Known for inspiring innovation, creating jobs, and stimulating growth, the technical and engineering industry is vital to the UK economy. Companies all over the country recognise the significance of the technical engineering sector, and that’s why they are committed to attracting and retaining top engineering and tech talent to drive success. In order for the tech engineering industry to continue its prosperity in the face of rapid technological shifts and economic challenges, it is crucial that organisations recruit the right people for all-important engineer and tech jobs.
While there are numerous hiring pain points that make it difficult for manufacturing engineering firms to bring in high-quality candidates, such as a chronic skills shortage and an ageing workforce, recruiting exceptional talent is certainly achievable. With the right talent acquisition strategy, your business will be able to hire high-calibre, forward-thinking candidates with the skills to help your organisation to reach new heights. In this guide, we’ll look at the importance of the technical and engineering industry and the best ways to attract top tech talent.
The Importance of the Technical and Engineering Industry
The technical and engineering industry has been a significant contributor to the UK economy for many years. The sector contributes £645 billion to the UK’s GDP annually, a figure that accounts for almost a third of the country’s overall economic output. It also employs a sizeable portion of the population, with eight million people in engineering-related roles. Recognising just how crucial the sector is to the UK economy, the government has pledged £179 million to support the next generation of engineering and other STEM professions.
Though the technical and engineering industry is faring much better than other sectors, there are various issues that threaten to damage its prosperity. From engineering recruitment challenges like the skills gap to a struggle to catch up with technological developments, the sector acknowledges the need to address these issues if it is to continue to have such an impact on the UK’s GDP. Businesses are already implementing strategies to mitigate these issues, including greater investment in training and development, promoting diversity, and streamlining the recruitment process.
A surefire way to protect your engineering business from the potential damage caused by sector-wide recruitment problems is by attracting and retaining the perfect candidates. With the right skills, expertise, and innovative mindset, you can be confident that your organisation will carry on contributing to the technical and engineering sector.
Ways to Attract Top Engineering and Tech Talent
Given just how critical the technical and engineering sector is to the UK’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent cost-of-living crisis, there is an unprecedented need for engineering firms to recruit and retain top talent. By 2024, it is predicted that there will be 2.5 million job openings across the tech and engineering sector, creating a competitive market for employers seeking the best and brightest.
Despite the number of rivals vying for top engineer and tech talent, there are ways you can gain an advantage over your competitors. Let’s take a look at the best strategies for filling engineer and tech jobs with exceptional candidates.
1. Strengthen Your Employer Branding
Amid a competitive, candidate-driven market, technical and engineering firms must find ways to make themselves stand out. A key method for achieving this is bolstering your identity and reputation. To carve your own unique brand identity, it is important to be open about the values and ambitions that define your company.
Remember, you’ll want your desired candidate to feel part of your shared mission, so be sure to showcase your ethos on your job advertisements, website, and social media. A statistic to bear in mind is that 79% of job seekers examine a company’s mission statement before applying, so effectively communicating your purpose to applicants is essential. Choosing to invest in employer branding is a tried-and-tested method for attracting and retaining talent.
An important step is to establish a unique value position that differentiates your brand from your competitors, highlighting your mission, culture, and passion for innovation. Once you have this in mind, you can feel confident in showcasing your brand identity and achievements to employees, future candidates, and the engineering community via social media and at networking events.
Specific ways to boost brand identity include posting employee testimonials, providing positive employee experiences, and highlighting commitment to investing in cutting-edge technologies to inspire innovative candidates.
2. Offer a Competitive Compensation Package
The popular UK job board CV-Library revealed that 81.6% of applicants view salary transparency as the most important factor when looking for their next opportunity. Given that many candidates enter the technical and engineering profession due to the high-earnings potential, it is paramount for businesses to be upfront about pay and ensure that their compensation and benefits packages are competitive.
