Last week Cambridge Consultants played host to a group of very bright engineering students from Ecole Centrale Paris, wanting to find out more about life in a leading product development company. As the group was leaving, the lecturer in charge, Steve, made a comment that made me stop and think. “I can completely understand why people queue up to have a career here,” he said.
It’s easy to assume where you work is, well, where you work. But Steve’s comment made me reflect on just what he and his students had seen. What is it about our company that is so attractive for top-flight engineers to come and work with us when they could work at any blue-chip around the world? I narrowed it down to eight key factors:
Variety. Bright engineers, like all bright minds, crave stimulation. Each year we work on more than 300 projects so most engineers work on at least two different jobs in any 12 months. And because we work across a range of sectors, projects are naturally diverse, employing multi-disciplinary teams to solve the problem in hand. As one of our engineers, Gemma, comments in her recent interview for Cambridge Business Magazine (P21-22) in one year she’s used her experience as a mechanical engineer to work on projects as diverse as medical technology development through to coffee machines.
Challenge. Despite the diversity of our work, one common seam runs throughout all our activities; and that’s the technical challenge. Because of the way we are set up, we rarely get asked to do the mundane or seemingly easy; instead we thrive on the difficult or the never done before problems that we get asked to solve every day. It is, after all, what we’re good at.
People. As well as working on interesting projects, Cambridge Consultants has developed a reputation as a hot spot for interesting and able people. In part that becomes self fulfilling, because the type of engineers who work for us value the ability to work alongside colleagues they like and whose insight, technical capability and expertise they respect. Working with like-minded colleagues who you can share ideas with and learn from across a range of market sectors and engineering disciplines is seen as a real plus.
Culture. The company’s roots stretch back to the early ‘60s and part of that ‘hippy culture’ is still in our DNA today. Whilst you won’t find anyone sporting a kaftan and peace symbol, we have retained a genuine community feel which starts with senior management and permeates throughout. The company genuinely cares about the welfare of its people and this manifests itself in all manner of ways… from the canteen which serves free hot and cold meals every day through to the 360-degree review process for each member of staff.
Track record. Both Cambridges – the one in the UK and the one next to Boston in Massachusetts – have a rich history of technology and no shortage of hi-tech companies based around them. Cambridge Consultants is often referred to as one of the two founders of the UK’sCambridge Phenomenon (although we do have offices in the other Cambridge too!).
Performance. In a recent interview by Business Weekly, our CEO, Dr Brian Moon, went on record as announcing that the company is currently enjoying unparalleled growth and has had the best performance in its 50 year history. These achievements, and our continual innovation for clients, has led us to win numerous awards including two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
Responsibility & opportunity. Part of the thing about employing exceptional people is that we give them responsibility quickly. The company has proven processes and systems to manage fast-track product development, but ultimately it comes down to people to make them happen. That kind of trust is empowering. That same ethos means we are a great place to work if you passionately believe in a technology or a market where you think you can make a difference. If you believe you can build something – and you can convince others of your conviction – then we are just the type of company to put a product development team around you and give you the chance to show your entrepreneurial skills. It’s exactly the way that all our successful business campaigns were started; by people with a passion to achieve.
The opportunity to become a millionaire. While most of our staff can spend a whole career developing new products and technology, some choose to take the entrepreneurial skills they have learnt and to create new companies from our spin-out function. We’ve created more than 20 new companies in our history. Many, such as CSR, Domino, and Xaar, have gone on to be fully listed on the stock market, whilst others have achieved high-value trade sales. It’s created dozens of millionaires in the local region and created more than 3,000 technology jobs.
Anyone for a job in innovative product development?