Aviation maintenance’s need for new engineers is just one aspect of the larger market for newly graduated engineers. David Lynchehaun, sales director of the Morson Group, which helps recruit staff for aircraft maintenance and other industries, sees the big picture in the UK.
“Demand remains strong for engineering talent in the UK, but recruiting in the sector faces some challenges brought on by a skills shortage,” Lynchehaun observes. Due to new technology, clients are changing how they engage with recruitment firms. “And Brexit also looms with its uncertainty.”
A recent report by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies found demand for contract engineers down by 20%, but demand for permanent placement of engineers up by 16%. That’s good news for engineering candidates, with more steady jobs available. But it can make it tougher for hiring companies.
“In the UK, competition is fierce for top engineering candidates, and there’s a growing shortage of talent with in-demand engineering skill sets,” Lynchehaun says. Apart from aerospace, other sectors are also feeling the pinch. In the nuclear sector, for example, nearly half of workers will reach retirement age in the 2020s.
Given the shortage, Lynchehaun says it is increasingly important for hiring companies to ensure their candidates’ recruitment journeys are as positive and seamless as possible. “This is especially true with social media and smartphones making communication ubiquitous.” If a candidate is unhappy with a company’s recruitment process, the bad feelings can spread quickly.
Morson itself tries to provide candidates with the best experience, partly by offering the latest Web accessibility technology to minimize barriers to success.
Interestingly, some companies are exploiting transferable skills by hiring people from other sectors. “Casting the recruitment net outside of the traditional talent pool can help to deal with peaks and troughs during project delivery,” Lynchehaun says. It can also yield revealing insights into how to upskill other candidates.
As they leave school, engineering candidates consider many career paths, not just engineering. The Morson exec says many young people are simply unaware of the many opportunities available in engineering.
And then there’s Brexit. In the past, the UK has sourced workers from throughout Europe to fill labor gaps. “It’s unknown how Brexit will affect overseas labor pipelines,” Lynchehaun says.
But improving technology can help recruiters and recruiting companies. Technology now automates parts of recruitment, especially repetitive, high-volume tasks such as reviewing resumes. “Ultimately, artificial intelligence (AI) can make the recruitment process faster and more efficient,” Lynchhaun argues.
For example, AI video interview software can use biometric and psychometric analysis to evaluate not just the quality of candidate answers but voice quality, pace of speech, voice energy, avoidance of fillers, facial micro-expressions and body language. In other words, just the sort of signs that veteran interviewers look for.
Morson itself is using RecruitmentSMART software for recruitment sourcing and screening. And SniperAI uses machine learning and auto screening to help Morson match job specifications with possible resumes rapidly.