Beware the top automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

Hiring candidates has its challenges within every sector. But it can be particularly tricky recruiting for the automotive and industrial engineering sector.

The automotive industry has enjoyed significant change in recent years thanks to technological advances and innovation. Driverless cars, multi-fuel vehicles, robotics, sensors, and software were unheard of a short time ago, but are already our new reality.

It’s not surprising that, against a dynamic backdrop of transformation, old ways of doing things are no longer as effective, not least when it comes to recruiting new talent.

So, what are the main automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges, and how can you rise above them?

automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

The small R&D and engineering talent pool

Employers are struggling to source talent with the skills they need as the automotive and industrial engineering sectors advance at pace. What’s more, the type of skills required are changing, creating a palpable skills gap in engineering.

The fix:

Be open-minded about technical abilities; candidates can be put off if you list too many must-have skills so just select the non-negotiables.

Secondly, as already discussed in an earlier post, be open to candidates from other industries, such as talented oil and gas engineers affected by their industry’s downturn. They will have valuable transferable skills which could help your company innovate in new ways.

Finally, consider hiring talented graduates and train them with a well-structured plan that allows them to develop along your desired path, effectively creating your own perfect candidate.

automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

Competition from other companies

Remember you are not the only company searching for talented candidates. Your candidates are likely to be considering more than one role, and the most talented ones have an embarrassment of choice.

And remember your competition is not only other automotive and engineering companies. You also face stiff competition from other sectors who have equally exciting opportunities on offer. 

The fix:

Working with a recruitment agency like MasterSearch that invests time into getting to know your company helps sell the opportunity and close the deal at offer stage. Additionally, getting to know the candidate and what they really want is vitally important to guide them in the right direction.

Also, pay attention to other aspects of an offer which may appeal to candidates such as flexibility, company values, and benefits – particularly for millenials who now expect these as standard.

automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

Low number of candidates applying for roles

There is a real lack of candidates naturally searching for, finding, and applying for roles advertised in your sector. A time-consuming talent search isn’t an option – after all you have your day job to do.

The fix:

Specialist automotive engineering recruitment agencies headhunt the entire market for suitable candidates. This cuts out a lot of time on your part and avoids following frustrating dead ends.

automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

Less than compelling job descriptions

A job description needs to be more than a wishlist of your desired skills and traits. With so much competition for job-seeking engineers, you need to demonstrate how you can help candidates develop their career. It can sometimes be difficult to take a step back and explain the role concisely and in a way that inspires potential candidates.

The fix:

Craft a compelling job description that encourages the candidate to apply. At MasterSearch, we use our knowledge of what candidates are looking for to help clients create irresistible job descriptions.

automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenges

Geographical isolation – the biggest automotive and industrial engineering recruitment challenge?

Many companies are geographically isolated and don’t boast a household name like Audi or Mercedes-Benz. This can present a challenge, particularly for younger employees who want to experience city life. Or for those who value proximity to their family network.

The fix:

Perhaps the biggest challenge you may face, and a difficult one to overcome. If location is a deal-breaker, then nothing will change that.

However, you can make your offer more attractive by ensuring there is a clear map for career progression. Consider offering flexible or remote working which could allow employees to spend long weekends with the extended family. Alternatively, a salary that allows them to live in their preferred location and spend a few days a week in rented accommodation near your office could be an attractive proposition.

Are you looking for a world-class Automotive / Industrial recruitment agency that can help make your job easier and support you across your entire business? Get in touch on +44 207 101 9623 or email

Our candidates and clients are never just a number: we use our honesty and openness to build strong, long-lasting relationships. Specialising in this industry means we are uniquely placed to continually adapt to changes in this fast-paced and innovative market.

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