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How to attract engineering talent

by Heat Recruitment

Amidst a national skills shortage, high-calibre engineering candidates are hard to come by. According to a recent government study, the sector would need an influx of 186,000 candidates every year until 2024 in order to make up the deficit.

For qualified engineering talent with a proven track record, it’s good news: holding all the cards, their job search will likely be a walk in the park as eager employers jostle for position to secure the best and brightest to their firm.

For these eager employers, however, the talent-tug-of-war is increasingly tough. If you’ve got your eye on a particularly attractive candidate, the chances are you’re not alone. While inspiring younger generations to study and explore careers in engineering is a sure-fire strategy to grow the talent pool in the long-term, it’s certainly not a quick-fix solution to the current skills deficiency facing firms today. If they are to recruit and retain the best available talent today, there are several short-term hiring hacks that employers can make to their existing process:

Promote a strong Employer Value Proposition

If you want to attract strong candidates, you must be able to demonstrate why people would want to join; you must give them a reason to select your firm over the competition. Generally speaking, most engineers are enticed by roles that present them with a cutting-edge challenge and the opportunity to use the skills they have acquired to solve it.

Beyond compensation and attractive benefits packages, ambitious candidates in this fast-moving sector want to know how their day-to-day activities will make a difference. If you can define this in the job description, you’re well on the way to a compelling offer. That said, money talks: if you can afford to meet the industry average, this is not an area you should look to make savings on.

It also won’t harm to have a reputation as an employer of choice for your positive company culture, supportive environment and willingness to provide paid training and development – then again, these components are perhaps a given in any successful retention strategy.

Innovate to inspire

When it comes to sourcing engineering talent, try to keep in mind that the best candidates may not be actively seeking employment, browsing job boards or firing out their CVs to every ad available. However, that isn’t to say they can’t be lured in by a company whose values and objectives align with their own.

In an age characterised by digital transformation and technological evolution, it’s hard not to be drawn in at the prospect of joining a firm on the cusp of innovation. Engineers are problem solvers by nature; their ability to combine critical thinking with creativity to find unique solutions means they are unlikely to be motivated by a company who is afraid to challenge the status quo.

Not only should your firm be prioritising innovation to win new contracts, it should reward innovative behaviour to attract skilled engineers eager to put their skills to good use. Knowing they are joining a culture that actively encourages new ideas, a bright spark in a dimly-lit environment won’t hesitate to explore the opportunity you have advertised.

Make diversity a priority

In an industry famously lacking in female contribution, breaking the stereotype as an engineering employer is essential in attracting a broader range of talent to your firm and thus, a larger volume. It may take years to encourage more women to join profession in the long-term, but investing in diversity today will certainly aid if you are eager to capitalise on existing female talent in the market. Of course, diversity starts from within; cultivating a reputation as a diverse employer demands a commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture within your firm.

Giving female role models a voice and promoting their visibility to your workforce and the wider community is a good first step, as it shows potential female candidates that they won’t be alone in an uphill struggle towards promotion. However, policy change is equally as important in shaking off the chains of engineering’s male-dominated past.

If if they are to encourage skilled workers from every corner of the talent pool as opposed to just one, firms in this sector must keep up with society by offering flexibility, training and support to accommodate for needs of their candidates.

Heat Recruitment specialise in hiring for the engineering sector.

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By Mike Taylor