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Overcoming the tight talent pool in technology

The UK's engineering and technology sector is without doubt one of the fastest-growing sectors. With growth continuing at such an impressive rate, it has continued to lead to consistent job creation, which is great for candidates actively seeking manufacturing and operations jobs. However, manufacturing and technology companies, recruiting talent has continued to become a difficult task. Companies across the manufacturing and technology industry continue to be faced with a tight talent pool, due to changing workforce dynamics and job creation.

As game-changing developments in technology become more advanced, sourcing and selecting the right manufacturing talent continues to be challenging. 

It's a job applicant's market in which qualified technology professionals can compare multiple opportunities until they find the company and job opportunity that offers them exactly what they require. Organisations that wish to succeed in such a candidate-driven market need to know what technology and engineering professionals are looking for and how to offer the right environment and package. 

It’s not just in the UK where it can prove difficult to find and hire tech talent, this is a concern on a global scale, with the war for talent and the increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. There is simply a shortage of qualified professional candidates when compared to the number of jobs in the tech sector. 

Tom Drew, Redline’s Manufacturing & Operations Principal Consultant discusses how to recruit for technical and manufacturing job roles for technology and engineering companies and what organisations should—and shouldn't—do in their bid to attract the best candidates.

When looking at 2019 and beyond, change will continue to be constant. We are in the midst of a massive demographic and technological shift. Consider these stats, for example.

  • 85% of the jobs that people will be working on in 2030 don’t even exist yet. 

Most jobs in the technology sector are what many would describe as skilled, so it’s vital that HR professionals and hiring managers tasked with the recruitment process speak the right language. It’s no good having Hiring Managers or Talent and Acquisition professionals who know nothing about the jobs they’re looking to fill and exactly what they entail. For example, for manufacturing engineer jobs, the hiring manager would need to understand what manufacturing engineers key responsibilities are including new product introduction, workplace methodologies and processes, and the manufacturing environment e.g. SMT etc to be able to evaluate if a candidate has the request skills for a position. Therefore, tech companies need to ensure those undertaking the recruitment are experts in the field, as this will enable them to build up a rapport with candidates, while also having more of a chance of finding the right hire. 

Hiring managers and decisdecision-makersld also consider looking beyond purely technical, process, and design capabilities to secure the right candidate to join their organisation. This can be achieved through competency-based interviews. Identifying competencies is one of the best tools that can effectively predict performance enablers and can help a business manage talent and articulate a unified, scientifically valid understanding of a high potential talent pool.

Technology and engineering companies and those involved in the recruitment process know exactly what type of candidates they’re looking for, but it’s important to delve a bit deeper to work out what the candidate will want from the company. Today’s engineering, technology and manufacturing professionals need to feel motivated and challenged, and this can often be a deal-breaker, so as well as determining a healthy salary and benefits, it's vital to consider what the job offers in respect of motivation.

Talking of challenges, the technology and engineering world is full of technical challenges and innovation, and potential candidates will love nothing more than proving what they’re made of by solving them. Therefore, it’s become somewhat common for challenges to be provided to potential new hires for them to solve as part of the recruitment process. This appeals to both parties, as the candidate has the opportunity to show off their skills, while the employer can potentially try before they buy.

Engineering, technology and manufacturing job seekers' expectations v. desires

In a study carried out by Gartner, it found that some benefits offered can be seen as basic expectations. Benefits like healthcare may be highly desired, but they're also basic expectations for job seekers. Instead, candidates want to know which benefits set the organisation apart, noting that educational benefits, well-being initiatives, and innovative perks (defined by Gartner as benefits that go above and beyond those typically offered by peers in a given industry or region) are far more likely to attract top talent.

70% of the organisations Gartner surveyed included those basic expectations in their job adverts, but the benefits most likely to influence an applicant's decision (perks, family benefits, continuing education, and well-being) were the least likely to be included in a job description. 

It's also a good idea to ask employees, especially recent hires, what brought them to your company and the key motivators. Knowing what made your staff choose your organisation over the competition can help you figure out where you're different; the benefits you think are nothing to highlight could be the very ones that are attracting stand-out employees.

Speak Their Language

Most talent with strong technical backgrounds are not actively seeking out new positions. This is because they're already in high demand and have had the opportunity to choose the type of company they wish to work for, which challenges HR professionals to get creative with their approach when sourcing and prospecting. To find the best talent, organisations have to put themselves directly in front of them. They can do this by attending industry events, seminars, trade shows or sponsoring technical forums.

We can help your technology business

At Redline, we’ve streamlined the recruitment process into an efficient method based on our significant insight and research, taking you through competency-based interviews, offer and declination and onboarding processes.

Redline Group offers knowledge-led, tailor-made recruitment programmes to suit clients’ specific needs, adopting a ‘partnership’ approach to ensure a detailed understanding of clients’ objectives and requirements.

For more information regarding how we can help your business, please contact Tom Drew, Redline’s Manufacturing & Operations Consultant on 01582 878848 or email


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