This article was originally featured in The IMI Magazine, February 2017 issue, as part of Recruit to Success Recruitment Focus.
THE HIRING RANGE
Hiring skilled staff in the automotive industry today is a tough business. Not selecting the right person for the role can cost a company greatly. During the recession the sector lost many skilled workers to other industries, but as recovery has been substantial enough to see the UK’s car production peak just behind Germany and Spain, the industry is once again hiring to rebuild its workforce. However, along with reports of a skills shortage, automotive companies have found it difficult to recruit and retain employees with the ability to work across multiple areas as vehicles become increasingly technical.
The first step in any hiring process is not only a full and clear understanding of the role required but of the current external drivers. It’s all very well placing an advert for a new position but is the starting salary enough to capture the right attention?
Having a good understanding of what job seekers of the calibre you are trying to attract are looking for, including salary and training, is essential. Interestingly, it is often the smaller independent garages which have their finger on the pulse of these needs and are more flexible in their job specifications in order to engage with the right candidate. Having a good agency on board can help enormously. Invite them into your business; let them understand the culture, the standard of your existing staff, what is important to you and what the benefits of working with you are. Any agency worth their salt will also have a good view of the current marketplace and what potential candidates are looking for. While placing an advert on a recruitment site will bring you a vast quantity of potential job seekers, using an agency ensures that you only get the quality prospects as all applicants will have been pre-screened – saving you an enormous amount of time and effort.
LOW TURNOVER DESIRABLE
Regardless of size, it is important for all automotive companies to realise that there is a greater sense of determination from job seekers entering the automotive market today. They recognise the progression opportunity this booming industry can bring and, in the case of permanent recruitment, we see that today’s skilled technicians are very much aware of their value and continue to actively seek new job opportunities. Therefore it is essential employers don’t overlook the importance of retention. A high turnover of staff can also have a negative impact on the reputation of a company, which can deter the employment of even temporary placements during peak periods.
With automotive technology moving at such a high pace the industry needs to train employees to ensure they not only retain their workforce, but that they possess the right blend of skills and education to complete technical jobs effectively and keep up with the evolving technology.
While we don’t have any hard data, it’s very apparent from the number of people calling us seeking employment that de-motivation is a major factor for finding a new job. Money is actually lower down on the list. What employees are actually looking for is the option to progress and better themselves through training and the potential to move up the ladder. A frequent question during the interview process from candidates is: “Is there further training?” While many companies promise this, they are not always delivering. Some of the larger automotive companies are beginning to realise this and are doing more to retain their staff, while smaller companies are seemingly less mindful of the fact.
Delivering on these training promises, while setting out a clear career path, is essential during the recruitment process to ensure the right candidate is employed. Not doing so can ultimately affect the morale and motivation of the workforce, so outline this during the initial drafting of the job specification and the interview process.
BY GAVIN WHITE, AUTOTECH RECRUIT MANAGING DIRECTOR