Making the move to a small engineering consultancy

Our Director Neil has kindly shared his thoughts on joining Link in April 2022. We hope you find it interesting…

“In my career to date I have been fortunate to work on some challenging and interesting projects for two large engineering consultancies. I don’t regret doing so and have had some great experiences. There are some obvious advantages to working for a large company and I understand their appeal, particularly for graduates.

This year, I made what I considered a big decision and left my position as an associate at one of the biggest engineering consultancies, to take on a new challenge with a small, relatively new, Birmingham based consultant. My role would be to lead and develop the Manchester office.

I had my reservations, which I imagine would be common to most people joining a smaller consultant, irrespective of position:

  • Would I have the same job security? Was the company stable?
  • Would I have the opportunity to work on large and varied projects?
  • Work-life balance; would it be more demanding than I could handle in a working day? I have a young family I need to work around;
  • Would opportunities for training and development or career progression be more limited?

Much as I could see the obvious opportunity to be part of the journey and create something, it also felt like a risk and a departure from my comfort zone.

During my ‘decision phase’ (as I now refer to it!), I had several conversations with the founding directors, visiting the Manchester and Birmingham offices. I was given a good feel for the company and in the end opportunity won out over risk and I decided to join Link.

I can honestly say that Link does not feel like most companies. There is a real team atmosphere which is derived from a healthy mix of interesting project work, personal relationships, pride in delivery, a passion for engineering and applying it to the value of our clients. Investment in staff development and knowledge sharing is a priority and there is also a healthy social side, with numerous events throughout the year.

The business has strategic relationships (and is co-located) with mode transport and Air & Acoustics which works to the benefit of all three organisations, providing strength in depth and a wider service offering for clients. There is a clear strategy and direction which is well thought out and communicated. Staff at all levels have an opportunity to influence business operations and outcomes in a real and tangible way, based on our collective positive and negative experiences elsewhere. There’s a ‘why not?’ culture, rather than any ambition to become like other employers.

My concerns over the current size of the company were probably natural given my background in working for large consultancies, but it’s evident that whilst Link was only established in 2019, the strength of the business is underpinned by longstanding relationships and the trust built between staff and clients. Link doubled in size through the pandemic by selectively recruiting a pool of talented engineers and consistently delivering. There is a good balance of ambition and caution and Link have delivered some large projects, behaving like a ,much bigger organisation.  I understand the attraction of working on big, well-known projects but on reflection, the principles of all engineering projects are the same and working in a role in a larger organisation could lead to a narrower scope of role compared to a smaller firm where you are more likely to experience a project end to end.

Delivery is well managed in a positive and supportive way. Like any business there is ultimately a need to deliver for our clients, but people are always willing to help if anyone is under pressure and staff up to and including director level are actively involved in engineering delivery.  

Link offers a great opportunity to feel valued and have a positive influence on the development of a growing company. It’s a great place to develop the full range of skills you need to become a well-rounded engineer in a supportive environment and growth provides opportunities for progression.

I wanted to share this in case anyone happened to find themselves in a similar position. That said… of course we are recruiting 😀, see our latest career opportunities, but irrespective, we are always in the market for the right people. Please do get in touch.”