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The prestigious university city of Cambridge is famous for many reasons. Situated on the banks of the River Cam...

Recruiting in… Cambridge

The prestigious university city of Cambridge is famous for many reasons. Situated on the banks of the River Cam, this quaint market town is well-known for its beautiful architecture, award-winning punting tours, and its respected university campuses which have produced intelligent graduates including Stephen Hawking and Sir Isaac Newton. According to the World Population Review, Cambridge has an estimated population of 129,000, which factors in 25,000 students. So, there is a huge candidate and client market for recruiters to get stuck into.


Cambridge is a good place to be if you’re a jobseeker

According to research compiled by job website Adzuna, Cambridge has been named as the top destination in the UK for jobseekers. The research revealed that there are 0.7 jobseekers per vacancy – which means that fewer candidates are competing for the same role.

Andrew Hunter, Co-Founder of Adzuna, says: “Despite positive noise from the labour market in the first half of 2018, this latest data suggests a summer slowdown in the UK jobs market and a clear salary stagnation across the country.

“Britain’s biggest employers are nervous, anxious and looking for answers around Brexit."

Apprenticeships are in-demand in many Cambridge workplaces

Research from CV-Library has revealed that a whopping 74% of Brits would opt to do an apprenticeship over studying for a degree. The survey, which polled over 1,200 UK workers, also highlighted that over half of Brits believe that apprenticeships are better for a person’s career prospects over traditional further education.

And Cambridge – in particular – is one of the top UK cities in favour of the apprenticeship route (87.5%). Founder and CEO of CV-Library Lee Biggins, comments: “Not only do they provide workers with qualifications, skills and industry knowledge, they also give individuals fantastic experience, so that they’re ready to contribute to your company right away.

“My advice to companies would be to seriously consider more applicants who have done an apprenticeship and to create more opportunities for them within your own firm.”

But to find out more about the actual recruitment scene in Cambridge we caught up with Jayne Docherty, Regional Director at Interaction Recruitment, to find out.

What do you enjoy about recruiting in Cambridge?

The diversity; people, businesses, industries and their stories. Cambridge is evolving at a rapid rate, ever-changing and developing into one of the best places to live and work in the UK.

As recruiters, naturally we enjoy speaking to people from all backgrounds within various industries, hearing their stories and ambitions for the future. Cambridge is a special place, and people really enjoy working here. Why? Well to start with, one of the oldest and most prestigious university institutions in the world is here, plus it’s a beautiful city and home to the biggest bioscience and research facilities and top tech companies outside of London; for example, Astra Zeneca, Microsoft and Darktrace. We get to place candidates into these influential and renowned workplaces – how could this ever be dull?

In Cambridge there is always something going on; it’s a hive of activity and a real bustling community to be a part of. Recruiting in Cambridge makes you really feel like a part of its growth and that you are making a difference with every placement. 

What challenges do you face as a recruiter here?

Like most recruiters, they’ll all agree one of the biggest challenges day-to-day is competitors; other recruitment agencies working across many divisions in the city. More businesses are relocating here, and the demand for quality people is high. More business is great for potential client wins but it does mean that Cambridge is very often a candidate-driven market, with more positions available than candidates at times, which definitely makes for a challenging recruiting process.

We have to ensure we gain the trust of our candidates, by being truly consultative; making sure they know we are local specialists who will secure them the right position. Listening to our candidates is also vital, we need to establish who they visualise themselves working for and understand their best fit and respect their values.

What do you see coming up in Cambridge’s future in terms of recruitment?

We foresee Cambridge having an even bigger presence primarily in the medical, bioscience and construction markets. With the regeneration of the Cambridge Biomedical campus, including Royal Papworth Hospital and the growing number of world-renowned research facilities appearing, we can only see the demand for these types of candidates soar in the future. As for students, Cambridge is a desirable location to study and work, and we can only see these numbers increase moving forward.

Businesses are often relocating to Cambridge, the city has a reputation as being one of the most influential and desirable locations on the map. With more companies setting up offices here, the demand for quality candidates will naturally increase.