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How to Attract and Retain the Best Talent in Automotive Engineering

​It’s predicted that close to 20% of Engineers will retire or be close to retirement by 2026, according to a recent Engineering Today report. The ramifications of this for the Automotive Engineering industry will be immense, resulting in an enormous skill, knowledge and experience gap.

​In such a climate, it is imperative your company understands how to attract and retain the best talent. If you – like many other organisations – find yourself struggling to meet your resourcing needs, there are several adjustments you can make to both appeal to prospective employees and hold onto your existing workforce.

Identify Your Company Values, Vision and Mission

Values, vision and mission are often initially what attracts candidates to a company. People are enticed by (and much more likely to succeed and stay with) an organisation that aligns with their values. That is why it’s vital to not only truly understand your company values, but ensure they are firmly embedded within the organisation, and reflected not just your employees’ daily work but yours as well. As a leader, it’s important to make them a priority that guides internal decisions, not just merely a box-ticking exercise.

Similarly, financial rewards and benefits can only go so far. Today’s workforce wants more. They have a keen desire to understand the impact their work makes in the wider company, and the ‘why’ of their role. This should be reflected in your vision and mission, giving people something tangible to work for.

Once you have clarity around your company values, vision and mission, communicate this across your website, social media, professional networking profiles and recruitment materials. These are all extremely effective channels to showcase your employer brand and make the right impression on top candidates. If you’ve engaged the services of a specialised Automotive Engineering recruitment consultant, share these with them too. They can then put their expertise to use to ensure they are reflected across all your candidate touchpoints.

Create a People-Centred Culture

Company culture is one of the key employee retention strategies, not to mention attraction strategies. Building an employee-focused culture involves some legwork, but the payoffs are well worth the investment!

A few key components of a vibrant company culture include:

1. Open communication

Cultivate a space where you regularly share your business roadmap, but also invite feedback from employees without fear of repercussion or reprisal. You can then promptly address any frustrations or worries before they become deep-seated and lead to staff leaving.

Feedback might be through anonymous employee surveys, online channels, one-on-one/group meetings or a combination. Follow-up is the vital next step – either by acting on the suggestions or providing an explanation why you can’t.

You might also like to consider setting up cross-functional teams to further enhance communication throughout the company. This works especially well in Automotive Engineering contexts as it allows employees from often different departments to work together on projects, increasing engagement, encouraging team ownership and fostering networking opportunities.

2. The right management style

Gone are the days of micromanagement. The best managers today realise allowing employees greater autonomy over how they perform their role is essential for engagement, and thus, retention. This doesn’t necessarily mean a 100% hands-off approach, rather a support role (managed by clear boundaries) that allows staff to work out for themselves when and how they ask for help.

Employee recognition is another important part of fostering a great culture. When large projects are completed or smaller milestones achieved, encourage your managers to express their appreciation for each employee’s role. Apart from verbal recognition, consider other rewards such as team lunches, gift certificates, or even a simple “thank you”.

3. Work flexibility

The EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey of 16,000 employees across 16 countries found that 54% of people would consider leaving their job if they didn’t have some type of work flexibility. A savvy leader should contemplate what they can offer in this area, be it a work-from-home option, flexible start and finish times, or simply allowing employees to attend important family events during the day.

Focus on Competitive Pay, Benefits and Progression Pathways

It goes without saying that a competitive salary at or above market rates is a must for attracting the best Automotive Engineering talent in the market, but so is developing an understanding of what perks and benefits motivate your current employees (as well as job candidates). Your recruiter is a valuable source of information when it comes such going rates and candidate needs and wants.

It’s good to keep in mind that people are more likely to be attracted to – and stay at – a company that invests in them. Therefore, setting up clear progression pathways is paramount, carefully personalising them to individual career goals.

Progression pathways should include short- and long-term milestones aligned to professional development opportunities, from internal and external training to mentorship and job shadowing, to a commitment to promote from within (both laterally and up the ladder). Incorporate regular reviews to help your employees remain on track.

Refine Your Hiring Approach

If you’re finding it difficult attracting and retaining top talent, it is possible you are looking in the wrong places. Or you could be quite successful in finding candidates, but encounter problems in securing them before your competitors do. In both instances, aligning with a professional Automotive Engineering recruitment firm can be of great benefit.

Here at Fields & Rudd, we have streamlined best practice recruitment processes in place that allow us to optimally move through each stage. We can help you with:

  • Creating appealing job advertisements

  • Marketing your role and company whilst setting realistic expectations

  • Identifying and attracting the right people who align with your values, will grow with the company, and will stay for the long-term

  • Sourcing passive candidates

  • Collating candidate feedback and overseeing the offer stage

Please contact us to discuss how we can help you attract great Automotive Engineering employees and retain the valued ones you currently have.