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Where is the young talent?

Where Is The Young Talent?

The BBC have reported what I believe most of us suspected and that is that manufacturing is growing at a fast rate. Activity in the manufacturing sector has actually grown at its fastest pace for three years according to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

This is great news for all of us who operate in the sector, but it’s also not without its problems. There is still an important question to be asked: will there be enough skills to allow the growth to continue? Trade skills, specifically electrical and controls engineering are at a real premium, with companies fighting over experienced talent. With many people leaving the sector through retirement or progression into other, more lucrative areas, maintenance engineering has struggled to attract the right amount of talent. Data suggests there is a current shortage of 69,000 engineers and technicians entering the sector. I’d argue that there are not many better learning opportunities for a young engineer than working in the manufacturing sector – the degree can come later, should you so wish.

Apprenticeships are on the rise – but is enough being done to ensure we have the talent? With so many different degrees available costing thousands of pounds and with little vocational experience gained at the end of the four years, isn’t it now up to the government to convince more companies and young people with the relevant abilities to consider starting their careers with manufacturing apprenticeships?

Employers and recruiters have a responsibility. We need to ensure the proposition is attractive and is sold to the right people. If all we do is continually search and move the experienced candidates in the industry around, we will not create the environment needed for young people to succeed. We must actively work together to provide young people the opportunity to learn.

There are no quick fixes. However, we as stakeholders in the industry can make a difference if we stop chasing the short-term wins.

Delve work with candidates and clients to create realistic expectations and improve succession planning with our clients. To find out more, feel free to contact a member of our team.

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Candidate onboarding – where to start?

Candidate Onboarding - Where To Start?

It’s reported that one in three people experience poor onboarding when they are joining a new business. One in three. Wow. As someone who is hiring, just think about all the pain that goes with finding that person. All of the time, money, and blood, sweat and tears. Then they start, and due to bad onboarding you have already given them reasons to think that this isn’t right for them.

As a recruiter, I hear great onboarding stories and hear horrendous onboarding stories. I hear vanilla ones as well, the ones that people forget the moment they leave the room. So, how can we combat this and put our best foot forward, I hear you say? Well, say no more…

It all starts with the interview. This will sound crazy, and you may think this is so obvious that it’s pointless to even write it. But here goes… Don’t lie. If you lie to get someone through the door, you are setting yourself up for failure. Simple. Now, understand this: I’m not saying be critical of your business to the point that they think it’s the worst place they have ever seen and would never step foot in the door again. But do tell them about the opportunity to address challenges within their role. “Yes, our business isn’t perfect and we are aware of some of the challenges. We see this role solving some of those challenges by implementing X, Y and Z”. No lies. Just honest, transparent opportunity. 

Right. You operate with transparency and honesty and the candidate accepts your challenge. This is where your induction starts. As a recruiter, I will tell you first-hand that time kills deals. Resigning from a job can be the most daunting thing many people will do. So please, please, please try to be there for your new employee. Give them a call and ask them how they are doing. Ask if they would like to pop in and meet the team? Tell them you’re having a couple of drinks on Friday and it would be great if they could come along. Do anything that would suit you and your company, but keep in contact. The chances are that after a resignation, your chosen candidate will be asking themselves if they have done the right thing – show them that they have.

Next, get your tech and merch ordered ASAP. Laptop, phone, keyboard, pens, papers, phone list, brochures, merchandise, employee profiles, chocolates, mug, business card holder – you name it, get it ordered. There’s nothing worse than turning up on day one and nothing being ready. Then, send diary requests to the people you want your new employee to meet on day one. Plan it in, and make sure you talk to people face-to-face to check that they know what you need from them and that they understand the plan.

Once everything is set, sit back, grab a brew and phone your future employee to check they are okay (again), and then confirm the start time with them. It’s also worth pointing out dress code and what people typically wear. It may sound silly, but people worry about these things.

Day 1, 10.00am, they arrive (always ask them to arrive later than you). Their desk is set, laptop waiting, phone plugged in, and there’s merchandise everywhere. Show them to their desk. Introduce them to people. Walk them around and make them known to everyone who is available. The more the merrier. Remember your first day in a job? You will forget 99% of the names but the face is at least familiar. Show them where the tea and coffee is, how to work the annoying vending machine and the best sandwich shop in town. Make them feel like you actually want them there.

