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Field Service Engineers: A Tale of Two Halves

Mar 16 • Features, Management • 3079 Views • No Comments on Field Service Engineers: A Tale of Two Halves

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Lucy Davies, a field service recruitment specialist with Concept Resourcing explores the challenges of attracting talent in the field service industry…

If you’ve ever been tasked to recruit experienced engineers, you’ll know how difficult it can be to find the perfect candidate.

Experience, remuneration and loyalty are all barriers that businesses encounter time and time again in the hiring process.

Companies are constantly struggling to strike the right balance between sourcing an experienced candidate with specific qualifications, versus hiring a younger engineer with less experience; but with huge potential to learn their trade and mould to the business needs.

With demand for field engineers at a constant high, what should businesses be doing to attract an effective team?

Working together

There’s obviously pros and cons to hiring from each candidate pool, a lot of companies want employees who’re fully skilled and can hit the ground running.

There’s no reason why businesses can’t look at creating a balanced workforce with a mix of experienced and younger employees.

Unfortunately, for some industries this does rule out a lot of the younger workforce.

Take commercial catering, a lot of roles now require individuals to hold valid COMCAT tickets; unfortunately, the majority of candidates in the industry progress to catering after serving anything between 10-20 years servicing white goods.

Therefore, by the time a candidate has sufficient knowledge and experience in the catering sector, they’re often approaching the latter end of their career.

So what’s the answer?

There’s no reason why businesses can’t look at creating a balanced workforce with a mix of experienced and younger employees.

On-the-job training is where a lot of engineers hone their skills, therefore creating an environment for candidates from both ends of the spectrum to work together and learn from one another is a great way to get a diverse and effective team.

Brand and benefits

In recent years the trend to ‘job-hop’ has emerged amongst younger generations and millennials.

While 30 years ago a lot of employees would find themselves in a role with a company that they stayed with for the majority of their careers; these days once training is complete it’s not unheard of for people to move businesses every 2-3 years.

Whether it’s due to working environment, pay or career progression, it’s a trend that’s increasingly frustrating for businesses who’re investing time and money into training their team.

There’s no reason why businesses can’t look at creating a balanced workforce with a mix of experienced and younger employees.

To combat this trend, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to create an enjoyable and sustainable working environment with great employee benefits to not only attract talent but retain it too.

Courting a candidate

The drop in apprenticeships in recent years has meant that there’s a real shortage of skilled field, therefore attracting quality candidates is paramount to any business.

Businesses need to consider the commitment and training they provide to their employees to ensure they remain within their business and help keep the industry alive with experienced, quality engineers.

Without a steady flow of trained engineers, recruiters have two candidate pools to target, those experienced candidates who’ve been in work for many years and those relatively new to the industry.

Attracting both pools of talent requires two completely different strategies.

With the advent of social media and 24/7 online access, a lot of younger engineers are looking to internet to search for work and will actively seek new opportunities through LinkedIn and Twitter as well as uploading their CVs to a wide range of job boards.

For the more experienced candidates, recruiters can’t rely on internet applications alone and need to run head-hunt campaigns while building relationships with candidates to attract the best talent to their businesses.

Strategic support

There’s no doubt that the challenges facing recruiters in the market will continue for many years.

As a result, businesses need to consider the commitment and training they provide to their employees to ensure they remain within their business and help keep the industry alive with experienced, quality engineers.

If more companies can continue to invest in cross-training engineers from similar sectors and buddy less experienced individuals with knowledgeable mentors then it’ll not only mean that there’s more quality engineers in the market, but it’ll allow businesses to shape their teams, ensuring they breed the right skills, attitude and work ethic into its workforce, ultimately delivering a better service to its clients.

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