Guest Post By Edward Sell, Pegbox Recruitment Ltd.

With the Motorsport build in full swing, Skilled Composite Technicians are always in high demand at this time of the year. In fact, demand for such skills and experience outstrips supply highlighting a growing shortage in what is a booming sector. Across the engineering industry in 2018, nearly two-thirds of businesses were not confident there would be enough people with the skills to fill their job vacancies. This is true for both permanent and contract roles.

The causes for these shortages are well documented and rather than getting any better, matters seem to be getting worse each year. This is not the intended topic here as we can all agree or disagree as to the causes of the lack of new and available talent.

So how does Pegbox find and retain contractors when there is such a shortage and so many competing companies?

Firstly, you have to manage your clients’ expectations just as you would your own by accepting that filling every role or retaining every contractor will be a real challenge. It is crucial that customers understand this and are provided with relevant market data regarding shortages and competition. It might help them put in place contingency measures to adapt in the short term but also invest in longer-term solutions addressing these skill shortages.

Secondly, from a recruitment perspective, having to fill the same job more than once is a disheartening feeling and a waste of everyone’s time.  So rather than only aiming to get the right person for the job, it is maybe more important to get the right job for the right person. If you look after the interest of your contractors and candidates, they will in turn naturally look after those of your customers.

Sourcing candidates has to be done in many different ways, ranging from the traditional methods to various social media tools as well as coming up with innovative ways to get ahead. But of course, nothing beats recommendations.

It is important to spend as much time as possible with with your candidates. You need to get to know what is important to each person as well as understand their priorities and ambitions other than just remuneration. Yes you are against the clock to get candidates CVs in when competing with other agencies, nevertheless, investing your time with each individual is ultimately rewarding. As well as getting a better understanding of their skills, you can also ascertain if the opportunities you have for them are more likely to be the right job. So when your candidate starts their new role with your client, it increases the chances of success. In addition, I feel that you are also more likely to get recommendations if you work with this approach. Recruitment does not have to be a ‘sales’ job.

Throughout the duration of a placement, you must remain available and encourage contractors to communicate if they encounter any issue which may have an impact on their commitment to the contract. Information is key to supporting contractors through whatever issue they may be facing.  

Undoubtedly there are always going to be other opportunities which will tempt contractors to leave. People’s behaviour in the last days or weeks of a contract will have a lasting impact. It can be a positive or negative one. I often hear contractors talk about ‘not burning bridges’ as it is a small world. This applies to all parties, the clients, contractors and agency.

It is very likely that over the years, you will have opportunities to work with the same contractors over and over again. It is one of the advantages of contract work.

People will have varying and possibly opposing views on how to retain contractors. These views may range from offering retainers, bonuses or applying penalties, etc.

But none of those can replace the value of investing your time in your candidates and contractors. Recruitment must be about people first, not sales.

Pegbox is built on and remains true to that core principle. Our contractor retention rate backs this approach. www.pegbox.co.uk

composite skills shortage