Headlines such as ‘skills shortages in engineering sectors’ and coverage about how it’s a ‘candidate’s market’ for technical candidates could lull you into a false sense of security if you’re looking for new job. Although employers are finding it difficult to recruit in the construction engineering fields – as well as cyber security, another sector we service – that doesn’t mean the market is without its challenges for candidates too.
From feedback we receive both from technical candidates and clients, the following themes have emerged. If you’re looking to make a move and find a new job, I suggest you give the points below some thought before launching yourself on the job market!
Challenge 1: Lack of realism!
Many candidates believe that a candidate’s market equates to larger salaries. While a skills shortage does drive market rates up, that doesn’t mean you can take a figure from thin air and expect an employer to agree! Market rates reflect the current economic and recruitment conditions, as well as an individual’s experience and skills. Therefore be realistic. Find out what the market rate is for the position you want, and use that as a guideline for negotiating salaries.
Also consider what else a job opportunity offers. Could you gain experience that will enable you to earn more in the future, is there clear career progression, are there other benefits that will ultimately give you more money in your pocket?
Challenge 2. Misrepresentation
We often get feedback from clients and candidates who’ve had negative experiences with other recruitment agencies. The problem is misrepresentation when a candidate is put forward for a job they’re not suitable for. A common reason for this is that the recruitment agency doesn’t understand the role clearly and how the candidate’s experience and skills relate to it.
This is a real challenge for technical candidates who operate in highly specialist fields if they’re represented by a generic recruitment agency. Although an agency may have a construction engineering desk, consultants often don’t understand the various areas and functions that make up this field. As specialist recruiters we have specialist desks such as CAD & BIM, Building Services, Civil etc., our consultants therefore have in depth knowledge of each specialist area and can represent candidates accurately.
Challenge 3: Finding a good fit
Another challenge that can also result in being misrepresented by a recruiter is if you haven’t identified the kind of employer you want to work for. Firms vary enormously and so it’s really important to find a good fit. Do you want to be a big fish in a small pond? Do you want to work for prestigious clients but perhaps be one of many other employees in a large firm? What kind of company culture, ethos and values appeal to you?
Employers are also looking for a good fit, but that can be difficult to see on a CV. So try to identify the type of company that would be a good fit for you. Then you can focus your efforts and time on pursuing opportunities that are more likely to result in a job offer and better job satisfaction.
Challenge 4: Demonstrating business acumen
Increasingly we’re being asked for technical candidates who can win business. This can be a problem for people who don’t see their role as ‘business development’. However, once you start looking at what you actually do day-to-day, and especially any client-facing activities, you may be surprised to find that you can demonstrate business acumen.
If this is an area you think could do with some work, read our blog post on why there’s high demand for technical candidates who can win business here.