Since the turn of the year recruitment within the UK telecommunications market has been busy and this is something which I think will continue for the rest of 2021.

Over the last six months, we have noticed an increased demand for candidates who have experience with:

  • NFV/VNF/Virtualised Core networks in the cloud
  • OpenRAN Physical layer speciality
  • Pre-Sales (OpenRAN and Fixed Networks)
  • Solution Architecture – Customer facing
  • Telco engineers with C and C++ programming experience
  • Technical Project Management – Core Networking
  • Customer Project Management
  • RAN Implementation/Delivery Management
  • Site Design Engineering

What’s causing this increased demand? A combination of natural evolution within telecommunications, a continuation of the 5G roll out and more O-RAN work appearing on the market. Some of the more traditional telecommunications jobs are still in demand such as deployment managers and site design, with the latter still very much a hot area.

O-RAN recruitment is picking up speed

The UK government has launched an initiative designed to speed up the adoption of O-RAN as part of its quest to develop the country’s mobile networks, according to a recent article in telecoms. This desire by the UK government is certainly being noticed in terms of recruitment, as we are seeing a demand for many O-RAN jobs . Specifically, there is an increased demand for software developers specialising in O-RAN networks. However, this skill and experience isn’t something that is widely available within the UK talent pool, therefore these candidates are in extremely high demand and employers with the best opportunity and remuneration packages will attract them quickly.

I predict that the volume of O-RAN jobs will continue to pick up speed in H2 this year. Recently, Vodafone handed contracts to Samsung, NEC, Dell and Wind River to build Europe’s first commercial ‘O-RAN’ network. Recently commenting in, Johan Wibergh, chief technology officer at Vodafone, said the overhaul of the network would increase flexibility for operators. “Open RAN is also reinvigorating our industry. It will boost the digital economy by stimulating greater tech innovation from a wider pool of vendors, bringing much-needed diversity to the supply chain” he said.

My advice to businesses currently hiring

Whilst many firms are hiring with ease, others are facing challenges – one of which is attracting the talent with the exact skill set to meet their job requirements. Whilst the perfect candidate is a needle in the haystack (and can sometimes be found), there are many candidates that will meet at least 80% of your job requirements. My advice to UK businesses is to consider adjusting your expectations as to not miss out on recruiting excellent telecommunications experts based in the UK.

An alternative is to look for telecommunication professionals from outside the UK, of which there is plenty particularly when it comes to O-RAN work. For businesses able to obtain employment visas, they are naturally in a good position to hire non-UK based talent. If your organisation isn’t registered to procure visas then it could be a consideration so that you do not miss out. Whilst the process of obtaining visas can be a short-term hassle, the long-term gains will be worth it.

Embrace remote working on contract or perm

For certain jobs such as virtualised or core, there are limited numbers of individuals in the UK with this skill set. However, with many qualified and experienced professionals outside of the UK, businesses who are open to employing overseas staff and thus enabling work remotely will benefit the greatest. My advice for businesses not yet set up to enable remote workers…don’t delay. There are no relocation costs and all payroll can be handled by recruitment experts such as First Point Group. The talent is out there, we can help you to find the best ones.

Overall, the UK telecommunications recruitment market is doing really well, and I expect this to continue for the foreseeable future. If you’re hiring into your team and would like specialist advice, then please contact me for a confidential conversation.

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