Shortage of engineers is a challenge

Written by
Marc Kooij
Published on
13 December 2018
Category
Blog

Technology plays a wonderful, innovating role in society, particularly in something like the energy transition, and that role is set to grow.

Technology plays a wonderful, innovating role in society, particularly in something like the energy transition, and that role is set to grow. Technology is the key to the future, but we need hands to turn the key.

The technology sector needs good personnel. The shortage of trained personnel is even being called a 'disaster' for regional economies. In our sector, there are more than 66,000 job vacancies. And that number is growing. How can we tackle this? And as an engineer, can you play a role in this?

I don't see this subject discussed much on platforms about sustainability. But one isn't possible without the other. We need engineers to think up and implement those new sustainable ideas. So in discussions about sustainability, I feel it's important to talk about how to attract and retain those talents. Because it's a vital condition for a sustainable future.

Interesting insights
When I started studying this subject, the first thing I noticed was that around 40 percent of the technically trained people don't or no longer work in a technical profession. They are truck drivers, shop assistants, transport planners, organisation consultants or production managers, for example. It should be possible to retain more engineers in the sector.

At the same time, fewer employees in technology appear to have done a technical training. Not only at management level, but also operational. This shows that there's plenty of potential to teach people the profession after they've come into the technical field from another sector.
Getting the right people
Apart from the many headhunters and job agencies (which do great work): companies must teach themselves to present themselves well to prospective employees. By seeking direct contact with them, you discover more about what they feel is important and what attracts them.

For each other - investing in knowledge and technology
As a company, you can give classes and guest lectures at schools and evening schools, for example. To get school children and students enthusiastic about the profession (and your company). And thus do something to tackle the shortage of teachers too. Communicating knowledge is hugely worthwhile and fun to do, and a lively practical story is also very inspiring to students.
Retaining the right people
Attracting suitable people is already a great challenge But just as important is retaining new (and old) talents in your company. By giving them personal supervision, offering them opportunities to grow and ensuring that they are in a job where they can fulfil their potential. The culture and atmosphere within a company plays an increasingly important role in this. Young talent not only wants a good salary, but also more abstract values. Like meaning, vision, involvement, sustainability, health, passion and good leadership. Vitality programmes and attention for the corporate culture are therefore indispensable to ensure that employees look forward to coming to work every day.

What can you do?
So plenty to do! And not just in the HR department, I feel. As an engineer, what can you contribute to the personnel shortage issue? My answer would be: ensure that you communicate your passion for your job as much as possible. Technology plays a wonderful, innovating role in society, particularly in something like the energy transition, and that role is set to grow. Are you as enthusiastic about this as I am? Then demonstrate it to young and old, at your work, in your free time, in the gym, and perhaps as a guest lecturer? Technology is the key to the future, but we need hands to turn the key.

This blog was previously published on Duurzaam Gebouwd
Marc Kooij

Ensure that you communicate your passion for your job. Technology plays a wonderful role in society and that role is set to grow.

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