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Oxfordshire recruitment: latest STEM trends

  12th June 2019       Peter Knibbs
 Client, Engineering, Science & Space

Oxfordshire’s STEM sector offers such exciting recruitment prospects that Bond Williams set up a dedicated office in 2018. Through our county-wide business contacts and networking skills, we can bring candidates the latest employment trends across science, technology, engineering and maths.

Here Peter Knibbs, a Bond Williams Recruitment Manager based at Oxford Science Park, gives his insight in to the future of Oxfordshire’s STEM employment scene.

A forecast of positive growth

“It’s worth setting the scene by highlighting UKCES Working Futures 2014-2024 figures that reveal the occupation types in Oxfordshire that are most likely to see growth in the next five years. There will be an increasing demand for science, engineering & technology associate professionals; professionals in science, research engineering & tech, and corporate managers & directors.

In demand: vacancies of the future

Based on forecasted trends, we expect the following to be the top 10 jobs in the STEM sector over the coming years:-

  1. Software Engineer
  2. Project Engineer
  3. System Engineer
  4. Electrical Design Engineer
  5. Maintenance Engineer
  6. Production Engineer
  7. E&I / C&I Engineer
  8. QA / QC Officer
  9. Development Scientist
  10. Research Scientist

New super-niche sectors

Even within the STEM sector, fast-growing niches that demand specialist skills and knowledge are constantly emerging. Data analysis by Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and OxLEP Skills identified a number of new markets that will shape the future of Oxfordshire recruitment, with STEM-based roles featuring heavily. These include:-

  • Low carbon – goods and services in response to climate change
  • IT – cloud computing, 3D printing and big data
  • Creative and digital industries – driven by continued creative innovation

Other areas in the STEM sector anticipated to recruit heavily in the coming years include the below, boosted by Oxfordshire’s Strategic Economic Plan to create up to 86,000 new jobs between now and 2030.

Space and satellite applications

The Government is accelerating Oxfordshire’s involvement in space and satellite applications, and there is a target to quadruple its sector performance by 2030. With an expected turnover of £40 billion in just 11 years time, it comes as no surprise that employee numbers are expected to rise from 37,000 to 115,000 by 2030. It is estimated that 10% of the UK’s space and satellite application jobs will be based in Oxfordshire, boosted by the Space Cluster at Harwell Oxford.

Life science & medical instruments

You could say that life sciences are the life blood of Oxfordshire, with the two universities acting as excellent feeders. The county’s BioCluster and its associated industries comprise more than 330 companies, and there are over 10,000 employed in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical and medical instruments, and in associated research and development.

Upscaling to create more opportunities

Many start-up companies in Oxfordshire are now maturing, with hundreds of businesses moving from a research to a commercial phase. In fact, it’s such a prominent trend that Beauhurst – a searchable database of the UK’s high-growth companies – compiled a list of its top 10 business scale-ups in Oxfordshire, with 8 of those coming from the STEM sector. These include: Virtua, Agilityworks, Yasa Motors, Oxford Nanopore, Rebellion, Gigaclear and Circassia. The recruitment byproduct will include an increased demand for staff.

AI, automation & Oxfordshire jobs

The rise of the robot will no doubt have crossed the minds of Oxfordshire professionals, and the impact on jobs in the county has already been assessed.

Figures from Burning Glass Technologies claim many Oxfordshire jobs will be safe, with only 14% of jobs posted in 2017 deemed at risk of automation. Jobs in the digital technologies, and engineering & science fields were also classified as low risk.”

Peter Knibbs

Recruitment Manager

An REC FIRP accredited recruitment professional, Peter has built an excellent reputation in Oxfordshire by forming sustainable relationships built on loyalty, knowledge and reliable delivery of quality service and candidates. With over 18 years’ experience working within both internal and external recruitment, Peter has successfully supplied talented candidates into the …


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