The shortage of good professionals in the technology sector is increasing rapidly, while the demand for technicians is not exactly decreasing either. During storm Eunice, it became clear once again how important these professionals are to the Netherlands. Although their business phone numbers can be found online through websites, companies have their hands in their hair: where do I get new employees from? And which parties can we help with this? Reference is often made to the government or the sector, while the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment states that technical employers “are the first to do so” to solve the shortages in their sector.
That sounds very nice, but I often hear from the other side that there are groups with lateral entrants eager to start in technology, but that they do not overcome the high threshold at technical companies. And that is of course a real shame. So where does this mismatch come from? We have researched the challenges technical companies face in hiring lateral entrants and I will share some findings with you here.
Our research among companies in technology and construction in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area shows that 60% do not yet work with lateral entrants, but that 40% are open to getting started with skills-oriented processes. That sounds easier than it actually is. Within technical companies, the internal processes are often not yet in order to actually start working skills-oriented. There are too many other priorities and an internal skills transition often involves too much change.
“We are enthusiastic, but the timing of the process is not right now, so the commitment and the chance of success are not great.”
So how can we activate companies to be open to lateral inflow, who can enrich the workplace with their skills?
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Speak to companies in their own language.
Lifelong development? No, they’re not busy with that. But when you start talking about the shortage of technicians and how this can affect the survival of their (family) business, companies often listen. This is a language they understand. And to ensure the continuity of the company, companies will have to look broader than the sheep with five legs. Lateral entrants!
Learn from each other and share success stories.
It’s nice to know that you’re not alone and that your competitors face the same challenges. By jointly creating success stories about skills-oriented recruitment, guidance, and lateral inflow, other companies can be inspired. This way they see that it is not impossible. Spread these kinds of stories and link companies that can learn from each other.
Focus on the valuable skills of lateral entrants.
Do companies know the valuable skills that lateral entrants bring with them? Motivation, punctuality, perseverance, and so on. Lateral entrants come in with a backpack full of good qualities, which a recently graduated young technician may not yet possess at all. Now just supplement the technical knowledge! By investing in skills passports and a common understandable skills language, it can be made easier for companies to gain insight into the skills of lateral entrants.