Where are all the engineers?

The Big Bang Science Fair takes place in March this year at the NEC Birmingham. We work with a number of brands who attend this event designed to attract the next generation of engineers, for whom competition has never been so tough. Despite countless government and industry initiatives, a UK skills and expertise shortage endures, as we strive to increase productivity and capitalise on the opportunities of Industry 4.0.

So how can you attract the brightest and best, from the available pool of talent?

Here are four key things we have learned about young engineers and their career aspirations:

Your corporate culture matters more than you think

Often organisations talk a lot about available roles and their engineering credentials. But prospective employees want to know about YOU, the employer. What do you stand for? Will they enjoy working for you, are there opportunities to progress, and even do you pay well? You need to explain and promote your culture, with honesty and credibility. Countless surveys confirm that Millennials and Generation Z care more than ever about their workplace cultures.

You need to bridge the age gap

Who better for potential recruits to hear from than your newest staff? When you attend an event or promote the organisation on film, or in print, use those who can relate easiest to the audience you’re trying to attract. And use the technologies and language of your audience. The corporate tone can be off-putting for teenagers and graduates alike, who want and expect a more human touch. That doesn’t mean ‘being down with the kids’. It means simple, honest, authentic language, delivered in the right medium.

You may need to explain your version of engineering

Many of the young people we’ve met understand the Science, Technology and Mathematics of STEM. What they don’t understand or struggle to relate to is ‘Engineering’. They typically think of manufacturing at scale. Employers have a job to do to promote their engineers. You can do this by celebrating your material scientists, software engineers, mechanical engineers, product designers and more. Our entire world is engineered, but we don’t do a good enough job of acknowledging and promoting it.

Where next?

You want to attract the brightest and best. So does everyone else. Competition for the pool of talent has never been harder. So how can you succeed? The answer, as ever, is to make sure the pathway to working for you is as clear as possible (and well resourced and managed). Your application process needs to be obvious, resources clearly signposted and career guidance available for those who want to know what qualifications or expertise they need. We often hear of young people who didn’t apply to an organisation, because they didn’t know the organisation even wanted their unique mix of skills.

You can find out more about the Big Bang here. Or you can speak to any of us at Engage and we’ll happily tell you what else we’ve learned.