Finding talent is about more than technical skills

In its latest white paper, EngTechNow explores the loss of productivity when engineering firms replace staff; the ‘Retention Gap’. Their report reveals that productivity lost through handover activities and the integration of new staff amounts to £5,128 for engineers, and £4,908 for senior technicians.

Keith Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of Matchtech, spoke to EngTechNow about this issue and explained why surging demand for engineers, amidst a skills shortage, means engineering companies must work hard and be innovative to source the right people and retain staff.

Keith explained, “There has been an increase in recruitment in almost all sectors of engineering.

“Clients need to recruit for replacement roles as people move on, as well as new posts that are opening up to support business growth. This is a big shift from the uncertain recession years when many permanent staff stayed put and new roles were limited.”

“The days of pulling out a job spec and matching it with CVs are gone – or if they are not, they should be. Technical skills can be learnt and transferred but behaviours can’t; if a company hires someone with the right technical knowledge but the wrong professional or personality fit, it probably won’t last.

“Applicants must also be given all the necessary information to fully understand the company that they are potentially joining to ensure full commitment from the outset, so they don’t move on soon after joining. This means companies must not only sell themselves well, but they must outline the culture, vision and direction of the organisation.”

“If companies explore what appeals to potential applicants, they will also identify what appeals to their own staff. For example, by opening up new opportunities to work in other parts of the business – and even abroad – companies may find more staff will look to progress where they are, rather than move on. Furthermore, when a business is investing heavily in someone’s career, knowing whether the cultural and professional fit is right is particularly important.

“Getting the cultural fit right is vital, but businesses must also have an open-minded approach to recruitment so they can tap into every available resource. They should not limit themselves to a small number of people with highly specific experience or they risk a lengthy candidate search and overlooking other potentially suitable candidates for the business.”

“Our latest Confidence Index, a survey of over 3,500 engineers, found that 59% of the engineering community would consider transferring to a different engineering industry. This willingness to move widens the pool of talent significantly, and seeking transferrable candidates should be an integral part of recruitment strategy.

“However, employers must also support the transfer of engineers with the necessary training and development programmes. While we have seen a strong rise in apprenticeships to attract young people into the sector, we have not seen enough commitment from businesses to support the transition of existing technicians and engineers who want to move across engineering disciplines.”

“Getting the cultural fit right is vital, but businesses must also have an open-minded approach to recruitment so they can tap into every available resource. They should not limit themselves to a small number of people with highly specific experience or they risk a lengthy candidate search and overlooking other potentially suitable candidates for the business.”

 

Read the full report from EngTechNow here.

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