Every civil engineering firm has two funnels that drive business. The first is your sales funnel, which is a lot easier to fill in periods of economic growth. Assuming you do this well, then the next funnel you must fill is your production funnel. For civil engineers, this means surveys, drawings, blueprints, and drafts. The problem is the people you need to produce your work are in high demand and low supply. This is what we refer to as the “Civil Engineering Crazy Cycle”. This article outlines what it is and what we’re doing to solve it.
Not surprising, there is a shortage of engineering talent. In addition, the competition for “knowledge workers” gives a lot of options for those interested in STEM related jobs. For those who choose to become engineers, there are many career paths to take. This is due to how broad the overall engineering industry is. This then leaves a relatively small pool of civil engineering talent amongst the world’s other engineers. In fact, the American Society for Civil Engineers recently published a study done by Dr. Brian L. Yoder that broke down bachelor’s degrees awarded to students across the country by each engineering discipline. In the year he did the study, of the 106,658 bachelor’s degrees given out to students, only 1,000 of those were for future civil engineers.
To make matters worse, increased demand for production across the US places additional stress on an already shallow pool of civil engineering talent. And because of this, it can likely that your firm ends up operating without any margin or beyond capacity. This heavy workload coupled with insufficient staff can only mean one thing for your firm: strained production.
There is no doubt that the abundance of new work can be exciting! However, the systems, processes, and people you have in place might not be able to keep up. What does that mean for your organization? Your reputation (amongst clients) and work culture are put on the line. If you get work and your client’s expectations cannot be met, then you may likely damage any opportunity for future work with this client and potentially others. On the other hand, if you and your team constantly work overtime for extended periods, you’ll likely suffer burnout and the potential for unwanted turnover.
This leaves you with a choice. You can bring in the work and put yourself and your company at risk culturally and from a reputation standpoint or you can turn down the work and miss out on a growth opportunity. Neither are good options. This right here is what we call the crazy cycle. This is a major dilemma many civil engineering executives are faced with each day.
The good news for you is that you are not alone. The bad news is not many are able to stop this cycle from recurring. But how do the few who are able, stop the crazy cycle? That’s where the better news comes in. And you’d be surprised by how simple the answer just is: stay ahead of the hiring curve!
However, while it sounds simple in nature, many companies fail to do this simple step. The root cause of the crazy cycle stems from hiring managers oftentimes wait to begin looking for the talent they need until there’s an open position. The other delay can occur when your company is awarded with work that brings about a new hire need. Unfortunately, if you fall into this category, your company is likely way too late.
It is critical that companies stay on top of their hiring needs well before the position is open.
You may not need someone now, but you are guaranteed to need that skillset one day. If there is a skillset that is vital to your organization’s services, it is critical to always be sourcing and engaging with that type of candidate, well before there is a need. But if you are like most and already late on positions that needed to be filled yesterday, this may not be an option for your in-house HR team. And that’s why Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) might be the most logical and cost-effective solution for you and your business.
So what is RPO? This fractional form of recruiting dedicates an outsourced third-party individual or team as your adjunct recruiter(s). Essentially, you engage a civil engineering recruiting firm to handle the beginning phases of the recruitment process for a flat managed monthly fee. They do all the sourcing, engaging, and screening to find talent with the skillset you are looking for. Ultimately under this model, they are constantly filling your pipeline with relevant talent, keeping you well ahead of the hiring curve. This way when the position opens, you have already taken the necessary interview steps and can hire immediately. Not to mention, this also protects you from unexpected turnover. And in the long run, it saves you time and money, thus reducing your overall hiring frustrations.
By simply staying ahead of the hiring curve, your civil engineering firm can escape the crazy cycle it’s likely been in for years. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? We are excited to say that RPO is a much better solution that keeps you ahead of the hiring curve, helps you budget, stabilize your recruiting expense and ultimately produces a much better pool of qualified talent! All while aligning your recruiting partner with YOUR business needs, not their pocketbook.