Our success can be replicated

By Wayne Hunter, operations manager at Emmegi (UK).

I’ve just seen the fairly chastening statistic from Building Our Skills of more than 1,100 installer vacancies being advertised on UK job sites at the end of the first week in May.

The problem of not attracting enough newcomers into the industry has obviously been compounded by the fact that a good many skilled migrants left the UK either because of Covid or because of Brexit – or a bit of both.

It’s not just in installation where we’re seeing massive shortfalls either: you only have to glance on social media to see that pretty much the whole industry is looking to recruit, and with varying degrees of success.

In the machinery market, the biggest challenge we all face is in recruiting enough installation and service engineers. At Emmegi, we have the advantage that we can call on a pool of skilled engineers based at our Italian HQ, but the current situation around travel and quarantine has made that more difficult than it usually is over recent months.

Like the rest of the industry, we obviously face huge competition for the best recruits from other sectors which might be perceived as being more glamorous or exciting, but our recent experience suggests that we can attract high quality candidates if we package our offering in the right way.

Emmegi (UK), for instance, has just recruited an engineer from a UK-based Formula One racing team and that’s probably the biggest contrast you can get with fenestration. No one is suggesting that it’s an easy sell, but a really competitive salary and benefits package, a supportive working environment, and a clearly defined career path in an industry which is fast paced and fast growing definitely help.

As we all face much the same situation, I would urge other parts of the industry to take the same radical approach as we’ve done and think outside of the normal recruitment pool. I’d like to think our success could be replicated by other businesses, not just in machinery but in other parts of the industry where there are transferrable skills.