14 Mar, 2019 / BY Felicity Warner

How to attract the best new electronics manufacturing talent

Electronics manufacturing offers a diverse and exciting range of career opportunities.

Many manufacturers are actively invested in building their own talent through the creation of engineering placements, graduate schemes and apprenticeship opportunities.

And rapid advancements in innovative new manufacturing technologies - from virtual reality to 3D printing to smart factories - means there's plenty to attract students, graduates or school leavers into the industry.

Things also stack up when it comes to remuneration, with the latest EEF Electronics Manufacturing Fact Card reporting that the average annual salary is £3,258 higher than the whole economy average.

But nonetheless, attracting and securing the right talent continues to present some very real challenges for manufacturers, with a recent survey from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) reporting that more than three-quarters of businesses are struggling to make the hires they need.

So what can electronics manufacturers do to boost their visibility, stimulate fascination for the industry and put themselves in front of the right audience?

Stay visible

What's for certain is that being able to offer your prospects multiple 'touch points' when it comes to their exploration of your business can be hugely beneficial in making sure you stay visible in an increasingly competitive market.

We're living in an undeniably digitised age, so having a robust online presence, active social channels, a user friendly website and a comprehensive careers page are all essential elements of a concerted recruitment drive.

But it's also important not to forget the value of 'old school' face to face communication - and in particular the role that events such as careers exhibitions and open days can play in boosting your company's profile, providing fresh insight into your business and connecting you with the people you're after.

Exhibit at a careers expo

Sure, taking part in careers exhibitions can take up a lot of time and resources but they also provide a valuable opportunity to seek out prospective new talent.

Students are there because they're actively looking for information, they're comparing options and they're often ready to make decisions.

Your company's attendance at an exhibition sends a clear message about your commitment to identifying and securing the best people that you can find. But key to your success at any exhibition will be to make sure you've got the right representatives fronting your stand.

While it's important to have someone who speaks for the management or decision-making level of your company, there is also huge benefit in inviting your apprentices, graduates, and industrial placements. After all, these are the very people who have lived and breathed the recruitment process and who are working in the types of roles that you're looking to fill. And providing the opportunity for your prospects to chat to like-minded peers and to get honest, no-nonsense answers will be hugely helpful in building connections and garnering trust.

Once you've decided who you would like to act as the spokespersons for your business, make sure they're thoroughly briefed on whom they're likely to be speaking to, and and the range of questions that they're likely to be asked.

With so many businesses competing for attention, it will also be important to make your company memorable - whether that's in the choice of display that you select for your stand or any special give-aways that you offer to visitors.

Hold an Open Day

An Open Day event is an ideal way to attract new talent, to give your prospects a first-hand, personal experience of your business to showcase your people, products and processes. It's also the next logical step for anyone who may be looking to submit an application to your company.

Opening your doors to potential new staff (and their family members) can be hugely valuable, both in helping their decision-making and in giving you meaningful insight into their suitability as a member of your team.

You'll want to ensure that there are plenty of staff on site to answer any questions. And it may also be helpful to offer workshops, demonstrations or taster sessions to give your visitors a better feel for what they'll be likely to be involved in day-to-day.

Securing school leavers or graduates with the right combination of technical knowledge, practical experience and personal qualities is vital for building (and keeping) a highly skilled workforce.

By taking part in careers exhibitions and open days you can boost your company's visibility and provide your prospective employees with a "window" into the atmosphere, culture and day-to-day operations of your business.

Written by Felicity Warner

Felicity has over 8 years’ experience in Electronics Manufacturing Services in both customer service and costing roles. In her current role at ESCATEC as Cost Engineer, Felicity works closely with the Business Development and Key Account Management teams to prepare competitive quote proposals for clients.