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How to Hire the Best Civil Engineering Talent in a Skills Shortage

  • by: Steve Grisdale
  • On: 26, Sep 2022
4 min read

The engineering sector is facing a difficult skills shortage. The shortage of STEM skills is costing the UK around £1.5 billion a year when it comes to training, recruitment, and lost productivity. What’s more, the engineering sector is predicted to grow over the next decade, meaning there will be even more competition for skilled workers.

 Strangely, more young people than ever before are studying STEM subjects at university, but less than a quarter of them are actually employed in STEM roles six months after graduation.

We know there is talent out there, but finding it, training it, and keeping it isn’t easy, and any company that wants to stay competitive will need the very best if they’re going to stay competitive.

How to hire the best engineering talent

Hire graduates

The simplest way to ensure you have a reliable pipeline of talent is to hire graduates. Many businesses look to already established professionals, while letting graduates completely slip off their radar. This can lead to them not pursuing careers in engineering at all, effectively shrinking the talent pool even further.

Relatively few engineering companies have developed a graduate scheme. A full developed graduate scheme doesn’t just hire new workers, it also trains new hires into fully qualified talent.

Show off your brand

Your online presence is one of the best ways to attract graduates, who will do their research before applying. But most candidates, regardless of age or where they are in their career, will check out potential companies online, so you need to make sure you look your best.

Utilise your social media, careers page, and Glassdoor to show what your culture is like, what your values are, and what your current employees think about working for you.

Talented candidates can go anywhere when looking for new roles. You must make them excited about the possibility of working for your company, and your brand is the best way to do that. Make your company known for its company culture, positive work environment, employee development, and incentives.

Review what you offer

Speaking of incentives, many candidates are now looking for more than just a paycheque. Across all industries, not just engineering, workers are expecting the complete package.

A skilled candidate may be more interested in a position that pays less, but offers a four day week, wellbeing initiatives, or remote or flexible working. Remote and flexible working are becoming more and more common, often expected, and if you don’t offer these you will likely lose out on top talent.

Offer training and upskilling

 Engineering doesn’t stand still. New techniques, new technology, and new tools are being developed all the time.

 If you can’t recruit new staff with the skills you need, it’s likely that some of your staff already have similar skills or knowledge that would allow them to be trained in new areas.  

Not only does this help you meet your targets and expand into new areas, it helps boost staff retention as your team will be able to improve their knowledge, skills, and overall employability. Job security relies on staying up to date, so your team will want to know they can grow their careers with you.

Offer training on core skills, as well as emerging technologies, organisation, people skills, managerial training, anything that can help your team grow and develop. It will pay off in the long run.

Use a specialist engineering recruitment agency

Lastly, if you’re looking for new engineering talent, you should consider working with a recruitment agency that understands your needs, and the overall job market in the industry.  

Recruiters will know what salaries candidates are looking for, where to find the best candidates, and have an established network of talent to tap into. These established relationships with their candidates is one of the best reasons to use recruiters, as they take a long time to build, and are highly valued by candidates.

Hiring the top talent in engineering has always been difficult, and will continue to be while there is a skills shortage. But as we’ve outlined, there are ways for any engineering company, regardless of size, to improve their chances of hiring qualified, capable, hardworking staff.

Learn more about how to address the skills shortage in the engineering industry, or learn why we need more women in STEM roles.

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