As a leading recruiter in the rail industry, we know first-hand the skills struggles our clients are facing. There’s no doubt that a dearth of talent is impacting the sector and will only continue to do so unless action is taken – and quick. In fact, this is one of the reasons why we’re attending RailTex 2019 later this month.

We feel that by sharing insight and working together as an industry – regardless of what role you play in rail – we can all drive real change in the sector. But how can you use industry conferences to support the talent attraction drive and what else should we all be doing?

Making the most of attending RailTex 2019

In the first instance, using platforms such as RailTex 2019 to share what we’ve each found works and, indeed, what doesn’t, will prove useful. By collaborating in this way and sharing best practice advice we increase the likelihood of being able to address the talent shortage in the industry. In fact, we’re really looking forward to hearing more from Clair Mowbray, Chief Executive at the National College High Speed Rail (NCHSR) on this very subject!

Events such as this are also hugely effective methods of ensuring we all dedicate time to discuss industry-specific challenges. In a high-demand work environment it’s entirely understandable that many employers and hiring teams simply don’t have the time to look beyond their immediate focus and consider the wider issues affecting others in rail. By remaining siloed in project-specific challenges, it is almost impossible to drive any significant and long-term change. Setting aside some time to network with others in the industry and discuss methods of addressing the dearth of talent will certainly help hone our attention to this matter.

Be bold and talk!

On a similar theme, we all need to be bold enough to challenge anything that is proving detrimental to addressing the skills shortage. For example, our own Georgia Breadmore, shared her insight in the latest edition of Rail Professional magazine which will be showcased at RailTex 2019. In the piece she outlines the severity of the talent shortages, with a particular focus on the need for greater diversity of talent. While we might not all be comfortable having the conversation about gender equality, the simple fact is it needs to be addressed.

There’s absolutely no doubt that rail is a male-dominated field. The split between men and women remains the chasm it has historically been. But while this has long been recognised as an issue by those from inside the industry (and even beyond), very little impactful action has taken place. Arguably much of this can be attributed to the fact that many of the conversations on this issue have centred on the fact that we need to address the diversity imbalance rather than how.

As Georgia stated, if we’re to see demonstrable change on this issue we need to go beyond the existing workforce and encourage the emerging generation to choose a career in rail. In order to ensure that females feel equally encouraged into the sector, it’s important to consider just who is handling this conversation. Sending in two like-minded males to schools and colleges will likely result in those from the same demographic considering employment in rail. However, ensuring that we’re putting forward a balanced representation of people from the industry – including females and those from under-represented groups – will help shift the industry away from this male-focused image.

Join us at RailTex

Addressing the dearth of talent in rail is certainly going to be no easy challenge, but by coming together at these events we can certainly work cohesively to find a solution. If you’re interested in joining the skills shortage discussion, we’d certainly recommend attending high-profile events such as RailTex 2019 – and of course let us know if you’re coming and you can meet up with the team to share your views on the subject. Get in touch on any of our social media channels to let us know if you’ll be there:

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For those of you not coming along to the event, why not have the conversation with our team online instead? Get in touch today