A few weeks ago, expert members of InterSearch Worldwide’s Industrial Practice Group met in person in Paris, hosted by the French member of InterSearch, Grant Alexander to make a global assessment of the industrial recruitment market, sharing thoughts and views. Here are the main findings of this analysis we performed and to which other InterSearch industrial experts from around the world also contributed:
This may not be a reassuring thought for the reader, but the candidate-driven market is not a phenomenon limited to 1 country or 1 region. Across the world, all experts make the same assessment: candidates have more options and are therefore in a position of strength, to demand higher salaries as well as other perks related to work-life balance. They are also way pickier when it comes to company culture. This leads to growing difficulties in filling positions: senior management roles in industries like engineering and technology are particularly affected, as well as middle-management roles across all subsectors. Johanna Horn, at InterSearch Germany, observes:
“For the younger generation (candidates up to the age of 40), values have changed. Relocation, frequent business travelling requirements, the number of office days etc. have become show stoppers, as work-life balance or just more time with the family have become more important.”
This tight market makes it difficult for companies to find suitable candidates, sometimes forcing them to simply give up and think of other ways to achieve a project.
Focus on Sustainability and CSR
Companies across multiple regions are increasingly prioritizing sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Candidates, especially the younger generation, consider a company’s attitude towards sustainability and values when making career decisions. This shift emphasizes the need for companies to integrate sustainability into their business plans and actions and communicate them effectively to attract and retain talents. And since all companies are now moving on the subject, those with the most visible commitment will make the difference. Fortunately, governments are also stepping up their commitment to sustainable development. Micheál Coughlan, at InterSearch Ireland:
“Our country is making a strong push towards sustainability, with initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy, and promote green technologies. This trend is expected to continue and create opportunities in the clean energy and sustainability sectors.”
See InterSearch’s article on Sustainability-related recruitments, here.
Impact of Digital Transformation
Digital skills and IT expertise are in high demand across industries, which have seen an increase in automation, robotization of their processes, globally. ERP, CAM, WMS software have become widely adopted, even in the most traditional industries, and call for experts to ensure maintenance and developments. The shortage of talents in this field favors the growth of parallel businesses, which provide industries with a wide range of IT-related services: training, software development, externalized maintenance, cyber-security…
In addition to local specifics (slowdown of the Technology sector in the US, high growth potential of the semiconductor industry in India, Aerospace rebound in France…), most markets witness a significant increase in the Renewable Energies sector, encouraged by government policies (see above).
“In Korea, the battery industry’s upstream and downstream sectors, including materials, manufacturing processes, and recycling, are experiencing growth, leading to a substantial demand for related experts” comments Jay Yoo (InterSearch South Korea).
The same observation can be made in many countries in Europe (Norway, France, Ireland…), where numerous projects of wind farms, PV fields, hydrogen production facilities are deploying, arising the need for engineers and experts.
Unfortunately, there is no sign of a calm-down in the coming months, and the war of talent will probably intensify. Most InterSearch partners expect a structural talent shortage in all traditional roles, which will worsen with the emergence of new roles (digital, cyber, CSR…). Frequently engaged in several recruitment processes at the same time, the candidates will remain unpredictable and highly unreliable, leaving the outcome of your process uncertain until the end of the onboarding!
“In this context, the value of Executive Search firms has never been so clear. Our role has shifted somehow: it’s not only about finding the right talent and assessing hard-to-find soft skills such as Initiative, Adaptability, Engagement…, but it’s also about advising our clients on how to react, training them on the best way to lead a recruitment project and to discuss with potential employees, whatever the level.” – summarizes Godefroy De La Bourdonnaye, Head of Industrial Practice Group of InterSearch Worldwide.
Here are some tips from InterSearch partners:
- Once you have a candidate secured for a 1st interview, be fast and give information on the process. According to Greg Harper, from InterSearch USA, “if the client is not prepared to move quickly and transparently, candidates quickly lose interest” and dropout. Frequent touch points are essential to keep the candidates involved in the process.
- Rethink your recruitment processes: be ready to tailor the job for the candidate, adjusting the content and the prospects to his/her expectations, and not the other way around. Improve the candidate experience and make the difference, including a visit of the plant / headquarters at some point during the process, or even offering a 1-day immersion! Stick to the WYSIWYG motto: What you See Is What You Get!
- Give an international dimension to the search, don’t limit yourself to your own territory. Some countries (i.e. Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates) are already used to go looking for expatriate profiles, worldwide. Ask your local InterSearch contact for more information on our cross-border solutions!
- As an employer, be ready to state your company’s Why? It does make a difference with candidates looking for a purposeful job.
- Work on your onboarding, to secure your new employees. But the job of securing the employee’s future begins even before he or she takes up the position, during the notice period with his or her previous employer! During this period, anything can happen: the profile may be bought out by the employer, he/she may change his/her mind, he/she may accept a better offer… Find excuses to stay in touch!
Contact the Industrial Practice Group experts of InterSearch worldwide.
InterSearch Worldwide is a global organization of executive search firms consistently ranked amongst the largest retained executive search practices in the world. InterSearch is currently operating with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries, able to operate in 70+. Established in 1989 in the UK, InterSearch carefully selects the best executive search firms to partner with as a member of a global entity with high integrity, transparency, and depth of experience. InterSearch prides itself on having a global reach with local impact.