Execute your well-planned induction covering the history of the business, future growth plans, and in what way their role and team is crucial to your success. 

The small details count. If you’re a line manager, give them your mobile number, take them for regular one-to-ones and set an appraisal date three months from now. Engage your new super hire. Create the environment where they will motivate themselves.

The detail behind the actual onboarding is a different blog all together, but hopefully this highlights that you have the power to make that candidate journey brilliant from the second they sit in that first interview, or even beforehand.

If you’re keen to ensure your onboarding runs like clockwork then I’d be delighted to hear from yougareth.foden@delverec.com.

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International recruitment

International Recruitment

I am often asked by my candidates and clients why I am based in the UK but support the European and American market. It always brings a smile to my face and being honest, there are a couple of reasons why we have this offering.

Beyond the Paper

It’s our mantra. It drives us to do what we do every single day. We constantly ask one another, “have you got the detail?” Or in other words, do we understand what we can’t see on a job profile or CV? This process doesn’t change for roles that are based in the UK, Europe, USA or even on the moon! We have a strict way of operating that enhances our success rates for candidates and clients alike. Taking this process to other countries and utilising technology platforms means that we can be successful wherever we recruit.

Process

Our clients love to work with us and after doing so, they love our process and best practice. It helps them to organise diary availability and have assurances that once we have taken a brief, we have a deadline for delivery. In essence, once you have spoken with us, you can remove the role from your radar for the coming days. Similar to our work in the UK, these processes don’t change wherever you are based.

Opportunity

We found that lots of our UK clients were asking us for European support on their requirements. The growth and next step seemed logical and like something we could do to offer a wider selection of services to our growing customer portfolio.

Network

Sourcing top talent is just as tough wherever you go within the engineering and technical community. In this quest to find great people, we were searching globally for talent, thus building up a unique and desirable network of contacts. It made sense for us to engage with like-minded people and organisations worldwide, with the goal being to support their needs.

Overall, we have found that blending our uniquely designed and proven recruitment processes with our well-defined and established network allows us to have a global offering without compromise.

To learn more, contact Gareth directly at gareth.foden@delverec.com

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Is your recruitment partner working for your business?

Is Your Recruitment Partner Working For Your Business?

Sometimes, relationships can break down and one party starts to provide more than the other. This is true in all aspects of life but in business it can be particularly damaging to your bottom line. When you are trying to scale your business and move forward, hiring the right people is often the most critical aspect, but it can often be time-consuming and
effort- and resource-intensive to secure the right person. Ask yourself the questions below in order to work out whether your recruitment partner is the right person to meet your business needs.

1 – Are they attentive? Ultimately this is a partnership and you don’t want to create a master – slave relationship. However, the recruitment company you engage with are providing a service, and they should therefore be prompt, clear and open about what they will do by when. If you feel like you are getting five-star service, that really is a great starting point.

2 – Do they actively listen? This is really important. Sales is a tough gig and I often hear examples of recruiters wanting to sell to customers rather than listen. The key to success with your recruitment partner is for them to listen and understand your problems and then challenge you to create solutions.

3 – Are they timely? Look, a thorough recruitment process takes time. A no-stone-unturned approach is not a quick fix. However, your chosen recruitment partner should outline timescales for delivery or at least provide a review on how they are progressing. This gives you peace of mind that the process is working towards a deadline but also allows for any issues to be captured and dealt with in a timely manner.

4 – Do you like dealing with them? This is purely down to individual preference but you have to like who you work with. If you are finding it a slog and see the recruiter you are working with as a necessary evil, then it should be time to consider your options.

5 – Do they deliver? Ultimately it all boils down to delivery. Do they solve your problems by delivering great people who fit the brief on time and in a professional way? And if not, do they add value by telling you what to do to solve your problems? In a candidate-short market, it may not be down to the recruiter you are using, but the proposition you are asking them to take to the market. If this is the case, you need to know so that this can be addressed.

There are numerous things to consider when choosing your recruitment partner or reflecting on the one you are working with at the moment. My advice would be start with the above and if you are still in a position of questioning the results, then perhaps it’s time to consider a new option. For an open discussion call Gareth Foden on +44 1606 212 020.

