If you’re currently hiring Engineering & Technical staff for your Consultant Engineering organisation, you’ll know all about the skills gap within the sector.
Working in the sector, you’ll now be fully aware of the demand for your services, being regularly tempted by moves to competitor firms.
The results of this are far-reaching – overwork, projects turned down or postponed, lengthy recruitment processes, and unsettled staff. These all cost time and money, and then there’s the cost to bring someone in. Contract Scotland’s 2023 Salary Survey reflects the upward pressure on salaries in the Consultancy sector, and you may find yourself paying a new recruit £1,000’s more for less experience than that of people you already have.
There are initiatives out there looking to improve the future of the sector, with Graduate Apprenticeships key to this, as well as longer-term projects to get school-age young people interested in Engineering, and in particular young females who remain grossly under-represented. These are laudable and should not only continue but increase in size and scope.
What about the here and now though?
We’ve been giving serious thought to alternative approaches to finding good candidates now, and are sharing them here so you can think about what might work for your business:
Open Sector – consider technically qualified candidates from other areas of construction, such as housebuilding, main contractor, or architecture.
Open Industry – look at other engineering sectors such as oil & gas, manufacturing, or aerospace.
Overseas (Visa) – there are great candidates from Australia/New Zealand as a prime example, who are entitled to work in the UK for an initial 3 years.
Overseas (Sponsorship) – candidates who would require sponsorship from your firm to work in the UK. Civil Engineering is a government-recognised shortage occupation.
Retired – experienced people who may want to work part-time following retirement who can provide valuable mentorship to young engineers.
Freelance – consider freelance candidates as a shorter-term option to fulfil immediate needs.
Internal – last but not least, who is already in your business and ready to step up to more responsibility? This may open a path to bringing any of the above into their vacant position.
We know not every business has the capacity to consider some or all of these approaches, but if even only one could work for you why not explore it? We have worked with firms in your sector in Scotland this year at different times on every one of these, and we are happy to discuss details of how they work in practice.
Contract Scotland will always let you know how it really is – there are clear downsides to any of these approaches, as well as a host of upsides you may not have considered yet, such as cost and broadened project capabilities.
Think about diversity of skills, experience and thought as we all change our ways of working towards a more sustainable future.