“Engineering is an essential part of our lives. And tomorrow’s engineers and computer scientists are an important part of the modern marketing mix”
UK and Overall Landscape of the Engineering Industry
It is generally accepted that for entrepreneurs in need of top technological skills, Britain is an absolute goldmine. After all, Britain has played a large part in the development of many technologies that have helped shape our modern environment. However, the engineering industry remains as competitive as ever.
Testament to this, is the fact that Germany, Japan and the USA are no longer the world’s sole suppliers of cutting edge technologies. Countries like Slovenia and Romania are gaining ground as well. The reality is simple: if we want to remain competitive, we simply can’t be shy about getting the message across that Britain’s engineers and technologists are open for business and continue to (successfully) punch above their weight.
Increasingly, this message is also important for recruiting the best talent. Given that the number of young people opting for a career in engineering is flatlining, we need far greater promotion of our unique technical proposition.
Engineers and Future
Prince Philip, interviewed on Radio 4 recently, made the bold claim that ‘Engineers hold the key to our future’, stating they’ll be the ones responsible for solving the broad range of challenges we currently grapple with, from climate change to population issues. What is sometimes overlooked as we use and enthuse about the latest life changing technical ‘must haves’, software, or apps, is that without engineers, none of this would be possible.
As engineering and technology continue to become even more symbiotic, computer sciences are vital. Without them, tech simply wouldn’t exist and the business, commerce and leisure advantages would not be there to grasp.
The Youth’s Poor Perception of UK’s Engineering
Britain is still playing a key role here, but the most significant technological innovations are starting elsewhere. The UK currently ranks 32nd globally in terms of the percentage of the population that are computer engineers. Also, despite several governmental initiatives to grow this number, we still need to become far more visible as a technological nation.
And that means right across the mix. From manufacturing of basic components, to our world beating F1 technologies, to pure digital such as gaming and life enhancing apps, we need young people to understand the importance of the nuts and bolts behind the end result. We need our youth to get involved.
Britain today does not lack of smart youngsters with the potential to lead the next wave of technological advances. It is just that Britain’s industries need to give further encouragement to this vital audience and to use the communication tools we now have to promote the industry and their own potential, worth and values. Opening the digital doors and giving an insight into the benefits of working in your organisation and your industry is as vital a marketing exercise as communicating with prospects and suppliers.
Industry Leaders Practice
As ever, top line employers and those with deeper pockets are leading the way (Jaguar Land Rover has a specific careers site with a full package of insight initiatives to enable prospective employees to look at the ethos and the culture, as well as the opportunities). And while most smaller employers will not feel the need to have a separate careers site, the basic principles of what JLR is doing is a great example of using marketing as investment in the future.
Your website is a marketing tool and it needs to communicate with all audiences. But doing that effectively requires a certain style. A style that is anything but pushy. The aim is to create the sense of your company’s purpose and quality of your proposition. Following the inbound marketing philosophy of creating awareness, followed by an increasing understanding of your USP, is as valid approach for future employees as it is for prospects and suppliers. Making space on your website and on your blog for promotional collateral to appeal to those who may invest their career with your company, is a low cost and fast track way to maintain a top class workforce. Doing this (and doing it well) is important, as attracting the best and the brightest is difficult.
In 2016, working for one of the top ‘cool brands’ is the aim of many, and the pull of working for Apple or Google is obvious. For many however, the less corporate, faster moving environment of a start up is a more realistic option and there are real advantages.
Invest in Marketing to Attract the Right Talent
Marketing your organisation to recruit the brightest talent requires an honest assessment of what you can offer and presenting that to its best advantage. If fresh graduates are looking at your company and all they envisage is men (and only men) in overalls with oily rags, you need to look at your marketing.
Presenting your organisation at its best is a small investment, not only for your reach to prospects, but also to suppliers and future employees. And in the case of employees it’s a good investment for your industry and UK-plc too.