Changing Landscapes: Future Demands

Rebekah Valero-Lee Rail and Transportation

Adrian has been Morson International’s operations director for the past five years. Adrian’s passion for innovation and commitment to delivering tailored solutions to employees, candidates and clients alike puts him at the forefront of our industry.

Having been at several conferences recently in the nuclear, rail and technology sectors the one constant theme from all of them has been about how are we going to deal with the future demands for talent. The most recent I attended was CIPD’s annual conference ‘Shaping the future of work’, and having listened to many interesting discussions on the topic, I was inspired to write my latest blog on changing landscapes. Please let me know your thoughts on this very topical subject.

We are, as recruiters, constantly faced with the challenge of change, particularly when it comes to long term projects and the talent that will be required to complete them. A great case in point here is HS2.

It’s staggering to think just how long term the HS2 project is. The vast array of highly-skilled talent that will be needed throughout its lifetime and even before a single piece of track is laid. Its enormity is compounded when you consider that a first-year apprentice involved with helping to put the final touches to the HS2 project might only be a toddler today!

As a recruitment specialist, we play an integral part in ensuring both the short term and long term requirements are taken care of for all our clients – even though, particularly in the case of the long term, the requirements aren’t always fully formed.

As tendering begins for HS2, this mammoth infrastructure project will require a huge amount of talent across multiple disciplines. In order to meet this demand, we as recruiters need to up our game and make sure the best talent is deployed in the right places, and that the supply does not run dry before the project end. My colleague Gary talked in his own blog about the rail skills gap and how we should aim to tackle it. It’s up to employers and recruiters alike to help solve this.

For a project with immediate needs like Hinkley Point C, clients must shift to look at what added incentives they can provide in order to attract the best talent. EVP is now a major point for companies and with candidates, now quite rightly, demanding more from their employers. If relocation is required for a candidate, what can the client do to help mitigate the impact of a change in lifestyle and environment for them? After all, we are now in a time where striking a positive work-life balance is one of the primary motivators for candidates across all disciplines.

All of this is pointing towards a change in what is needed right across the board. When I started in recruitment in 2000, I remember making sure that I was in the office as early as possible to ensure that I received the pick of the CVs when they arrived in the post. We would communicate through fax and print advertising. I remember the arrival of the internet generation, of LinkedIn, of mobile communication. In a short space of time the landscape has changed and the old world doesn’t exist anymore. By the time we need those signalling engineers or nuclear technicians to work on the new HS2 line or Hinkley Point C, this world won’t be the same either.

“When I started in recruitment… we could communicate through fax and post print advertising. In a short space of time the landscape has changed and the old world doesn’t exist anymore.”

It’s fascinating to think that statistically, 65% of children entering primary school today will forge careers in completely new job types that don’t exist yet.

The challenge is trying to second-guess where the best talent will be looking in ten years’ time and use the huge amounts of data that we now have at our disposal – from qualifications to personality types and cultural fits. We have a vast knowledge of the now – but we must be ready to understand it in the years to come as the landscape shifts again.

What all good industry leaders realise is that we cannot remain set in our ways. We must embrace change, opening up to new ideas.

Afterall, what gets you there won’t necessarily keep you there…