As the issue of talent shortages in STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths) continues to rage across the globe, could the engineering sector be facing a retirement cliff as it loses some of its top talent?
Peter Davies, Managing Consultant at Berkley Engineering discusses how more needs to be done to pipeline the future talent. With companies like Siemans recently introducing an engineering education and careers portal for schools as a means of bridging the skills gap, there seems to be a positive future. But is this enough?
To highlight the problem, it was recently estimated that, in America alone, STEM jobs will grow by 17% between 2008 and 2018, compared to just 9.8 percent-growth in non-STEM roles. However, at the current pace, the U.S. simply will not produce enough workers to fill the jobs.
So why is there a STEM gap? In a recent online poll by Our Future Mobility Now, the majority of respondents agreed it is because there isn’t enough promotion of how important STEM skills are in the younger generation. In order to prevent a possible retirement cliff then, there is a need for those in the sector to do more to reach out to the emerging employment generation and educate them on the importance of these skills sets. An initiative like Siemans is a step in the right direction, but more still needs to be done.
For those already established in the industry though, this skills gap means there are more employment opportunities currently available. However it’s important that individuals do not become complacent in their continued skills growth. As more is done to close the gap in emerging STEM talent, current professionals also need to look at continued development themselves to remain competitive. This is perhaps more important in the technology and engineering areas which are constantly evolving. So what can you do to remain a contender in the race for top skills?
Keep up to date
With constant changes and technology updates in the engineering industry, it’s vital that employees receive the relevant training and development to meet new demands and work with new machines. As an individual it’s imperative that you stay ahead of new developments by keeping up to date with industry relevant news and identify any areas where a level of ‘upskilling’ may be needed.
Look at training options
Identify any potential training courses which will help develop your career. The Institute of Engineering and Technology, for example, offer career training and professional development courses to help keep individuals grow their skills. Don’t forget to approach your current employer to gauge any possible training and development they can help with. This would also provide a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your eagerness to progress in your current role and could lead to promotional opportunities.
Keep abreast of changes in education as well. Ultimately, the emerging workforce is likely to have had training in the newest industry developments. The more education and training changes you are aware, the better placed you will be to compete against future candidates.
Utilise your network
It’s also advisable that you make the most of the knowledge base you have to hand through your network. The most valuable competitive advantage individuals in the engineering sector will have against future emerging talent is the experience and connections which have been built up during the course of their career. Make sure you are attending any relevant networking events and liaising with your peers to getting as much industry exposure as possible.
Build your online profile
Finally, look at how you can maximise your online presence to ensure you are visible to the right audience. With social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter increasingly being used to source top talent it’s imperative that you have a strong online profile. Make it easy for potential employers to find you by using keywords relevant to your experience, current role and skills.
While it is unclear whether the engineering sector will be able to address the issue of STEM skills gaps before it really starts to see an impact from the retirement cliff, the current workforce need to prepare themselves to compete with a potential influx of emerging talent. By following these tips above, you will be in a stronger position to get some of the best engineering roles out there.
Peter Davies is Managing Consultant at Berkley Engineering.
Russia may be gearing up for a shale boom but according to Dominic Morris, Director of Energy Business at Twenty Recruitment, the country could find itself short of equipment and skills.
Recent press reports have highlighted the potential that The Bazhenov holds to match and even exceed the shale production of North America but Russia is not an easy country to do business with – and nor is it an easy country to work in due to the very strict visa regulations. Additionally most of the drilling equipment is in Canada or North America, – as is the expertise – and so it is difficult to see at the moment how this shale boom could be facilitated.
A lot will depend on which of the major international oil companies are prepared to partner with Russia – if they get a US or European partner then they may be able to gain some traction in attracting expertise to work there. However given the recent difficulties BP have had out there, it is clear that other international players will tread carefully.
If Russia is to succeed it is going to have to offer some pretty big incentives for skilled engineers to move there and it will also have to radically review its immigration and visa policies – the iron curtain may have opened but it is still a fairly closed country.
Dominic Morris is Director of Global Energy Business at Twenty Recruitment Group
It is no secret that the oil and gas market is suffering a major skills shortage and it is also no secret that employers who want to hold onto top talent will often use money as a retention tool when someone resigns.
In my experience, job seekers who decide to actively look for another role have a number of reasons for doing so – and it is rare that it is purely about money. More often, while salary will be important other factors such as people, progression and culture will come into the mix.
If your move is purely money related and you are 100% happy with everything else in your existing role then you may as well accept a counter offer but in all honesty it’s probably easy to just ask for a pay rise rather than go to the trouble of securing another job offer first.
If it’s a frustration at a lack of career progression, the company culture and the people then it doesn’t matter how much the buyback is your frustrations will still exist – you’ll just have a bit more cash for your pain.
What will probably happen is that you’ll be asked to outline all the reasons which led you to your decision to resign. You’ll be reminded that the very least you owe them is an opportunity to understand your decision. Slowly but surely a number of more senior individuals will also want to talk to you and suddenly all the reasons for your unhappiness and the fact that your salary is woefully under market rate, will be magically wiped away. Because guess what? Everything is going to be different and just the way you wanted it to be – if only you’d stick around to see it.
This is what’s called “The Utopia Zone” – you start to feel pleased that you are obviously so important – and you crumble. What comes next is ‘The Real Deal’. There’ll be the compromises in the promises that you’ve been made. Then there will be the interviews with your potential successor (which they’ll be doing just in case you do decide to leave) who has a similar skill set to you but is on more money than you already. Then all of a sudden you realise that you are surrounded by the same people, with the same issues, the same lack of real progression and the same culture.
So why do companies counter offer? Very simply, in most cases it is hard to replace someone (particularly in this skill short market) during the notice period and recruitment is seen (wrongly) to be more expensive than counter offering. It’s easier to counter offer and throw some money at the problem than replace you.
So think very carefully, when you next look to move, about exactly why you are unhappy as you will almost certainly get a counter offer in this market. Why not just look for a job once and be happy – rather than go through the pain of the process twice to achieve the same result?
Dominic Morris is Director of Global Energy Business at Twenty Recruitment Group
However… this won’t be just any sailing trip of a modern vessel – Clive Palmer is planning a complete re-enactment of the titanic trip from 1912. That’s everything from costumes to food to music, chinaware, class structure – the whole shebang.
Tickets are for sale to take part in this momentous journey and if you want to see how the other classes lived, you can buy tickets that will allow you to soak up the experience of living in each of the class divisions.
Titanic II is currently being constructed at the Jinling Shipyard in China – the ship is to set sail in 2016.
The question is – would you buy a ticket?
Disclaimer: Any views here do not necessarily reflect the views of Jobsite. As such we cannot be held responsible for the views expressed here or any actions taken as a consequence.