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Cost of Unfilled Jobs

With an increasingly tight labour market and the skills shortages in engineering, record numbers of vacancies are being left unfilled. Leaving a position empty will have a number of consequences, the obvious being the effect on production if the maintenance team is understaffed or being unable to get engineers to customer sites on time. Then there are the costs in manpower and resources spent on recruitment, advertising, sorting through applications, replying, screening, holding first stage interviews etc. 

Some costs may not be as obvious such as the affect this can have on other employees, will engineers be required to take on more duties or work extra shifts, will they become stressed and demoralised? Who will handle recruitment, an engineering manager will know better than anyone who they want, but have they got the time? Would someone in admin, even in a HR role, know enough about the vacancy to identify suitable candidates and what other day to day tasks do they have? 

According to a recent Linkedin survey, the average time to hire is 49 days, that's from when the recruitment process starts e.g. preparing the job description or being authorised by a senior manager or director to an offer being accepted. The actual start date could be another 30 days if they have to give notice and then there is time spent on inductions and training before they can actually start work. 

To minimise the costs and disruption to the business there are steps an employer can take including: 

  • Planning – If an employee is nearing retirement age it can be easy to plan ahead and look for a replacement well in advance but if an employee leaves giving a month's notice then you need to act fast. It is essential a plan is in place, job descriptions and adverts ready and what your recruitment process will be. 

  • Networking – being active on social media sites, connecting with engineers, posting and sharing regular relevant content about the industry, your company and what its like to work there, liking and commenting on potential candidates’ posts can help build relationships, so when a vacancy does arise there is already a pool of suitable talent. 

  • Referrals – Your own engineers should know better than anyone what the role requires and who would be suitable and will often know former colleagues, offering a bonus can encourage recommendations. 

  • Consultants – although some employers can initially be put off by recruitment agency fees, when considering the other costs and the time saved they can be a far cheaper option. Partnering with a specialised agency who understands the business and can act quickly will often result in finding the right candidate on time. 

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