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How to beat the engineering skills shortage

  • Publish Date: Posted 6 days ago

The engineering industry is facing a catastrophic talent shortage. While every sector is feeling the pinch, 37% of engineering professionals believe their sector has been hit the hardest by the lack of skilled talent.

And the shortage of STEM skills is costing British businesses an estimated £1.5 billion every year in training, recruitment, temporary staffing and inflated salaries. More young people than ever are studying STEM subjects at university, but few end up taking STEM jobs, with only 24% employed in STEM roles six months after graduation.

So what’s wrong with the recruitment process – and how can we fix it?

There’s a huge gap between the number of STEM graduates and the number who go on to become qualified engineers. The key to overcoming the shortage is to bridge this skills gap and cultivate the next generation of talent. Here’s how.

1. Hire Graduates

While many businesses do take graduates on, few have developed an actual graduate scheme. This isn’t just for large companies. Create a graduate scheme that aims to upskill your graduate hires into fully qualified talent.

Your digital footprint is key to attracting graduates, so make sure your social media, careers page and Glassdoor show you in the best light possible.

2. Master the interview process

While you’ll naturally want to assess your candidates’ technical skills, don’t put them off with a tech test in the first round of interviews. Involve your top engineers in the process as early as possible, preferably in the first call, so they can talk through these skills rather than subjecting candidates to tests.

3. Review your offering

Attracting candidates in today’s market is about far more than pay. Get serious about your offering in terms of flexible working, diversity and inclusion, and wellbeing initiatives. Flexible working is the most in-demand benefit, and you’ll lose candidates if you don’t offer it.

4. Train to retain

Engineers want to know they can grow their careers with you, and they want to be mentally stimulated at work; if not, they won’t want to stay. Offering training is vital on both counts.