Unlocking New Horizons: Embracing Contract Work in Engineering

A noticeable trend has emerged in the male-dominated field of engineering and the built environment – fewer women are inclined to explore the world of contract work. In this blog, we aim to break down the barriers surrounding contract employment for women, shedding light on the untapped benefits and providing a platform for three inspiring female contractors to share their experiences.

There’s a unique opportunity for change and empowerment in a sector where women are underrepresented. Contract work in engineering offers flexibility, diverse project exposure, and the potential for career growth. We sat with three inspiring female contractors to hear their stories and insights.

In a recent survey of our network asking; What do you consider the most significant advantage of contract work in the engineering industry? 52% of respondents stated Flexible work arrangements, 35% Potential for higher earning, and 13% Exposure to diverse projects.

Why Consider Contract Work in Engineering?

Many women may not have fully explored the advantages of contract work in the engineering and built environment sectors. Contract roles offer a unique set of benefits, including flexibility, diverse project exposure, and the potential for higher earning potential. It’s time to challenge the status quo and encourage women to embrace the opportunities contract work can provide.

Interviewing Trailblazing Female Contractors

To provide authentic insights, we sat down with three female contractors who have successfully navigated the contract landscape in engineering. Their stories showcase the advantages of contract work, dispelling myths and empowering women to consider this alternative career path.

What motivated you to choose contract work over permanent employment in the engineering sector?

Predominately money but also flexibility to work on varied projects.

How has contract work enhanced your career flexibility and work-life balance?

It has been easier to negotiate terms on a contract compared to a permanent contract as it is easier for companies to alter short-term contracts rather than company policies. For example, I negotiated an absolute of no working after 4 pm on Mondays due to child activities.

What advice would you give to women hesitant about exploring contract roles in engineering?

I would suggest giving it a try but ensure that your pension arrangements are taken care of either through limited company or umbrella, I would be as up front as possible, we are sometimes afraid to ask we don’t want to be seen as “problem employees”, which has got better since I started in engineering a long time ago. Trust your abilities and be confident.

In what ways has contracting exposed you to diverse projects and expanded your skill set?

In my years of contracting, I have worked in various parts of the country from small jobs to large projects.

In the realm of engineering, the underrepresentation of women in contract work is a glaring reality. However, by unravelling the misconceptions and showcasing the benefits, we’ve aimed to spark a conversation to pave the way for change. Our discussions with pioneering female contractors underscore the potential for growth, flexibility, and empowerment inherent in contract roles within engineering.

Now is the time to embrace this shift and encourage women to explore contract opportunities in engineering. By doing so, we not only diversify the workforce but also tap into a wealth of talent and perspectives. Take the first step by viewing our latest available jobs in contract engineering roles.

In the dynamic world of technical recruitment within the built environment, industry professionals often encounter unique challenges that require innovative solutions. Navigating the complexities of identifying, attracting, and retaining top-tier technical talent demands a strategic approach. In this blog post, we delve into the common challenges faced in technical recruitment and explore actionable solutions to address these issues.

Talent Shortage in Specialised Areas – Foster Skills Development Initiatives and Look for Transferrable Skills

The shortage of qualified candidates in specialised technical areas can hinder recruitment efforts. To overcome this challenge, companies can invest in skills development initiatives. Collaborate with educational institutions, offer training programs, and support certifications to build a pipeline of skilled professionals.

At Advance TRS, when collaborating with clients on specialised and underrepresented skill sets, our approach involves a consultative partnership with both the hiring community and HR teams. We aim to discern market constraints and challenges, offering tailored solutions that address these issues by delving into the fundamental requirements for each role. Our team engages in discussions to broaden the talent pool by exploring options such as role adjustments, balancing both soft skills and experience, identifying transferable skills, and considering talent from related industries. The goal is to cultivate a community of prospective talent by proactively addressing market dynamics and fostering inclusivity in recruitment practices.

Competing for Top Talent – Strengthen Employer Branding

Attracting the best technical talent often involves fierce competition. Strengthen your employer brand by showcasing the exciting projects your company is involved in, emphasising a positive workplace culture, and highlighting career advancement opportunities. An attractive employer brand can significantly increase the appeal of your organisation.