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Five things we learnt from SemiConEuropa 2021

Five Things We Learnt From SemiConEuropa 2021

After a year in which most in-person industry events were cancelled, we feel very lucky that we were able to attend this year’s SemiconEuropa in Munich. It was a great opportunity for us to meet face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) with clients who work across different areas of the semiconductor industry. Here are our reflections from the event:

1)    The biggest challenge facing the industry is managing the supply chain. Almost all of the companies we spoke to reported having problems sourcing the components they need.

2)    Demand across the industry is at an all-time high. We knew that our clients were busy, but we found out that many are processing purchase orders approximately 12 months in advance. This level of demand is completely unprecedented, and things aren’t set to change any time soon.

3)    Now is the time to think about your hiring needs. As demand for semiconductor products soars, many companies will need to scale up, so competition for good candidates will be fierce. Get ahead of the curve and start outlining your hiring strategies now in order to avoid scrambling over qualified applicants at the beginning of next year.

4)    It’s easier to source graduates, but difficult to find candidates with three to five years of industry experience, so think ahead and make contacts with local universities. Remember that today’s graduates are tomorrow’s skilled engineers and technicians.

5)    Emerging technologies mean new skillset gaps. The recent increase in applications for Gallium nitride (GaN), for example, means that there is a dearth of experienced engineers who are familiar with the material. Again, those in the industry need to take a long-term view when planning their hiring strategies.

 

If you’d like to find out how we could help with your current hiring plans, please feel free to get in touch.

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Reviewing candidate profiles: why every minute counts

Reviewing Candidate Profiles: Why Every Minute Counts

We recently talked to Client Manager Louise Shorrock about how important it is to offer feedback on candidate profiles in a timely manner when working with a recruiter. Here are her thoughts on the time-sensitive nature of recruitment and how hiring managers can make this work to their advantage.

How can time become an issue in the recruitment process?

As recruiters we often find ourselves in a catch-22 situation: the hiring manager is overwhelmed with work and desperately needs to hire another team member in order to be able to focus on their own role, but because they are so busy, they are unable to invest the time needed to play their part in the recruitment process. 

What kind of difficulties can this lead to?

Candidates can become frustrated with a slow hiring process to the extent that they disengage completely. Conversely, the faster you are able to provide feedback on candidate profiles, the more likely it is that you will hire a top candidate, as those candidates know their worth and will simultaneously be looking for roles in different companies. The most sought-after candidates are more likely to be snapped up quickly, so time is of the essence.

Are there any other consequences that hiring managers should be aware of? 

Yes. Any delays in the early stages of a search can and do multiply: waiting several days after the agreed timeframe to send feedback on an initial presentation of candidate profiles could easily lead to a delay of weeks or more, as some or all of the candidates presented may no longer be available, which means your recruiter will have to begin their search again and find new candidates.

It’s also important to note that delays in the review process have an impact on candidates’ perceptions of both the hiring company and the recruiter involved. As your recruiter will be communicating regularly with candidates and keeping them informed of their progress, when a delay occurs, their correspondence with candidates effectively becomes a series of ‘no-update updates’. This creates a bad impression for both parties and ultimately this could cause a candidate to question whether they would want to work for you as an employer.

Can all of this be avoided? How?

The key is in the communication between the recruiter and the hiring manager. I personally will discuss and agree on expectations at the beginning of a search campaign, including an agreed-upon time limit for profile reviews. Once that time has elapsed, I then know to follow up with the hiring manager to remind them to give feedback. This works as a kind of unofficial Service Level Agreement between both parties to make sure the process keeps moving forward. I would also always make sure that I have the contact details of more than one person who is involved in the hiring process in case delays occur as a result of unexpected absences.

Is there any other advice you would offer to hiring managers?

From our perspective, any feedback on potential candidates is good feedback. Even if the feedback is negative, this can help your recruiter home in on what’s important to you, and it can shape discussions on whether the salary offered is going to match the skillset needed, for example. I will always aim to find and present one or two candidates relatively early in the search process, as the feedback helps me to gauge the parameters and allows me to find better suited candidates.

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Are you ready to commit to your recruiter?

Are You Ready To Commit Your Recruit?

At this time of year, commitment and relationships might be at the forefront of our minds, but have you thought about how commitment (or a lack of it) affects your relationship with your recruiter? Search Consultant Nathan Falconer is here to explain:

Are there really any similarities between romantic relationships and recruitment?

