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Why Skilled Automation Engineers Aren't Applying for your Job Openings

March 7, 2024
Companies need to improve communications with job candidates, and that starts with knowing what they're looking for in skilled employees.

That skilled automation expert you desperately need? She’s getting really frustrated with you. Skilled job candidates say it’s taking longer to find work, despite huge numbers of open positions in manufacturing, because hiring companies either don’t know what they want or can’t explain it to candidates.

According to a recent survey of 481 unemployed job hunters, many are taking longer to find their next job while also sending out fewer applications than previously. Conducted by Unmudl, an online training platform that works with companies to train prospective hires for skills relevant to manufacturing and logistics firms, the survey found that 42.2% of unemployed job seekers had been looking for a job for six months or longer.

Another figure showed that many respondents had yet to cast a wide net. Just over half of respondents, 50.3%, said they had only sent out 10 or fewer job applications over the course of their search. Roughly 12.2% of respondents answered with the highest possible response, indicating they had sent “more than 50” applications.

According to Parminder Jassal, founder and CEO of Unmudl, the survey’s latest numbers notably differ from previous results, particularly in the length of time job-searchers were taking to find their next position.

Lack of Confidence… on Both Sides

“It’s a disconnect from the number of unfilled jobs out there,” she said. Previous respondents, she said, had more commonly selected that they had filled out at least 30 applications. Now, though, the mood among applicants has soured, she said: “There’s a lack of confidence about folks.”

Other responses in the survey were consistent with a lack of confidence among those looking for a job. Another question found that a majority of respondents, 53.6%, said they were either “doubtful” or “very doubtful” about their ability to secure a job “in the current jobs market.” A slightly greater majority, 56.7%, responded “yes” when asked if they felt “a lack of skills is holding you back from finding meaningful employment.”

Finding Clarity in the Job Market

With job candidates confused and depressed by the mismatches in the market, the onus is on companies to articulate the skills they’re looking for, even if the specifics of those skills remain opaque. Ideas from three companies — Amazon, Siemens and Deloitte — suggest two approaches.

The first had its origins with Siemens AG, which popularized the term mechatronics to describe a holistic approach to engineering capability. The word itself dates back to Japanese automation company Yaskawa, where an engineer began using it to describe the intersection of mechanics and electronics in 1969.

An engineer trained in mechatronics would be capable with mechanical and electrical engineering, along with enough software engineering to implement both. Amazon, one of Unmudl’s early clients, worked with Unmudl to train workers in elements of mechatronics.

Though that idea for a versatile engineer is not new, Jassal notes, it’s an attractive skillset, one that works with a variety of manufacturing jobs, and therefore an attractive one for Amazon and other companies investing in automation.

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