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The battery sector is at war. Targets for all-electric or hybrid cars have been set for 2040 and companies are jostling for market dominance – as a result, they are seeking talent from other tech verticals to help plug the shortfalls and be seen as the industry’s leading innovators. That talent is in high demand, however, meaning the already lesser spotted perfect hire is even harder to come by.

Where there is a skills gap, there are also disparities in the required knowledge and that which is demonstrated by candidates entering the market – what is needed to build and maintain modern batteries wasn’t covered in degree courses five or 10 years ago. Although it is included now, recent graduates don’t have the three-to-five years of experience required by many organisations, and businesses need employees now, not later.

In order to combat the shortage, nets must be cast wider and further afield as businesses reconsider what they believe to be the perfect candidate. Such people are few and far between in any given industry, nevermind one that is already in dire need of more boots on the ground. Gaining a market edge here is critical, both to continue business development and to attract those candidates who are in the market for new opportunities.

A change of tact

If the experience or skillset on a CV doesn’t quite line up with exactly what you’re after and you’re becoming increasingly stretched in finding one that does, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. This is where transferable skills come into the equation – candidates with experience in research and development (R&D), for example, will showcase invaluable problem-solving mentality, as well as the aptitude to learn new things.

In redefining the perfect candidate, you have to accept that there will be a large element of on-the-job learning required, so look for candidates who have proven they are able to do this. This is also an area is which to consider the battle between passion and skill set – someone whose passion for the sector outweighs their current ability will ultimately prove a more worthwhile hire than someone at the other end of the scale. Passionate people are more interested in learning and, in the long run, will therefore become a more rounded, more talented hire for the business, and the possibilities are endless.

Learning and development

Don’t just focus on your newest recruits when offering learning and development opportunities, however. Opening this offer to the entire team will change the way your current staff view you as an employer, which in turn changes the external perception from would-be employees too. Your people are the most important asset in your business, so it’s important that you show that you are willing to invest in them.

Candidates are now more interested than ever before in learning opportunities, wanting to further themselves both personally and professionally rather than just chasing a big pay packet. By its very nature, the battery sector is one that is fast-paced and ever-changing – letting your employees and prospective hires stagnate, instead of moving with the sector, will do nothing but damage your organisation both in a business sense and reputationally. It takes time and investment, whether that is constructing development plans, hiring a permanent training manager or bringing in temporary employees to both ease the workload and pass on their knowledge to your permanent members of staff, but the payoff is indisputable.

Thinking long term

When it comes to hiring candidates in the midst of a shortage, business leaders must have their eye on the long term. A lack of talent will hinder growth, prevent organisations from winning projects and ultimately leave them struggling to meet deadlines and contractual obligations – the alarm bells start ringing.

Start by redefining the perfect candidate – your priority should be finding someone that shows the ability and desire to learn new things, rather than having the exact track record you currently believe your organisation to need. Candidates that you would have glossed over will be queueing around the block with CVs in hand as your talent pool widens, and once you’ve found your hire they’ll also, as a result of the opportunity ahead of them, be more likely to stick around for longer. It’s a win-win situation.

Whatever your hiring needs, we can find the right person for your role in battery technology. Get in touch with us to find out more.

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