It would be helpful to conduct market research into what competitors are offering to get a sense of how you can make your packages all the more attractive. If you make your compensation plan visible and comprehensive, you are bound to draw in top-tier candidates. By their very nature, engineers tend to be detail-oriented and analytical, so it is imperative that you also highlight the various benefits and perks that you offer, such as work-life balance, annual leave, and performance bonuses.
3. Provide Regular Training and Development Opportunities
As professionals with sought-after skills, tech and engineering staff are always keen to brush up on their capabilities, not least to keep up with the latest technological innovations and developments. By providing regular training sessions and professional development opportunities, you’ll be demonstrating your dedication to getting the best out of your staff. A well-trained and professionally nurtured team will not only boost your job satisfaction and employee retention rates but also help you enhance productivity.
The engineering sector is always evolving, not least because of emerging technologies and new methodologies. Investing in frequent trading programs for your engineering staff will help them stay on top of the latest trends while learning specialist skills that yield better outcomes at work.
Whether you wish to enhance your theoretical knowledge or practical skills, there is an abundance of training programs out there. For example, the Institution of Engineering and Technology offers a number of programs delivered by specialist trainers in-person or virtually, covering areas of expertise such as information and communication, electrical engineering, and energy and power.
4. Make the Role Intellectually Stimulating
It is essential to ensure that you engage and intrigue your potential employees, so making the role as intellectually stimulating as possible is a must. You should ensure that the job posting clearly outlines the sort of challenging tasks the postholder will be expected to do daily, aiming to capture top-quality candidates' attention.
The goal should be to empower your incoming tech and engineer professionals to be as creative as can be. To achieve this, you could ask them to carry out a task that involves high-tech equipment or a complex problem. For example, if your business specialises in mechanical engineering, you could ask them to design innovative power-producing machines such as electric generators and internal combustion engines using the latest precision engineering tools.
5. Use a Specialist Recruitment Agency
Another effective way to draw in outstanding engineer and tech candidates is to partner with a specialist recruitment agency. With expertise in the world of tech and engineering recruitment, these agencies will be able to connect you with a much wider pool of active and passive candidates and save you the hassle and cost of advertising your available position yourselves. There are a range of additional benefits for companies who use a specialist recruitment agency like MCS, including:
- Streamlined hiring process. Enlisting the help of a dedicated recruitment specialist can make the hiring process all the more efficient for your business. You’ll be free to focus on your day-to-day operations, safe in the knowledge that your agency is taking care of recruitment tasks like screening CVs, negotiating salaries, and conducting interviews.
- Best-in-class industry insights. Recruitment agencies with expertise in the world of technical and engineering recruitment will be able to provide you with best-in-class insights regarding industry trends and hiring best practices. They can also offer recommendations in other key areas, such as what terminology to use in your job ad or what specific qualities to look out for in candidates.
- Long-lasting relationships with expert recruiters. Once you have had a productive experience with a specialist recruitment agency, you’ll know that you’ll be able to rely on them for hiring support in the future. Developing a long-lasting relationship with a recruiter is a vital step in your long-term talent acquisition strategy, and in time, the agency will gain a much deeper insight into how your company operates and the type of candidates you wish to attract.
The technical and engineering industry is integral to the UK economy, contributing £645 billion to the GDP annually and employing eight million people in engineering-related roles. To attract and retain top engineering and tech talent, businesses should strengthen their employer branding, offer competitive compensation packages, provide regular training and development opportunities, make the role intellectually stimulating, and partner with a specialist recruitment agency. By implementing these strategies, businesses can overcome hiring pain points and hire high-calibre, forward-thinking candidates with the skills to help their organisation reach new heights.
Our Commitment to Technical and Engineering Recruitment
As an award-winning agency with technical and engineering recruitment expertise, we are passionate about sourcing high-quality professionals to fill our clients’ roles. Our specialist teams work across a wide range of sectors, serving job seekers and employers alike all over the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and the USA. Whether you are a candidate looking for the latest tech and engineer jobs or a business looking to attract and retain excellent staff, we are here to support you.
If you’d like to hear how we can help you with your career progression or talent acquisition strategy, please contact us today.