COVID-19 has changed the way companies scout and hire highly skilled and technical workers such as engineers. Firms now need to emphasize how quickly they can recruit and hire in-demand engineers, and find a way to stand out from their competitors.
In the past, employers had more flexibility to take their time during the hiring process so they could thoroughly screen candidates and weigh their options before extending a job offer.
However, the days of hiring slowly and firing quickly are gone.
COVID-19 has added immense pressure on hiring managers and recruiters who now must find ways to quickly attract the best candidates before they are swooped up by other appealing offers. Traditionally, it took an average of 60 days for companies to make a hire, but top engineering candidates are rarely available for more than two weeks before they find another job.
Some firms have resisted adapting to this new hiring landscape. Although taking the time to vet candidates and look around for the best options can result in a good hire, it’s much harder to keep sought-after engineering candidates engaged through a lengthy hiring process - not when there are so many other companies eager to hire them on. Many other technical professionals are already comfortably employed and do not want to risk changing jobs following the tumultuous pandemic and economic uncertainty.
Recruiters are wading in a much shallower pool of engineering candidates, and recruiters who fail to prioritize their time-to-fill rates will have a much harder time snatching up qualified professionals when they do come along.
In this post, we’ll talk about why sticking with a long hiring process may actually hurt your firm, and how COVID-19 has changed the way engineers are recruited and hired in this already competitive industry.
Employers need to find ways to streamline their hiring processes with better systems and more resources devoted to shaving the time it takes to hire new employees.
When a highly-skilled worker leaves their job, it most often results in more work for their former coworkers. If the role isn’t backfilled promptly, the tasks that this person would have been responsible for are left with workers who are likely already performing at their maximum capacity.
This means that those tasks are either aren’t completed or aren’t completed to the same level as they would have been if there was another worker there to help lighten the load for the entire team. As work piles up, employees will feel increasingly burnt out and resentful at the extra responsibilities that they have to take on. In the worst cases, this results in poor workplace morale and high turnover rates as people leave for better opportunities at well-staffed companies.
Although skilled employees will likely be able to handle a little extra work for a few weeks, they likely cannot or will not want to continue stepping in to cover another staff member’s job. If workers feel that their hiring managers are not prioritizing filling the vacant position, they’ll likely become frustrated.
Sometimes you need to grow your team to keep up with demand in the industry. If your company is too slow to realize it needs to increase its workforce, you’ll quickly fall behind and constantly find yourself needing to catch up.
These delays can damage the company’s reputation, lead to careless mistakes, and impact future opportunities.
It’s important to realize that as your companies goals and projects grow in size and scope, you’ll need to grow your staff along the way.
As your team works harder and harder to make up for vacant positions, your competitors are gaining an edge on you. Even the most well-respected and largest companies risk falling behind as competitors advance and succeed.
If your team is chronically understaffed or overworked, it won’t be long until your company loses its spot in the industry. Competitors who are able to leverage their skills will be able to swoop in and take on more projects that would have went to your company. Eventually, you and your team will be left in the dust of the competition.
Although you’re saving money on a salary, each vacant position on your team is slowly bleeding your company of valuable resources.
Highly skilled workers generate revenue for their employers, and their absence can easily result in missed opportunities. Not to mention, you’re also spending money to recruit and screen potential replacements, which can quickly add up.
Workers have changed jobs at unprecedented rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trend isn’t expected to go away any time soon. A national poll found that 1 in 4 Canadian workers had considered a job change by the end of 2020, and workers will likely be moving around for quite a while after the pandemic subsides.
This means that your team will need to be ready to absorb extra work from vacant positions, but also your hiring team will need to prioritize filling new vacancies quickly before more people leave.
As mentioned before, your team’s morale will likely suffer as they continue finding themselves overworked due to vacant positions. This is even harder to avoid during COVID-19, which has affected nearly every aspect of our lives.
A survey found that two in three employers reported that maintaining employee morale was a challenge during the pandemic, especially at larger companies. The pandemic has also exacerbated underlying mental health conditions, which affect one in five Canadians.
Talented employees will likely not put up with poor morale and being overworked for long before they begin looking for better opportunities offered elsewhere. Even top employers can find themselves struggling with a “revolving door” of workers if they cannot find a way to attract and retain qualified workers.
More vacancies will inevitably decrease morale even further, and employees will begin losing faith in company leaders if they do not appear to be supporting existing workers and working hard to fill vacant positions.
COVID-19 has led to many changes in the workplace. Many companies have moved to more remote work and recruitment practices, but there has been widespread resistance to adopting these changes across nearly every industry.
An industry study found that remote engineering teams increased by 74% in late 2020 since the pandemic began that spring. Nearly two-thirds of executives said their companies would likely continue working remotely even after the pandemic, according to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Savvy companies have been able to nimbly adjust their workflows and embrace the reality that they’ll need to be doing business virtually now and into the future. Professionals have been able to realize that remote work has the potential to be more productive and easy to manage than traditional methods of operating.
Although you’ll likely be eager to get back to normal, the engineering industry will surely be retaining some of the new practices that have come about as a result of the pandemic, and failing to acknowledge those changes will put your team behind.
PHM has been recruiting engineers in Canada and the U.S. since 2001. Our team has shifted to remote engineering recruitment efforts as we continue to grow and evolve along with the rest of the engineering industry.
If your current recruitment strategy is not leading to the results you want, consider reaching out to us to discuss your hiring options.
Visit our Client Services page to learn about how we can future-proof your business to recruit the best talent for your company so you can collectively move forward from the pandemic.