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How to Find Hidden Talent

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​“We don’t know what we don’t know” is a common frustration you hear at future mobility industry events. The potential is so vast – and the technology is evolving so quickly– that it can feel hard to plan.

One of the big unknowns is on the skills front. Companies struggle to fill future mobility roles because they’re taking a shot in the dark – putting out a wish list and then hoping the ideal candidate will materialise using conventional recruitment methods. But they don’t. 

So how do you find that hidden talent?

You need a data-driven approach covering these 4 steps:


Many companies recruit based on current vacancies rather than systematically identifying their needs for both the short and medium term. When someone leaves the business, the exact role replacement is often advertised automatically. This is a mistake, because you need to hire to meet both current and evolving requirements. In other words: don’t firefight, future-proof.

  • Conduct a skills audit for your existing workforce

    – include obsolete skills, skills you have right now and the gaps you’re currently trying to fill (get free future mobility skills audit templates and examples here)

  • Map out future skills requirements

    – consider the systems and technology areas you’ll be working in. If you’re implementing a new technology, plan how you’ll move through commercialisation and production-scale up

When you analyse the two matrices side by side, you’ll be able to prioritise, identify skill gaps and consider if adjacent industries can offer transferable skills

I also recommend downloading this guide, which benchmarks current and future skills requirements for EV, CAV and infrastructure. It’s a good starting point for completing your skills matrices! 


Companies often miss out candidate mapping, but this step can have a significant impact on your recruitment success. When you think about it, it makes sense to understand:

  • How many candidates there are with the skills I need? Because the fewer there are, the harder it will be to fill this position and the higher the salary.

  • Where do they live? Your headquarters are based in Oxford, but many of the future mobility test beds are located in the Midlands.

Let’s look at an EV example. 

One of our clients wanted to bring senior engineering expertise into the business – someone with EV experience who had also developed charging products. We did a geographic analysis of skills to see where the best talent was concentrated.

The results were a wake-up call for the company. The target skill set wasn’t available in the UK candidate pool, let alone around their specific location; ideal candidates were only located in mainland Europe, where the EV market is more mature. To recruit someone who fit the job description, the company would need to convince a senior engineer to relocate from Europe (post-referendum), pay a European market-rate salary and factor in relocation costs.

However, our knowledge of the UK candidate market and further geographic analysis showed that if the role was broken into two core functions, there would be a pool of high-quality candidates that could address the underlying need. We therefore provided several options for breaking down aspects of the senior role, drawing on transferable skills. With this new way of thinking, we helped the company address their skills needs and take the business forward.

See the importance of Step 2? 

It’s so valuable to have accurate location data for the skills you’re targeting (we can give you this) so you can get the right people as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.


Now it’s time to look at the financials. If you understand market rates, you can factor salaries into your planning process.

We have extensive salary benchmarking data you can draw upon. Use it, because you need to be competitive to get talent in today’s future mobility market.

To give you an initial idea, here are the UK’s most in-demand future mobility jobs and skills requirements for EV, CAV and infrastructure right now – including salary benchmarks (if you’re looking at candidates with 5+ years’ experience):

Now it’s time to look at the financials. If you understand market rates, you can factor salaries into your planning process.


Current vacancies for EV, CAV and infrastructure

Average salary benchmark


Battery specialist



Cyber/ethical hacker



Functional safety engineer



RF design engineer



HMI engineer



Power electronics engineer



Control systems engineer



Embedded software design engineer



ADAS engineer



Simulation/modelling engineer



App developer (charging points)



Electric machines engineer



Installation engineer (charging points)



Electrical engineer (V2G)


Make sure you keep on top of relevant benchmarks, because the labour market will continue to change as technologies and systems evolve. We’re always here to help if you’re unsure.


With record high employment rates, Brexit backlash, skills shortages and rapid technology changes, fewer people are looking for jobs or even using job boards. Plus, your ideal candidate may not think they have transferable skills relevant to your role, so your adverts and social media updates may pass them by.

Therefore, you need to take a more holistic and creative approach, even for mid-level roles. 

  • Get your employer branding fundamentals in place – ensuring your website and social media reflect the business’ future direction

  • Be prepared to sell the role to candidates – many will be considering two or three offers, which means you need to be clear on the value your opportunity provides. Others will be considering moves to other industries, attracted by new applications and cutting-edge technology. You need to give them a reason to choose you – differentiating yourself from other employers (including their current one) by offering interesting projects, benefits and flexibility, training and progression 

The truism that recruitment is a two-way street has never been more accurate, because with today’s candidates it’s not just about asking: “Why do you want to work here?” It’s about explaining: “Here’s how you’ll benefit from working with us.”

Here’s an example of creative candidate targeting approach in action. We helped a low-carbon transport innovation centre find a principal electric powertrain engineer quickly, thanks to our extensive candidate network. The client had been struggling to fill the role. We identified an engineer from an off-highway background who had the transferable and soft skills they wanted. We highlighted the role advantages – it was a unique opportunity to work on the cutting edge of a high profile, world innovative project, but was a role they would not have ordinarily applied for. Although he didn’t have the EV experience, he has hit the ground running without much upskilling – and is now flourishing in the role.

To find hidden talent, you need the right data 

Knowledge is power, so arm yourself with as much as possible to uncover the hidden talent you need. With the right data at your disposal, you’ll be in a strong position to find the skills essential to success, now and for the future. 


And to plan your workforce requirements, use the templates and checklists inthis free eGuide.

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Jonathan Lee

Solutions through understanding