For our clients seeking elevated service levels, Advance TRS offers bespoke employer branding packages tailored to individual requirements. These comprehensive packages encompass a range of options, from dedicated employer mini-sites to impactful PR campaigns and meticulously planned recruitment events. Functioning as your dedicated talent partner, Advance TRS serves as your representative in the talent market, effectively showcasing your brand as an employer of choice.

Our team goes beyond the surface, investing time to comprehend your business culture, values, employee offerings, project pipeline and career development opportunities. This holistic understanding allows us to authentically represent your business, ensuring we not only meet your skill requirements but also find candidates who seamlessly align with your organisational culture.

Lengthy Recruitment Processes – Streamline and Optimise Recruitment Processes

Lengthy and cumbersome recruitment processes can deter potential candidates. Streamline and optimise your recruitment processes by utilising technology, implementing efficient applicant tracking systems, and minimising unnecessary stages. A swift and well-organised process enhances the candidate experience and increases the likelihood of securing top talent.

At Advance TRS, our commitment extends beyond connecting clients with top-tier talent – we actively support organisations in streamlining and optimising their recruitment processes. We leverage advanced technologies, implement effective applicant tracking systems, and strategically minimise unnecessary stages in the recruitment journey.

By doing so, we enhance the overall candidate experience, making the process more transparent, responsive, and engaging. Our goal is to not only attract top talent but also ensure that the recruitment process itself becomes a positive reflection of our clients’ organisations. Through these efforts, we increase the likelihood of securing the most qualified candidates, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between our clients and the top-tier talent they seek to attract.

Find out how Advance TRS can help you overcome challenges in technical recruitment

Top of FormReady to revolutionise your technical recruitment strategy and overcome industry challenges? Explore the full spectrum of solutions offered by Advance TRS through our comprehensive client service offerings. From talent acquisition strategies to skills development initiatives, we’re dedicated to helping you navigate the intricacies of technical recruitment in the built environment.

Uncover the power of innovative solutions and strategic insights by delving into our client service offerings. Reach out to our expert team.

Chris Spurdle is our Business Development Manager, get in touch to discuss how Advance TRS can elevate your recruitment process and unlock unparalleled success in securing top-tier technical talent.

Looking back at the past year, it seems a good time to remind ourselves to not only look after our physical but also our mental wellbeing. That being said, those two very often go hand in hand, so going for a walk or hike in nature, for example, can help you boost both aspects of your life. 

While some had more time than ever before to pursue their hobbies and live a much slower life during the past 12 months, it has been a struggle for others. Some may have had to face uncertainty, felt lonely or experienced a decline in mental wellbeing. 

It is important to remember it is okay to not be okay, and there are lots of people, friends and organisations out there who want to help. So if you are finding things a little tough at the moment or if you are feeling good and want to keep it that way, why not try some of our top tips for self-care! 

Reach out

If you feel that you are struggling, please reach out to either friends or family, or one of the brilliant mental health charities like Mind, but also the Samaritans. Get whatever you’re dealing with off your chest rather than bottling it up. 

Take time for yourself

Do something you enjoy, whether that’s an activity or simply relaxing and reading a book or watching a film.

Start journaling

Having a gratitude journal can make a big difference to your thoughts and help you focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. Before you go to bed, sit down and write down 3 things that made you feel good that day. It might be as simple as your cup of coffee in the morning, that really helped you wake up. 

Do some yoga

You might be surprised how much a few simple yoga stretches can help calm your mind and keep stress at bay. A quick 10 minutes will already make a difference. 

Spend time outside

Now that it’s autumn, you can spot some amazing colours when you’re outside for a walk. Take some deep breaths to fill your lungs with the crisp autumn air.

We take Mental Health seriously

At Advance TRS, we prioritise the mental wellbeing of our staff. To provide a first point of contact when needed, we have appointed qualified Mental Health First Aiders. We also offer a Wellbeing Hub, where confidential support via an EAP helpline can be accessed at any time. These are only some of the steps we have taken and we continue to improve our mental health awareness.

We are currently recruiting, so if you want to work for a company that places Mental Health and Wellbeing as a priority send us your CV or take a look at our latest vacancies.

Due to freedom of movement within the EU, up to 31 December 2020, citizens from any EU country were able to move to the UK without having to apply for a visa, and start work right away. 

With Brexit, this changed from 1 January 2021. Free movement has ended and the UK has adopted a points based system, much like the one in Australia. For employers, this means that you have to register as a licensed sponsor to hire eligible people from outside the UK.

