I recently attended the UK Advanced Engineering Show and one of the core themes it seemed was businesses trying to collaborate more to offer their customers optimised solutions. For me engineering is all about the advancement of technology to aid human endeavour and it struck me how truly innovative and entrepreneurial the UK engineering sector is, and how enhanced collaboration offers the potential for greater knowledge share; and therefore greater advancement of the world we live in.
And yet…….. We live in a truly competitive global market, where business success is often linked to proprietary knowledge and finding a competitive edge. So what if the world collaborated more and competed less? Well that takes us down a route of economic ideals and political debate too complex for this simple muse, so I thought how about starting with the sharing of engineering skills between organisations?
A recent survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG indicated improving employment conditions with more vacancies across all sectors - “Higher demand was broad-based across all nine types of temporary/contract staff in October. Mirroring the trend signaled for permanent employees, the most sought-after category was engineering”.
Another core theme at the engineering show was the skills shortages in many specialist engineering roles, as a result of the neglect this sector has suffered over the last two decades. As increasing recognition of the need for economic rebalancing gathers momentum, more companies are looking to hire the most talented engineers.
So, at the commoditised end of recruitment markets we have an increasing need for specialist engineers in a sector whose recent unattractiveness has meant a shortage of talented people choosing engineering as a career. This is being arrested, but in the meantime would it not be more sensible to share those that are out there rather than fighting over them. In the meantime hire exceptional leaders to manage the complexity of joint ventures and get the best out of the entrepreneurial inspiration that is integral to the British way of working in the global race.
David Thomas is a Principal Consultant in the Energy, Manufacturing & Infrastructure Practice at Berwick Partners.