Engineering sector needs ‘radical overhaul’ to address continuing staff shortages

A new survey of companies in the engineering sector has found employers still struggling to fulfil their staffing needs despite the general economic downturn.

The poll of nearly 120 heads of HR at organisations across the UK established that over 80% felt sourcing suitably qualified engineers was either ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’. However only 18% of those questioned believed that they currently had strategies in place to successfully deal with the shortfall.

According to Damien Stork of the talent management consultancy Ochre House, which commissioned the survey, the engineering sector needs a radical overhaul of recruitment and development processes to deal with the problem. “The sector faces an immediate problem because the general climate of uncertainty means many of the brightest and best engineers are simply not moving at the moment,” he says. “This has made the long-term shortage of engineering specialists even more acute.”

Stork argues that engineering companies need to stop relying on traditional methods of sourcing staff, such as conventional advertising campaigns and recruitment agencies, and instead start building communities of potential future employees, whilst also ensuring their talent programmes are innovative and connect with their existing staff.

“Instead of just reaching out to the engineering community when they have a specific role to fill, recruiters need to be building long-term relationships based on advice, information and technical knowledge,” he says. “That means serious use of tools such as networking sites, online forums and blogs. Managed properly they have the potential to create candidate communities with their brand sitting at the heart. This in turn offers the chance to build internal and external pipelines of talent that could largely eliminate the problems employers face now.”

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