The new system transforms the way in which employers recruit from outside the UK and means that you now need to obtain a sponsor licence to hire from outside the UK, with the exception of Irish citizens.

Becoming a sponsor

There are some steps you need to take before applying to become a sponsor which include checking that the people you want to hire will meet the requirements for coming to the UK for work, as well as checking whether your business is eligible.

To apply, you will then need to choose the type of skilled worker licence you want to apply for and put appropriate systems in place to act as a sponsor. There is an application fee that will need to be paid. 

Once you have finished your application, you should have a decision within 8 weeks. If you are successful in becoming a licensed sponsor it will allow you to recruit skilled workers from anywhere in the world for 4 years. 

Workers’ requirements

Anyone coming to work in the UK will need to have a job offer from an approved sponsor, the job offer must be at the required skill and salary level and they must speak English at the required level.

When looking to hire someone from outside the UK (excluding Irish citizens), there are minimum skill and salary thresholds the role you are advertising must meet. Those are as follows:

  • Minimum skill level: Set at RQF3 which is equivalent to A level
  • Minimum salary threshold: The higher of £25,600 or the ‘going rate’ for the job; some employees may be paid less than £25,600, for example if their job is in a shortage occupation
  • Applicants from outside the UK must also meet English language requirements

If the worker meets the above requirements and you are a licensed sponsor, you will be able to sponsor their application to come to the UK to work.

EU citizens already working in the UK

The new system will not apply to EU citizens already living and working in the UK, and there are no further steps for you to take as an employer. EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme which we have spoken about in a previous blog.

Those eligible to apply for settled status must do so by 30 June 2021.
If you would like to find out more about the new points-based immigration system, you can listen to the podcast episode the Home Office recorded in partnership with Intelligence Squared.

Looking for a new job can be an exhausting and daunting prospect. What kind of salary can I get? Which companies are hiring? What are the people like? How do I update my CV? What do I say at an interview? These are all questions that can get in the way of you taking your next step in your career. 

It can also be a lonely process if you don’t want to let on to friends and colleagues that you are looking to move, you may be left feeling out on a limb. 

Recruiters can have a bad reputation, but fundamentally they can really help you to find your next role and hold your hand through the process, being a trusted advisor and confidant to help you make your next step the right one.

Here are just a few benefits of working with a recruitment consultant. 

1. Help with updating your CV

If you have been out of the job market for a while, the thought of updating your CV might be a scary one. By working with a recruitment consultant, they can help you through the process, giving you CV templates, tips and tricks or even writing it with you. Don’t hesitate to ask them for support and guidance – a good consultant will know how to make your CV stand out from the rest. Finally, remember this service is free for you! So make sure you get the full benefits of working with a pro. Read our CV writing tips or download our CV template

2. Bring you to life

No more battling to be the most eye-catching CV on the pile. Not only can a recruitment consultant help you look great on paper, but they can also bring you to life for the client. By getting to know you and understanding what you have to offer, they can sell you to the client so that before they have even seen your CV they want to meet you. This jumps you to the top of the pile and ahead of the competition. 

3. Finding hidden gems 

Good recruitment consultants have exclusive relationships with their clients, with access to roles that are not openly advertised on the job market. Simply put, your dream job might be out there but you may never see it unless you engage with a consultant well embedded in your industry, working with the companies you want to work for. So do your research to find the consultant representing these companies and let them unlock the hidden gem jobs you didn’t even know about.

4. Salary clarity 

From day one a consultant will know the salary information for roles you are applying for and will work to understand your expectations and value on the market. A consultant can also act as a great advocate in uncomfortable salary conversations to help negotiate on your behalf for the salary you are looking for so you won’t have to wonder if you could have got a higher salary in hindsight. 

5. Interview walkthrough 

Consultants know the client, the locations and their interview style. They are best placed to coach you through the interview process so you can put your best foot forward and feel confident and prepared. It is in the consultant’s interest that you perform well at interview stage if you’re the right person for the role, and having someone in your corner to coach you through the process can make it less stressful. Read our interview tips here

At Advance TRS our consultants work in a consultative manner and strive to act as your trusted advisor. Remember as a candidate our service is free and our team are here to help you through the process from start to finish. 

View our latest opportunities here or contact our team on 01483 361061 or info@advance-trs.com.