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IET reveals difficulties in recruiting high-level staff

Almost half of engineering companies are struggling to recruit senior-level engineers owing to competition for experienced staff, new research suggests.

The latest skills survey from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that UK engineering and IT companies still find it difficult to employ suitably skilled staff, with 34 per cent reporting that new recruits do not meet requirements.

But there is also a more specific problem in hiring high-level staff, with 48 per cent of respondents saying they continue to experience difficulties in finding suitable senior engineers.

Companies that have struggled with a skills gap among school leavers are focusing on those with more experience, the IET’s head of policy, Paul Davies, told The Engineer.

‘The reason why organisations are finding it difficult to recruit at a senior level is due to high levels of competition to hire experienced staff,’ he said.

UK companies need to improve the way they manage their talent, added Davies. ‘Engineers have made a big investment in choosing to enter this profession and need to work with their employers to enable them to excel and move up.

‘Furthermore, by up-skilling your current workforce and investing in programmes that acknowledge the skills they have, companies will fare better in filling those vacancies at higher levels.’

Companies are still looking to hire graduates and school leavers over the next 12 months, however, as only 49 per cent of roles are expected to go to experienced staff.

The 2011 skills survey also highlighted the belief among employers that something needs to be done about skill levels in engineering.

Thirty per cent of respondents said that the profile and image of engineering needed to improve and 21 per cent stressed the need to make it cheaper for organisations to offer training.

‘We are seeing more companies investing in professional registration programmes to ensure they are continually engaging their workforce and equipping them with the necessary skills to progress in their career and increase their earning potential,’ said Davies.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • In my opinion there is a massive gap of roles in between graduate level and senior level - early careers/entry level experience whatever you want to call it... There are plenty of people in this gap with 2-5 years experience that want to make the jump to 'senior' level roles but can't because either the company won't give them a chance, or they don't have a structure in to bring them up to the correct level.

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  • "The 2011 skills survey also highlighted the belief among employers that something needs to be done about skill levels in engineering."

    Don't they realise that this is their responsibility! This simply shows that we have poor senior management who only plan as far as the next set of results (and consequently their next bonus).

    Companies need to think long term like German and Japanese organizations - that is why they still have a strong manufacturing industry and we don't.

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  • No wonder, as long as one engineer in England makes 1/2 to 1/3 as his counterpart in the US, who will stay in England... even China is a better opportunity

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