Universities in the United Kingdom produce top tier engineering graduates every year with many of these having completed additional studies to further develop their skills both for personal reasons and to increase their employability. With such large numbers of engineers in the country trying to secure a good job, engineering recruitment agencies and companies may have difficulties finding, attracting and retaining top quality candidates with the right skills and abilities.
The following 5 skills, were highlighted by experts in the Engineering sector as being good indicators of an engineers’ future success. These top skills are:
1. Technical skills
The first and most obvious is that the candidate must have the correct technical skills. This includes not only the correct qualifications and training; but are they up to date with current technology and industry best practices? Often recent graduates, coming straight from university lack the necessary job specific skills. This is a gap that internships help to bridge, providing young engineers a way to develop their skills in the real world, in a controlled and supervised environment. Although there is a growing focus on the importance of soft skills, candidates also need to have the technical ability necessary to be successful in the role. Education does not stop when your employees graduate from university and employers should encourage all employees to attend regular training courses to ensure that their technical skills are current.
2. Communication skills
Communication in a vital part of any role, particularly in engineering where engineers can routinely be expected to work within teams, conduct site visits, and report to clients. Engineers (particularly senior ones) need to be able to clearly articulate complicated ideas or address sensitive topics in a clear and concise way to ensure the success of their projects. Recruiters look for engineers who can express themselves both verbally and non-verbally and are able to adjust their vocabulary and delivery to suit the recipient.
3. Interpersonal skills
As noted previously, engineers do not work in isolation, and every engineer will be expected to work in or lead a team at some point in their career. Strong interpersonal skills will allow for employees to build and maintain effective working relationships. Interpersonal skills are hard to deduce from a CV, so it is important that when you bring candidates in to interview so that you assess their interpersonal skills. Asking job specific questions regarding how they would act (or have acted) in high stress situations and assessing how the applicant conducts themselves during the interview will allow for the employer to gauge the applicant’s interpersonal skills.
4. Problem solving and critical thinking skills
In any industry, things don’t always go to plan and employers want to know that their employees have the skills to be able to overcome obstacle or resolve issues that arise during the course of their work. Thinking creatively and critically is only part of problem solving though, as engineers often work across multi-discipline teams, they will need to be able to effectively communicate and organize other team members if necessary, to fix problems. This key skills weaves together an engineer’s technical skills to spot the problem and their communication skills to resolve it. Since engineers are expected to be able to identify and resolve complex problems on daily basis, this is a key skill to look for.
5. Enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment
Enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment are contagious and that is why recruiters are looking for individuals who display these traits. Employees who are enthusiastic about their work are more likely to be open and willing to expand their skill set and to take the initiative to drive their own lifelong learning. Having committed employees will also reduce the company turn over, increase company efficiency which will make your work place a more attractive option for job seekers.
Hiring an engineer with the right skills and fit for your project can sometimes seem like an overwhelming decision for some companies due to the sheer number and variety of graduates available in the market. Often companies use specialized recruitment agencies who have time, resources and experience to help guide employers. Using refined recruitment practices and by looking out for engineers who have the skills outlined above, recruitment agencies will help to decrease hiring time and increase employee retention and overall job satisfaction.