How to Overcome Field Service Engineer Recruitment Challenges for Your Business

Field Service Engineer recruitment is a major challenge for service and facilities management organisations throughout the UK.

With recent figures from the Chartered Institute for Personal Development (CIPD) showing 80% of organisations are currently trying to recruit, it’s a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away and the UK service industry is no exception.

Attracting younger people to service engineering roles is a big problem and with an aging engineering workforce, there’s little opportunity for skills transfer. Despite the move to develop Engineering T Levels and apprenticeship schemes, it’s a challenge to persuade Gen Z that engineering can be a fulfilling and lucrative career, and there’s still a reluctance from
young women to join the industry.

So, what are your options when it comes to combatting the current skills shortages in your business?

Rely on Subcontractors

Using sub-contractors could be an option and it will certainly get you out of trouble in the short term, enabling you to achieve the service promised in your customer service level agreement (SLA).

The problem with this is that you may lose control and not have full visibility of the quality and quantity of work, or the ability to check if the correct skills and tools are being deployed for a first-time fix. Plus, you’ll pay a premium for subcontracting field engineering work due to the mark up costs associated with relying on sub-contractors.

Offer Higher Field Engineer Salaries 

Attracting new recruits by enticing them with a higher than market average salary could improve the number of quality field service engineer applications you receive. But once you have paid a pretty penny for new recruits, how do you get them to stay?

You could look at your company culture, for example, are you offering an environment that ensures staff aren’t working in stressful conditions and overwhelmed with workload? Do you offer generous enough benefits, training and development which makes your team feel motivated and supported? This will all help to retain your staff, but you’ll have to invest heavily in improving your conditions of employment. Great – if you have the budget.

Reduce Your Customer List 

You could review your current customer base and decide to take on fewer jobs, only accepting the work that you know you can easily resource with your existing engineer base or focus on the customers who make you the most profit (if you have visibility of these metrics). You don’t want to risk your reputation by degrading the customer experience (CX) or even losing customers because you can’t achieve your SLAs.

Extend Your Field Engineers’ Routes 

Deploying your engineers further afield may get some extra jobs completed in the short term, but is this efficient? The stress of increased overtime, extra travel costs, ineffective routing, and increased carbon emissions, means we’re all going to pay a heavy price.  And with the cost of recruitment far outweighing the cost of retention, it makes sense to create a harmonious working environment and retain your trained staff rather than starting from scratch with new recruits.  People with good quality jobs and who are well managed are healthier, more fulfilled, happier and are more productive.

Do Nothing  

There is often a fear factor when it comes to making change. Many businesses don’t have the knowledge and open-mindedness to come to big decisions. They keep calm and carry on without realising the true cost of ignoring the problem until it’s too late.   

Resistors to change can be stubborn but with the right partner it’s much easier to convince the naysayers that new technology can tackle the skills and talent gap by designing out many of the functions traditionally undertaken manually.

So, what’s the alternative? 

Working with a Digital Transformation Partner will solve many of your recruitment issues. By ensuring your processes are automated wherever possible, valuable people are freed from mundane roles and your engineering resource is fully optimised. 

This way, you’re recruiting TIME not people. 

The benefits of partnering with Aeromark include the full end to end visibility offered enabling you to fully optimise your existing resources, and future proofing of your business as you grow. We are true Digital Transformation Partners and will work with you every step of the way.

Optimisation of Existing Resources 

Scheduling and optimising your existing resources are a simple way to address your service engineer skills shortages.

Aeromark’s resource scheduling and optimisation tools within the platform will increase your engineers’ efficiency, potentially revealing that you are already adequately resourced but not using your engineers time effectively. For example:

While more jobs per day per engineer is an important metric, the real measure is more COMPLETED JOBS per day, and optimisation should never be seen in isolation from the parts management process and supply chain integration.

Of course, if you don’t need more people, there are enormous savings on recruitment costs, HR and onboarding resulting from this.

End to End Visibility

The complete end to end visibility of your facilities and assets offered by Aeromark’s platform, including visibility of your profit and loss down to job level, allowing you to see clearly which of your customers are most profitable, those which are cost-neutral or even costing you to service. This enables you to work smarter and increase the profitability of your customer list.

Subcontractor Management with Aeromark 

With Aeromark, you can automate your planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedules so PPM jobs will flag alongside any reactive tasks scheduled with existing customers, without effecting your customer SLA or CX. This results in more jobs being undertaken each day, fewer return visits and ensures that engineers with the right skills and parts are deployed effectively.

Real-Time Parts Management

Of course, there’s no point getting your engineer to a job on time if they don’t have the correct parts in their van stock.

Does your current service management software offer an automatic van stock and parts management system which provides:

  • Real-time visibility of van, warehouse, reserved and site stock
  • Audit trail of parts ordered, collected, consumed and returned
  • Complete stock and inventory audit trail
  • Automated supplier price and availability checks
  • Rolling stock management process

If not, then consider speaking to Aeromark about how we can help you.

End-to-End Digital Transformation Partner

If you are investing in job management software don’t just sign up to a cheap off the shelf product that does not grow with your business. It might get you out of pain now, but it will cost you more in the long run.

Think strategically not tactically – your competition does. With Aeromark, you get an end-to-end Digital Transformation Partner who will work with you to help you grow – A partner who will enable you to seamlessly integrate new users and legacy data – a critical requirement for any business during periods of growth.

The initial cost of change is significant, and it may seem daunting, but better to do it once properly rather than keep changing your software provider to keep up with your business growth or find yourself reverting to Excel spreadsheets as you have outgrown your system.

Measurable Return on Investment 

When choosing a Digital Transformation Partner, inevitably, there may be a higher upfront cost than simply buying in plug and play software, but a partnering approach will provide more efficiencies over time and will pay for itself in the long-term.  

Efficiencies will reduce back-office costs and enable redeployment of staff to do more fulfilling work. Digital transformation is not a product it’s a partnership, and when you meet the right partner you will know, and so will they. 

 

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How Aeromark's, Digital Transformation Partner, job management software can overcome field service engineer recruitment problems and help with subcontractor management

Sharon Dewdney is Aeromark's Head of Technical Delivery. She creates a collaborative link between the project delivery and technical teams within Aeromark.

Aeromark Communications Ltd Manton Lane Bedford MK41 7TL
Tel.: 0345 330 5757
Email: info@aeromark.co.uk

Aeromark’s smart Service Management platform transforms the efficiency of service-based businesses. The Aeromark suite, including Service and Asset Management, Optimised Workforce Scheduling, Mobile Apps, GPS tracking, Interactive Portals, and Insight Analytics, provides one of the most comprehensive and powerful Field Service Management solutions available, delivering previously unattainable efficiency and customer experience improvements.

     

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