.

My big takeaway from 2022 is the huge amounts of time that is sometimes wasted searching for the perfect experienced candidate. In 2023 where possible, companies should “hire for the potential” rather than the proven experience and give people a chance to grow! Foster a culture of investing in people. Most people I speak to about changing jobs count the new challenges very high on their list of motivations.



Enigma People Solutions specialises in the recruitment of specialist roles in the deep tech sector.

We also offer a complimentary recruitment review. If you have tried the following but have still failed to attract the right candidates, we can help you:

  • If you’ve advertised the position but didn’t attract the applicants that you require
  • You’ve asked your team for referrals 
  • Talked to people in your own network
  • No internal candidates have applied
  • Advertised on job sites and your own website

If that describes your experience, then you need a new approach to your recruitment. Email us hello@enigmapeople.com or call 0131 510 8150 to find out more and to book your complimentary recruitment review now. 

Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in photonics, electronics, semiconductor, and software in Scotland. Check out our blog for the latest in the technology industry.


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