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Five things to consider when choosing an engineering recruitment agency



So you need a recruitment partner that can find you the very best engineering talent anywhere in the world. There are plenty of options out there; after all there are tens of thousands of recruitment agencies operating around the world. But that makes it all the more important that you get the right one. 

Here are five things to consider when choosing an engineering recruitment agency to meet your workforce needs.
Ensure your engineering recruitment agency has a global footprint and capability

1. Global footprint and capability

It’s an increasingly globalised world and the engineering industries are no exception.

Deposits of natural resources such as oil, gas and metals and minerals are found in a dizzying array of disparate locations - and these deposits do not respect borders, governments, habitability or many other factors. In other words, natural resources can be located in the world’s most challenging locations- meaning it’s vital that you choose a recruitment agency that can support your workforce no matter where it ends up working.

When you’re looking for a recruitment partner, it’s vital that you align your company’s geographic footprint (both at present and the future) with the footprint of your recruitment agency. It’s not just about co-location either. Yes, it’s great for your recruitment agency to have an on-the-ground presence in your countries of operation (which can aid in contractor management, meet & greet etc), but it’s vital that your recruitment partner is able to provide the necessary ‘behind the scenes’ support required. For example, obtaining visas can be very different process from country to country with various timelines involved. Applying for these visas in the correct way is key to ensuring that you receive your required visas first time and thus not hindering any project deadlines you may be working towards. 

Therefore, when it comes to global footprint, ensure that your recruitment provider doesn’t just have the necessary presence, but the necessary capability to support you and your workforce in the countries you’ll be operating in. It’s a subtle distinction, but one that can make an enormous difference in the overall success of your project.

A good way to consider your recruitment and workforce needs on a globalised basis is to think ‘end-to-end’ and ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Where do I source my workforce from?

  • Once I’ve recruited my workforce, how do I get them to the location of my project? (e.g. arranging flights, visas, passport checks, health checks, travel insurances, set-up of in-country banking services where necessary/appropriate).

  • What do I need to do ahead of my workforce arriving at the location of the project? (e.g. arranging accommodation, schooling for dependents, health and other insurances).

  • How do I manage and care for my workforce once they are working at the project location (e.g. payroll, trans-national payment services, contractor management, provision of PPE and specialist equipment, emergency health and crisis support etc).

  • How do I manage the return and offboarding of my workforce upon project completion? (e.g. travel, repatriation of household items, logistics, off-boarding, contract reviews etc).

  • Your recruitment provider should be able to comprehensively answer all of these questions and offer you solutions that enable you to easily and efficiently recruit, mobilise, manage and offboard a workforce for your project no matter where it’s located. Bonus points if your recruitment provider can also provide you with a plan to retain key contractors for your future projects!

    The majority of major oil and gas, energy and natural resource projects take place across multiple international locations. For example, a deepwater oil and gas project will typically involve design work in London or Houston, followed by fabrication work in Asia, and drilling and completions activity in South America or East Africa. No matter where you are working, your recruitment and workforce solutions provider should be able to support you every step of the way.
    Is your engineering recruitment agency compliant with all relevant legislation and regulations?

    2. Compliance

    Whether you need to recruit expatriates or in-country nationals, there’s one thing that always needs to be a constant - being 100% compliant with all relevant local, national and international regulations and laws. Falling foul of any of these regulations and laws can have serious consequences for your business and project. 

    It’s vital then that your recruitment partner can demonstrate a commitment to compliance in everything they do - and what they have to do to be compliant varies from country to country.

    Take the UK for example. It’s a major location for many international engineering firms with many of these companies maintaining their headquarters there or at least significant regional hubs. But to be compliant with UK law requires adhering to a myriad regulations such as:

  • What information you are and are not allowed to give to the candidate and the hirer.

  • Anti-discrimination legislation.

  • Agency Workers Regulation (AWR).

  • Agency Tax Rules.

  • Working Time Regulations.

  • National Minimum Wage.

  • IR35.

  • And many others! Your recruitment partner should not only be familiar with all of the relevant workforce laws and regulations in the countries in which you are seeking to recruit and operate a workforce, but they should also have robust policies and procedures in place to ensure adherence to these regulations and an escalation process should adherence not be met.

    Aside from national regulations you should also ensure that your recruitment partner is fully compliant with all global regulations. These include sanctions laws administered and enforced by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Hong Kong and others. International laws can place restrictions on workers of certain nationalities, as well as placing restrictions on the transfer of funds to and from certain nations.

