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STEM Shortage Recruitment Tips

Findings by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) show that 43% of vacancies in STEM roles are hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills – almost double the UK average of 24%.

Pip your competition to the post and get proactive with our STEM skills recruitment tips.

1. Look for talent within

Establish the future needs of your organisation and assess your employee pool. Who, with the right mentoring or training has potential for an upward or lateral move? The advantages of filling vacancies with existing employees are clear.

2. Don’t overlook candidate capabilities

Recruiters often focus more on what a candidate has under his or her belt rather than what they are capable of doing, or what they could become. Don’t be hasty to judge on qualifications only.

3. Look beyond your sector

Many of the STEM skills overlap and by searching for candidates with transferrable skills you may find a few hidden gems, who with a little extra training, could adapt to fit your needs.

4. Partner with colleges and universities

Students may not have the experience right now, but keep an eye on the future and ensure that tomorrow’s talent has both knowledge of, and a pathway to, your organisation. Launch information campaigns into schools to encourage teens to see the value in STEM.

5. Retain experienced STEM employees

Hang on to experienced STEM employees nearing retirement for longer. Create an environment that’ll keep them on board for longer and consider offering reduced hours for a slower transition into full retirement.

6. Target women and minorities

The underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM sectors is a hot topic right now. Turn diversity from an obligation into a strategy for your business.

7. Offer flexible work options

See this as an extension of your employer brand, culture and values. Flexible working may mean that you are an employer of choice for the most talented workers.

8. Consider contractors

A temporary worker or freelancer with STEM skills may be just what you need to get a project up and running, rather than waiting for a full time employee who fits the bill. Faster, cost effective and often less risky, a contractor can often step straight into the required role with no training.

9. Have a talent pool

Whist talent pools in themselves are not a recruitment solution, having them in place will help track down the right talent quickly when the need arises. Stay on the lookout for STEM people within your network so that when the need arises you have list of potentials.

10. Engage with talent communities

Rather than scouring entire social media networks, engage with STEM professionals in areas in which they tend to gravitate; industry chat forums for instance. Work within these narrower windows, chatting and building relationships with potential candidates first, rather than openly recruiting.

11. It’s who you know

Candidate pools and communities will not only help you to find candidates directly, but are likely to bring referrals too. Small targeted groups containing the right people will indirectly promote your employer brand will likely link you to further passive candidates. Be ready to ask questions if it’s indicated they or someone they know are ready to make a move.

12. Organise 'own brand' Apprenticeship Schemes

Apprenticeship schemes, internship competitions and mentoring programmes bring young talent into your organisation and allow young people to decide for themselves whether a particular career or company is right for them.