[Laughs] Possibly. There seems to be a parallel with the early stages of dating, when you might have a short-term mindset and date several people simultaneously, as it’s common for clients to engage more than one recruiter on a search campaign. But as happens with this kind of dating, there comes a point where you might decide that this isn’t working in the long term, and that’s when we would recommend talking to your recruiter about other options.

What options do those looking to hire have?

Here at Delve we work with clients on both a retained and a contingent basis, dependant on the circumstances. Contingency recruitment works on a no-win-no-fee basis, in which the recruiter is only paid if they succeed in finding a suitable candidate who the employer is willing to hire. This is the most common arrangement in recruitment, so clients aren’t always aware that there is an alternative. Retained search, on the other hand, involves paying a non-refundable fee for the undertaking of agreed search services. This fee represents a percentage of the overall cost, usually around a third.

What is the impact of these two different models?

In contingency work, the recruiter has no guarantee that they will be paid for the work they carry out on any given project. Recruiting firms which work on this basis therefore often take on more projects than they can expect to successfully complete, which in turn means that their recruiters have less time to work on any given assignment. A recruiter working on a contingent basis will therefore choose to work on roles which will be easier to fill or where they think they can beat the competition, which means they won’t necessarily be prioritising your assignment.

But aren’t two (or more) recruiters better than one?

It will always depend on the situation, but the short answer is not necessarily. Firstly, if recruiters know that they are competing to fill a role, then working quickly will become more important than doing good work, as they are in direct competition with other recruiters to find the first suitable candidate. Secondly, multiple recruiters will discuss the same role with the same candidates, and as a result may even put forward the same candidates for the role. This can lead to candidates having a less than optimal impression of the hiring company

What about the alternative: exclusivity?

It may not be right for every role, but deciding to pay a retainer and work exclusively with a recruiter comes with a number of benefits. Working on a retained basis means that the recruiter can take the time to prioritise your hiring assignment and to focus on the role in question. They will also improve the way in which they present the role to prospective candidates because they are able to work in a more focused manner, and as a result they are more likely to find better candidates.

Retained search results in a more engaged process from both sides: it allows the recruiter to really get to know the employer and their business culture, which means they are more likely to find a candidate who is a good fit, and it means that you, the employer, are more engaged in the process. Working on an agreed basis means that you are kept informed of developments in the search process.

 But isn’t there additional risk in paying a retainer?

Although the upfront cost of retained search is an obvious concern, it’s worth noting that the overall cost remains the same as working on a contingent basis – the only difference is that a percentage of the recruiter’s fee is paid prior to the introduction of the new employee to the employer’s company. Some might also worry about whether the recruiter will take the retained fee without following through on finding a suitable candidate, ‘will they take my money and run?’ The reality is that this would ultimately do more harm to the recruiter in the long run, and that not completing the agreed search would do serious damage to the recruiter’s reputation and their relationship with you, the employer.

If you’re now questioning whether your hiring strategy is really working for you, feel free to get in touch.

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What does gan technology have to offer?

What Does GAN Technology Have To Offer?

As silicon technology is pushed to the limits of what it can achieve, semiconductor manufacturers are now looking to other materials in order to provide maximum performance whilst ensuring maximum efficiency and sustainability. One such material is Gallium Nitride (GaN), an emerging technology which is facilitating important advances in power electronics.

Combining gallium and nitrogen, gallium nitride (GaN) is a wide bandgap semiconductor material with a hard, hexagonal crystal structure. Bandgap is the energy needed to free an electron from its orbit around the nucleus, and thus the larger the bandgap, the greater the material’s ability to withstand electric fields. Wide-bandgap semiconductors allow electronic devices to function at much higher voltages, frequencies, and temperatures than conventional semiconductor materials such as silicon.

So how is GaN technology changing the production of semiconductors? GaN outperforms silicon as concerns power density, resistance to high temperatures, and operation at high switching frequencies, meaning that GaN can be used to provide unrivalled efficiency, density, and system cost advantages. By replacing silicon with GaN transistors, engineers can design systems that are smaller, lighter, more energy efficient, and less expensive.

 

Which applications might benefit most from the introduction of GaN technology? The commercial use of GaN-based devices is increasing rapidly, fuelled by demand for rising efficiency in applications including telecommunications, cloud systems, voltage converters and electric vehicles. In the motor control field, the high switching frequency (the switching speed of a GaN power transistor can reach 100 V/ns) allows engineers to use inductors and capacitors of lower value and, therefore, of smaller size. The low dynamic ON state resistance lowers the amount of heat produced, creating greater energy efficiency and permitting a more compact size.