    Not only will this ensure that your workforce benefits from a wide variety of labour protections, but it will also protect you from the consequences of breaching various laws / regulations in the countries in which you are operating, as well as lifting a considerable administration burden from your HR team.
    Does your engineering recruitment agency have the financial stability to offer you a stable service?

    3. Financial stability

    The oil and gas and wider energy markets are some of the most volatile in the world.

    The unprecedented fluctuation of barrel prices over the past decade have tested the financial boundaries of oil producers and their supply chains - including their recruitment partners. Many have fallen by the wayside, with serious consequences for HR departments, Hiring Managers and Project Leads who have had to find alternative arrangements for their contract workforces at short notice.

    So, when you’re picking a recruitment partner for international projects it’s incredibly important that you select one that can demonstrate rock solid financial stability. When you are transitioning contractors to a recruitment partner, with said partner payrolling and supporting those contractors, you want to ensure that the recruitment partner is going to be able to meet payroll at the end of the month, every month, without fail.

    There are a number of factors to consider when establishing the financial stability of your recruitment partner:

  • Review their accounts if possible.

  • Examine their banking facility and overall access to credit/capital.

  • Look for external verification of their financial position. 

  • With the oil and gas and wider energy markets continuing in their volatility, and suppliers facing ever tighter squeezes on their margins (and thus balance sheets) you must ensure that you select a recruitment partner that can continue to meet its obligations towards your workforce in even the toughest of market conditions.
    Does your engineering recruitment agency have the ability to secure the very best talent for your business or project?

    4. The ability to attract high-quality relevant talent

    If you choose a recruitment partner which uses traditional advertising methods, you’ll get traditional results. 

    As counter-intuitive as it may seem, you want to choose a recruitment partner which can secure you candidates who are not looking for a job. Let us explain…

    When it comes to attracting candidates most recruitment agencies go for the low-hanging fruit i.e. those candidates who are either currently out-of-work or who are actively seeking their next job or contract placement. Unfortunately, these are very rarely the exceptional or best candidates for your position or project (unless you happen to be extremely lucky). Instead, you want to try and secure those candidates who are at the pinnacle of their careers - in other words, the real industry/discipline experts. 

    These exceptional ‘top-of-the-industry’ candidates rarely spend their time scouring job boards or reading boring job adverts on agency websites. After all, they’re focused on the latest developments within their particular industry/discipline. 

    To reach these quality candidates, your recruitment partner should instead take a different approach - one that will grab and hold their attention. Yes, traditional forms of recruitment advertising have their place (e.g. job boards, newspaper adverts, out of home advertising) but your recruitment partner should be able to wield the attention of those high-quality candidates and direct it efficiently towards your vacancies. 
    Your engineering recruitment agency should be able to offer you market insights that provide you with an edge over your competitors in the job market

    5. Market intelligence and insights

    There’s no experience quite like lived experience. 

    What do we mean by that? Well, if you’re looking for a recruitment partner which has a truly in-depth understanding of your recruitment requirements, then you’ll want to pick one which has a background in the engineering, technical and energy industries. 

    Not only should you look for industry experience within your recruitment partner (i.e. they have employees who have first-hand experience of the engineering and energy industries), but you want to ensure that you are choosing a recruitment partner which possesses up-to-the-minute industry knowledge. Just as you want candidates who are industry experts, you want a recruitment partner which is an industry expert too.

    With the pressure on Hiring Managers and HR departments to keep costs low, reduce time to hire, and keep retention rates as high as possible, it’s important that your recruitment partner is able to provide comprehensive answers to the following questions:

  • What are the average salary rates for specific disciplines in specific regions?

  • What are the employee value propositions of direct competitors (e.g. other oil and gas companies) in a particular region?

  • What is the average day rate for specific disciplines? What is the difference in rate between ex-patriates and in-country nationals?

  • What are the talent pools like for specific disciplines in locations where major projects are commencing?

  • Those are just a few of the questions that your engineering recruitment partner should be able to answer. It’s access to this kind of valuable market data which can make a huge difference to the overall outcome of your staffing / contracting success with regards to time-bound projects.
    Choose the engineering recruitment agency of choice - Fircroft

    Choose the engineering recruitment agency of choice

    For half-a-century Fircroft has been consistently providing industry-leading recruitment and workforce solutions to the biggest names in engineering, energy and natural resources. Explore our range of award-winning services now or contact us to arrange a free consultation to discuss your requirements in confidence.
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