At a time when long-standing engineering and automotive businesses are experiencing skills shortages, I often hear frustration that ‘sexier’ industries are scooping up the top talent.
Interestingly, this concern comes from managing directors through to principal engineers and HR managers, and from SMEs to large OEMs. They’re working in future mobility and need skills to drive new technologies and applications – but think the tech-company-turned-EV-innovator or trendy-millennial-start-up are having an easier time getting the best people. But this is not the case; it’s tough across the board.
Every business needs to play up its own key selling points. Also, understand that one candidate’s dream job at an exciting start-up will be another candidate’s nightmare (lack of stability is often cited as being a stumbling block). Here are 4 ways to address the future mobility talent attraction challenges – and position your business as an employer of choice.
1. PROMOTE YOUR FUTURE MOBILITY VISION AND EMPLOYER VALUE PROPOSITION (EVP)
Future mobility is one of the most interesting areas out there right now - companies of all sizes throughout the auto supply chain need to own that excitement. After all, you’re at the forefront of an innovation revolution, so promote it with a clear future mobility proposition. Here’s how:
- Consider the business’ future mobility vision – this means looking at areas like core customer groups, routes to market, supply chain relationships, and plans to go from concept to commercialisation. This gives candidates a tangible growth story to connect with and be part of.
- Frame your EVP around the vision – once you have your vision, you can more clearly articulate what you’re offering candidates, answering the question: “Why should you want to work here?” This should include opportunities to make an impact and learn skills in interesting technologies, applications and projectsand how your culture fosters the community and collaboration needed to drive innovation.
AI pioneer NVIDIA is a good example of a compelling EVP in action. It focuses on how employees are ‘solving some of the world’s hardest problems’ and ‘discovering never-before-seen ways to improve the quality of life for people everywhere.’ It cuts directly to what young tech and engineering talent are looking to get from a job.
Cashless payment specialists, Crane Payment Innovations (CPI), fosters a culture powered by innovation. All employees are empowered to promote new ideas, explore Internet of Things (IoT) applications and apply innovation to their market-leading technology. CPI’s philosophy is to invest in their engineering talent – not just talk, but to really bring their vision to life. This has enabled them to not only attract the best talent but encouraged product development for applications such as EV charging stations, tolls, public transport and parking.
Both NVIDIA and CPI have EVPs that align with what motivates their ideal candidates, and are being recognised as exceptional employers as a result.
2. CONSIDER WHAT CAREER PATHWAYS, TRAINING AND BENEFITS WILL LOOK LIKE AS TECHNOLOGY AND MARKETS EVOLVE
When it comes to benefits and career progression, consider what drives your target talent. By next year, 50% of the workforce will be made up of millennials. This demographic prioritises flexible working and continuous development as well as competitive salaries. They’re driven by challenge and mental stimulation, as well as the freedom to think laterally and to come up with new ways to deliver business goals.
When you’re looking to boost your competitiveness within the skills market, ask yourself questions like:
- How will departmental structures and progression opportunities change? – job titles may stay the same, but the specifications and skills may evolve, and candidates will appreciate clarity on this.
- What training and mentoring should be in place to support professional development? – including ways to use Apprenticeship Levy funds.
- What partnerships can you forge with academia and industry to create attractive opportunities for staff? – MIRA Technology Institute is a good example to look at.
- How do benefit and salary packages need to evolve? – check out EV, CAV and infrastructure salary benchmarks in this eGuide.
3. LOOK FOR TALENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES
This has 2 elements:
- Finding the right skills – for this, I recommend using skills data to map your candidate pool. This will show you how many candidates there are with the skills you need, as well as where they live. For instance, you may be based in Oxford, but many future mobility testbeds are in the Midlands. (We can help you collate and analyse data to give you an accurate candidate map).
Also, change your recruitment mindset to be totally open to exploring different talent pools, targeting new types of people and exploring different ways of filling skill gaps. Consider breaking down job roles to attract specific skills, driving inclusivity and diversity with target transferable skills from the likes of gaming, software development and energy, and using contractors to fill immediate gaps.
- Finding the right cultural fit – culture is often seen as a differentiator for these ‘sexier’ industries, but it’s not all about superficial offerings like yoga and duvet days; it’s about fostering synergy among staff.
I highly recommend enlisting a good recruitment partner to help here. It’s one of those areas where having that external, objective brand ambassador is worth its weight in gold. When a partner immerses themselves in your culture, they can identify differentiators that will appeal to the current candidate market. ‘Partner’ is the operative word here. It’s not about getting a stream of CVs, it’s about using their understanding of your business, the talent pool and your competitors to find you the right mutual fit.
4. KEEP YOUR RECRUITMENT PROCESSES SLICK
Slick recruitment is about showing you’re a desirable employer – that you walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
Your website and social media activity must publicise your future mobility strategic vision. You need quick decision-making, because candidates will be considering multiple offers. And, interviews must be peer-to-peer discussions where you sell the opportunity as much as candidates sell themselves – it’s about “how we can achieve great things together?” instead of “Why should we hire you?”. You're promoting exciting opportunities, and your candidate experience should reflect this.
A QUICK START GUIDE TO COMPETING FOR FUTURE MOBILITY TALENT
These 4 recommendations will help you appeal to your ideal candidates, ticking key boxes such as showing you’re committed to:
- Helping people work at the cutting edge, explore ideas and achieve a work-life balance.
- Mutually beneficial development opportunities rather than a stereotypical ‘job for life’.
- Long-term future mobility success – for staff and for the company.
To get started, download this toolkit for setting your strategic vision, identifying skills requirements and developing career pathways in future mobility. The templates and checklists will help you refine your EVP and appeal to the talent your business needs.