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Difficulty sourcing engineering talent? Here’s what employers can do

2021 has provided significant labour market challenges, including candidate shortages within the engineering industry. Despite unemployment rates falling and visible signs of economic recovery, many employers are struggling to fill roles, with SEEK’s Employment Report revealing a 13 percent increase in engineering job ads in March 2021.

There are varied and complex reasons for why this could be; the unintended consequences of government incentives, like JobKeeper and JobSeeker, that appear to have resulted in reduced participation within the Australian labour market; employees’ hesitancy to change jobs when uncertainty is still pervasive; and the impact that the pandemic has had on workforce mobility, with boarder closures and a perceived risk of relocating.

Bayside Personnel has first-hand knowledge of this unique scenario for many engineering employers who are seeking talented professionals during this time. Traditionally, businesses will increase advertising in order to attract more candidates, however in this particular environment this isn’t necessarily the most effective strategy.

Here are some steps employers can take to aid in their recruitment efforts during this time.

Mitigate the risk for someone looking for employment

Candidate sentiment around job security is proving to be an added challenge for those looking to recruit new staff. According to a survey conducted by Bayside Personnel, 69 percent of employees were either concerned or very concerned about their job security during covid, signalling that this is a priority for many.

In this instance, employers may need to consider what they can leverage within their organisation to help mitigate the risk for someone looking for employment.

Reduce overwhelm in the recruitment process

According to insights from SEEK, almost 70 percent of active job seekers agreed with the statement “looking for a job is overwhelming”. In an already stressful environment where anxiety is high, it is important to consider if a stressful hiring process might be driving potential employees away.

As well as maintaining communication and reducing timeframes of the recruitment process, it may also be important for organisations to ensure they are not making job seekers jump through hoops to gain access to work. If tests are required, ensure candidates have the required technology at home. If on-site assessment needs to take place, ensure they feel safe and comfortable entering your workplace, and that you have a covid-safe plan in place. Wherever possible streamline and simplify the process for those applying.

Offer flexibility to stand out

Many people were forced to transition to working from home during the peak of the covid outbreak. And while it took some adjusting to, many employees are now hoping for more flexible working arrangements, despite being through the worst of the pandemic. Though this isn’t necessarily possible for all roles within the engineering industry, offering the option for flexibility or a hybrid model of work can help an organisation to stand out in the competitive market.

However, it is important to remember that while some might prefer working from home, others may be uncomfortable or unproductive outside of traditional work settings. Whether long-term or new employees, aim to have these individual conversations with employees to determine what mode of working appeals to them and will work for your company.

Think about retention as well as attraction

It is not only attracting employees to an organisation that will be important during this time, but also the retention of key talent that will be crucial for rebuilding post-pandemic. One of the best ways to maintain quality talent is to consider your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and whether it reflects the current environment and labour market sentiment.

The pandemic has changed attitudes of the workforce, with employees’ now wanting to find greater meaning within their work. In this way, organisations need to communicate their values, purpose and how they contribute to the community in their attraction and retention strategy. This is now a large component of what attracts candidates to an organisation and keeps them there.

Employers should also think about making a commitment to employees’ psychological and physical health and wellbeing, something that will be critical for not only attracting staff, but also retaining key talent. Placing an emphasis on the hygiene of the workplace and establishing a covid-safe plan, as well as prioritising mental health will help your workforce feel valued and safe.

Seek professional assistance

Once you have access to a pipeline of talent, the next step is to find and retain the skill set needed to grow the business. All of this in the current climate is not an easy task, and employers should consider consulting with and seeking advice from recruitment specialists who understand the challenges.

Organisations may be quick to dismiss the need for change in their recruitment process, but those that choose not to rethink their strategy according to the current climate and labour market will risk losing key talent to more competitive organisations.

If you’re experiencing challenges in accessing skilled candidates, click here to book a market insights presentation and confidential discussion with one of the Bayside Group’s senior leaders.