ARM Holdings, one of Britain’s top high-tech engineering firms is setting up a degree course to grow its own talent after struggling to recruit the people it needs.
Despite offering a package worth more than £40,000 in salary and stock options to recent graduates, ARM has so far failed to entice enough young engineers.
The company, which designs the microchips found in 80% of mobile phones, is now developing a four-year masters degree with Loughborough University as one of several schemes to increase the pool of available talent.
ARM is one of the UK’s most successful companies, with its share price rising 1,200% since it floated two years ago. It entered the FTSE 100 this year and is now among the top 50 UK companies, with a market value of £8bn.
But HR director, Bill Parsons, said despite offering fantastic financial rewards and `the most interesting, exciting job you could have’, the company is still struggling to fill vacancies.
`Working for a company as generous and as successful as us has got to be one of the most attractive propositions. But because of the lack of hardware and software engineers, we are having to work very hard to find people,’ he said.
The 10-year-old company employs 525 people and its headcount is growing by 30% a year. It has offices in the UK, US, the Far East and Europe. In the past it only hired experienced people, often going abroad to find them, but now wants to nurture talent and hire recent graduates.
The Loughborough course will produce 20 hardware and software engineers each year, after taking them straight from school. The chosen students will be sponsored through college and given paid work by ARM during the holidays.
Other schemes to attract new talent include developing ties with 12 universities and opening regional offices to target the local workforce in places such as Sheffield and Nice in France. The firm said its fast growth has added to the problem because it is not yet a well-established name.
The CBI’s latest industrial trends survey shows that skills shortages are holding back growth more than at any other time since October 1997.
Dominique Hammond writes for Personnel Today
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