 

With all these benefits in mind, you might now be tempted to ask why isn’t GaN technology more widely used? Price and reliability were previously sticking points, as GaN is more expensive to produce compared to silicon, but production costs are now decreasing as GaN is used to produce 6- and 8-inch (200-mm) wafers, rather than smaller 2- to 4-inch wafers. The future looks bright as the application of GaN technology becomes more extensive, and as performance continues to increase year on year.

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What new technology will change the semiconductor industry in 2022 and 2023

Four Important Considerations When Hiring And Applying For Technical Sales Roles

Semiconductors are foundational to modern technology: without semiconductors, integrated circuits, transistors, solar cells, and many other aspects of computing simply would not function. Semiconductors impact on so many aspects of modern life, from data centres and smart homes to high-speed networks and the automotive sector. Although we cannot discuss the future of the industry with absolute certainty, here are our predictions for technology which will change the semiconductor industry in the year to come.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The global AI market is expected to increase to $390.9 billion by 2025, and it seems certain that developments in AI will affect semiconductor design and production. We have already witnessed a new wave of innovation in the semiconductor industry fuelled by developments in AI, in relation to the Internet of Things (IoT) in particular. Improvements in semiconductor architecture are required to tackle data use in AI-integrated circuits. Advances in design for AI will not concern overall performance so much as increase the speed of data moving in and out of memory resulting in higher power and memory systems with minimised inefficiencies.

Arm architecture

The x86 architecture has been used as standard throughout the microprocessor industry for the last half century. However, Arm architecture has been steadily growing in popularity. Whereas the impetus behind Arm was providing a solution for low-power microchips to be used with vertical applications, they are now emerging from this limited arena to compete with high-performance architectures and the established x86 players. As Arm keeps gaining new customers, they are expected to reach the tipping point that x86 experienced in the past. History demonstrates that the sector turns to where the volume is, and IT businesses are already starting to work on a range of apps and solutions specifically for the Arm architecture.  

Material innovation

As the second-most abundant element on Earth, silicon has been widely used in the production of semiconductors, but other elements such as cobalt and gallium were also previously recognised for their chemical and physical properties. These elements are now being reinvestigated in an attempt to develop more sustainable and efficient alternatives to silicon-based technology. The compound semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) offers increased electron mobility and performance in comparison to silicon semiconductors, especially in high-power applications.

Want to find out more about GaN? Read our blog on the potential of GaN technology here.

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Four important considerations when hiring and applying for technical sales roles

Four Important Considerations When Hiring And Applying For Technical Sales Roles

For jobseekers, it may be reassuring to hear that there is high demand for hybrid applicants with both a technical background and commercial acumen, particularly amongst SMEs in the semiconductor industry. However, making the leap from a technically focused role to one that is more commercial in nature can be intimidating from the candidate’s perspective. Here are four things to think about if you’re considering switching from a technical to a sales or business development role.

Use your strengths and transferable skills

People with a strong technical background are inherent problems solvers, a quality which will also serve you well in commercial roles. Those same problem-solving skills are needed but remember that the problems you face will be different to those encountered in a technical context.

Be prepared to let go of looking for one right answer

Whereas technical problems may have one unique or optimum solution, in the business world a variety of solutions are usually appropriate for any given problem. Waiting for the ‘right’ answer may mean that you hold off on taking action, but in most situations it would be better to make a wrong decision than to make no decision at all.

 

Demonstrate calculated risk taking

Your ability to manage risk gives an insight into how you would approach a business-focused role. Use any opportunities which come your way to tackle a tough challenge or problem, even if you feel outside of your comfort zone, in order to gain visibility.

 

Be aware of a bias for technical solutions

As someone with a technical background, it may be the case that when a problem arises, your first instinct is to look for a technical solution. This might not always be the best approach to take, however, so being aware of your bias is important.

 

Are you an employer looking for commercially focused team members with a technical background? Download our summary of candidate profiles here to see the candidates we have in our database who we can reach out to should an opportunity arise.

 

Are you a candidate looking to apply your technical knowledge within a commercial role? Upload your CV here and receive a call back from a search professional.