The Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry is an essential part, as well as a product of, economic cycles – they thrive when the economy is healthy, but become less robust when growth and investment slows.
One of the biggest issues the industry faces with these fluctuations is its impact on the recruitment process. For instance during the construction boom – which coincided with an increase in infrastructure activity – engineering practices found it difficult to hire suitable workers as the demand for skilled engineers far outweighed the supply.
Now that the ‘party is almost over’, this demand and supply equation has been flipped around, leaving many large companies and their Human Resources (HR) functions to deal with costly redundancies.
One of the ways many AEC firms deal with this risk has been to turn to an increasingly contractor-based workforce, which can be scaled up or down depending on changing economic conditions and the demand for employees. However, this strategy is not without its challenges. Having to frequently shortlist, interview, hire and train workers can be timely and sometimes costly, with no guarantees of the quality of contract employees.
Cue stage right the entry of engineering-related recruitment specialists, who work alongside AEC firms to find the best people for the jobs at hand. By engaging these recruitment firms on an outcomes-based, as-needs basis, companies no longer have to shoulder the risks traditionally associated with internal hiring, and can do away with the need for large-standing HR departments.
Resources and energy firm, WorleyParsons, is one of the many AEC companies who rely on outsourcing its recruitment process. Its Senior HR Advisor, Lesley-Anne Hayes, regularly works with Australian owned and managed recruitment firm, Technical Resources™, which specialises in a ‘total solutions’ approach to hiring within the engineering industry.
This means that the Technical Resources™ team, led by Australia’s RCSA Recruitment Professional for 2015 National Managing Consultant Caitlin Iustini, not only manages the short-listing and interviewing process on behalf of AEC firms such as WorleyParsons, but also takes care of all other relevant issues, including superannuation and tax payments, training, travel, visas, medical and even clothing provision. Clients are allowed to pay on results and remain nimble and flexible in organising their HR structures.
“Every time we place somebody, we can’t afford to get it wrong – now more than ever in this current market climate,” explains Hayes.
“Timing is also of the essence. We need to make the right call, but being inside a big organisation like this is like being inside a bubble at times. We are not always best placed to make a call because the decision requires an understanding of what's happening in the wider market. In that sense, it’s great to work with someone who has their finger on the pulse of what's happening outside our organisation. We can leverage her market intelligence, her negotiating ability and the empathy she has for her contractors. She is able to achieve outcomes which work two ways; for us and for the people she introduces to us, and that's what it’s all about.”
Supplying talents on both a staff and contract basis within all disciplines, from engineers and drafters, to supervisors, inspectors, project managers and even those within the clerical and administration fields, Technical Resources™ has access to a mobile and flexible national network of 35,000 candidates in engineering and associated white collar roles. These relationships have been developed over time – some for over 20 years – and regular contact by the recruitment team with all candidates means there is a continuity of understanding so the right person is found for every job opening.
“Caitlin knows WorleyParsons really well. She’s at the top of her game and her peak industry body confirmed that with her recent award. She’s not one of those recruiters for whom supplying personnel is a numbers game,” adds Hayes.
“I always know that she’s acting in alignment with us, which is essential for a partner who acts very often in our name. From my personal experience, when I work with Caitlin, it's obvious that I’m getting a very different experience to the norm. But also, when I speak to the rest of her team, I get the same consistent experience.”
Technical Resources™ works across all engineering-related verticals, such as construction, manufacturing, resources and infrastructure, with people on the ground in most states assisting clients such as Jacobs and Clough and Calibre with their resourcing needs.