Due to increased demand across all technical sectors, the engineering industry must recruit 1,200,000 new, skilled workers before 2020 (Royal academy of engineering predict)
Even after one of the worst recessions in history, which saw demand slow significantly around 2008, good engineers are still hard to find. What’s more, many are working far past retirement age and are expected to retire in droves in the near future. This could have a serious effect on your business.
The fact is, the UK simply isn’t recruiting as many engineers as it once did; we’re falling far behind countries such as Russia, China and India in the number of engineers we educate. Recent reports suggest that those engineering graduates who are coming through are largely working in nongraduate or unskilled jobs, with less than half (46%) in jobs directly related to their degree subject within six months of leaving university. The latest CBI survey confirmed that the shortage of engineering and maths graduates is an issue for businesses, but also raised serious questions about the quality of those graduates.
As Sir James Dyson warned a few years ago, the country will soon face a desperate shortage of engineers ‘unless something drastic is done…about 22,000 engineering students graduate every year, but there are 37,000 vacancies this year and that will soon rise’. It’s feared that companies will begin to move abroad – 80% of all post-graduate engineering students are from outside the EU and take their skills away with them. The recent visa changes are making it that much harder for firms to recruit from outside Europe…so what’s the answer?
Two words: Staff Retention.
Although a moderate level of staff turnover can be healthy for a business, long term staff retention is important for three key reasons:
- It’s essential that businesses are able to retain high-performing staff in order to maintain their competitive edge.
- High employee turnover can be incredibly costly, irrevocably damaging a business’ reputation in the market and leading to business being lost.
- High staff turnover indicates that staff are unhappy in the work environment; this can signify problems in the way a business is being run. Retaining staff helps you reach a greater understanding of what you’re doing right.
Are you worried how you can retain your staff? Time for me to give you some free advice.
According to research, the most common reasons for leaving a job are:
- Poor salary and/or benefits
- A lack of training and/or development opportunities
- Dissatisfaction with management and/or colleagues
- Lack of work/life balance
If this sounds like your work environment, you have the power to change it! Adopt a few of these simple solutions and watch your staff retention skyrocket:
Ensure any new staff being recruited have a realistic idea of precisely what the job entails.
Provide a mechanism for staff to register any grievances
Offer improved career development opportunities for all staff, including leadership training for managers.
Your ability to retain key employees is critical to the long-term health and success of your business; it ensures increased sales, satisfied co-workers and high levels of customer satisfaction. You’ll also enjoy more effective session planning and better-embedded organisational knowledge and learning.
Employee retention is one of the primary measures of the health of your organisation; if you’re regularly losing critical staff members, it’s a safe bet that other people in their departments are also looking for a way out.
So, to recap:
There are not enough experienced engineers to meet industry demand This has led to a war for talent in the UK, with many employers looking to Europe and beyond A cap on migrants from outside Europe is making recruitment from abroad difficult and leading to a further shortage Employers need to work hard at encouraging staff to stay with the business long-term.
As an engineering professional, you are currently involved in this war. If you’re working hard to recruit and retain top talent, only to find yourself losing the battle, that’s OK – I can help.