} Interview Imke Bongers: "Dual sustainability is the key to success for engineers" - Strand

10/9/2020 - Posted in  Engineering

Interview Imke Bongers: "Dual sustainability is the key to success for engineers."

Today's state of the employment market

The corona crisis has seriously rocked the boat. Six months after the lockdown, we at Strand draw up today’s state of the employment market.

Engineers in particular turn out to be sought after significantly more than other profiles, but the content of job descriptions has changed due to the crisis: companies are now looking for engineers for smaller and routine projects.

On the side of job seekers, candidates rate sustainability way higher than before: a durable homeworking policy and the sustainable character of the company are no longer nice to haves, but have become dealbreakers

We asked our inhouse expert, Imke Bongers, for her insights on the engineering industry.

LinkedIn research
We analyzed the evolution of the Belgian employment market between August 2019 and August 2020 among 835.080 active professionals across 34 industries based on data by the professional network site LinkedIn with their Talent Insights Tool. This shows that the engineering market is the fastest growing market in Belgium with a growth of 3%.

The most sought after competences in job offers prove this: in 16% of all job offers, engineering and analytical skills are required. 

Younger professionals choose for sustainable companies 
In general, a challenging work environment (55%), a good work-life balance (55%) and a competitive remuneration system (49%) are the most important parameters that job seekers take into account today.

“When we zoom in on engineering profiles, we notice that younger professionals think it is very important that their employer contributes to society in a meaningful way. Consequently, they ask questions about sustainability, much more than their older colleagues”, says Imke Bongers.

In the (petro)chemical industry, the hunt for engineering profiles is on. However, since the beginning of the crisis, the nature of the projects has changed. “Where greenfield projects and optimizations were all around in pre-corona times, we now see that companies are choosing to invest in smaller maintenance work,” Imke explains.

This is a stark difference with what the job candidate is looking for: they have a clear preference for innovative processes and the designs of new installations instead of mere adjustment work. 

What does the future hold? 
Innovation and a focus on dual sustainability is the future: on the one hand for HR by implementing a durable homeworking policy, and on the other hand by a sustainable shift in the character of the company and the offered products.

When it comes to the expectations of the job seeker in the (petro)chemical industry, travel time to work and a healthy work-life balance take the upper hand. But while homeworking seems to have come to stay at most companies, this shift in the (petro)chemical industry has yet to be established. 

“We can already see today that petrochemical companies are preparing for a fulltime return to the office, while many candidates now value partial homeworking. This fact combined with the delay of new projects, does not make it easy for employers in this industry to attract and keep job candidates”, Imke says. 

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