Solutions Driven

Niche sectors need to get smarter about hiring

When you’re a big fish in a small pond, it’s easy to become complacent about candidate attraction. Niche industries have to up their game before competition for candidates leaves them struggling. 

The job market is changing for every sector

A prime example of the current complacency of a niche sector with regards to candidate attraction is the advice given to candidates from SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. Although their February 2019 job fair claims to be suitable for attendees at any stage of their career, whether they’re a recent graduate or a professional looking to network, SPIE’s advice to candidates is as follows:

“Be prepared to tell the recruiter about yourself in less than two minutes. That may not seem like much time but it’s all you’ll probably get.”

If you didn’t know better, you’d think that this advice was aimed at school-leavers with little to offer potential employers. This statement from SPIE makes it seem as if we’re still in the 90s heyday of the employer-driven market, with candidates having to persuade employers to give them a chance. In fact, the current job market is 90% candidate driven. More than half (53%) of CEOs responding to a recent survey admit that finding candidates with in-demand skill sets is difficult in the current talent environment. 

Industry 4.0 will hoover up talent

As with every industrial revolution that has come before, the nature of work as we know it will inevitably change with the rise of Industry 4.0. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report says that;

“To harness the transformative potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, business leaders across all industries and regions will increasingly be called upon to formulate a comprehensive workforce strategy ready to meet the challenges of this new era of accelerating change and innovation.”

For this to become a reality, business leaders must first accept that change is here, and that their sector and industry will be no exception to the rule. 

photonicsWhat this means for optics & photonics

The optics and photonics industry has been in the privileged position of avoiding the worst of the talent shortage up till this point. However, challengers such as Google and Amazon are sparking a war for talent in previously ‘safe’ spaces such as the highly-skilled roles within behemoths such as Lockheed Martin, Intel and Boston Scientific which have been used to attracting candidates based on their industry reputation, resources and reach alone.

These industry giants will soon suffer from a dearth of talent if the events they attend, such as SPIE’s exhibition, are pitching themselves to candidates in this way. Industry 4.0 is both an opportunity and a threat for companies such as these, as new competitors fight for the same talent they used to monopolise. Companies no longer choose talent; talent chooses them.


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