Written by Holly Watson | June 3, 2014
With summer fast approaching, thousands of students throughout the UK are on the hunt for that all-important first graduate job.
For many small businesses, this will mean that they are bombarded with applications for a limited number of vacancies. However, SMEs looking to take on graduate engineers may find themselves facing a different problem entirely with their engineering recruitment.
The industrial and engineering recruitment sector is one of the areas with the biggest increase in graduate vacancies in 2014, according to The Graduate Market In 2014 report.
However, fewer and fewer students are choosing to study the scientific and engineering-related subjects required for these roles. And with those who do have the required skills being snapped up by huge household names, how can an SME compete?
The first thing to do is to build an effective engineering recruitment strategy; think about how to position your business to attract the talent that’s usually lured by large companies. To help you achieve this, Webrecruit have compiled a list of their top five ways to attract graduate engineers:
1. Make your company known
As a small business, graduates might not necessarily be aware of your company or what you do so it’s important to make yourself known. Sure, you might not have the huge marketing budget of the larger engineering companies but that doesn’t stop you from developing a social media presence and interacting with universities and student organisations directly.
Some of the major employers in the industry visit the top 10-15 universities each year as part of their engineering recruitment strategy so try and do the same. However, don’t just neglect a university because it’s not top of the league tables. You might discover engineering students on more niche courses that might be more applicable to your business.
2. Take on placement students
Many degrees include the option of working for a year in industry, so offering year-long placements is a great way of introducing the next generation of engineers to your business. Plus, once they’ve familiarised themselves with what you do, they might be more likely to give you a call after they graduate.
3. Be realistic when recruiting
Engineering graduates fresh from university are highly unlikely to have the list of 10 niche skills you’re looking for; don’t reject applicants based on that.
They might not have been trained using specific machinery or software but chances are, if they have the fundamental engineering knowledge, they’ll be able to pick up new skills quickly.
4. Offer apprenticeships/training schemes
One of the common reasons that SMEs struggle to recruit graduate engineers is that they may be situated in a rural or remote part of the UK and are unable to offer relocation assistance like larger companies.
One solution to this, as proposed in a recent article from The Engineer, is to increase the number of higher apprenticeships, offering students a work-based route to a degree.
5. Sell the job (as well as your company)
Use your SME status to your advantage – you may be small but you’re growing. If it’s more likely that your new graduate recruit will have the chance to make a greater impact on your business than they would on a larger company, make candidates aware.
Talk about the great things that they’ll get to help create, the equipment they’ll get to work with and, most importantly, your growth plans and how they can be a part of that.
Still struggling to attract graduates? Why not enlist the help of Webrecruit who can assist with your engineering recruitment needs whilst driving down your time and your cost to hire. Request a brochure today by clicking here.