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Global recruitment trends for engineering

Written by David Edwards, August 2008

No engineering employer can afford to ignore the option of global recruitment, however the principles of 'Sustainable HR Practice' must not be sacrificed. Firms must aspire to be employers of choice, focusing on staff development and engagement, high performance and consequent rewards, and low staff turnover.

Recruitment mistakes are always costly, but risks rise exponentially when recruiting globally. Technology provides a number of opportunities to reduce risk, for example by utilising online social networks to initiate dialogue with prospective employees and get to know them better. HD video conferencing offers an economical option for conducting initial interviews and eliminating unsuitable candidates.

A further alternative is the use of shortterm visas before the parties make a final commitment. This allows the candidate and possibly their family, to experience the Australian lifestyle, while the employer can ensure there is a good cultural fit.

Global recruitment should not distract HR staff from core activities, and engineering firms should consider outsourcing to global recruiters with international branches and alliances to undertake important meetings and checks at source. Outsourcers can organise migration, relocation, necessary health insurance, taxation and unique payroll requirements. They are also able to ensure that all repatriation issues are managed and that DIAC requirements are met.

The global shortage of engineers means that each firm is competing in a global market place for staff, not only to attract overseas engineers, but also to retain existing employees. Firms need to consider all the recruitment options, including nontraditional sources of immigrants, however the UK is once again experiencing a high exodus of skills. Mobile young and single engineers may be more attracted to the high salaries offered in the Middle East, whereas more mature engineers, perhaps with families, are more attracted to lifestyle. Offshoring and global virtual teams are other alternatives to consider.

Global recruitment is not an alternative to investing in Sustainable HR Practice in Australia. The reverse is true - firms will not be able to compete in the international market for engineers unless they are employers of choice.

Drake International is a global firm providing Sustainable HR Practice solutions, including Global Recruitment.

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