There are always going to be challenges in attaining the right staff in any business, but for an industry about to receive an influx in project work, getting it right first time around is going to mean the difference between success and failure within the defence industry.
Challenge - Exposure
“There's not a level of awareness out there in the community around Defence or defence industry that there might be in other countries,” said Kinexus director Rob Kremer.
“If you look at the US for instance, it's much more front-of-mind, be that to a person in the street or a graduate.
“There is a lot of competition for some of those new skill sets that Defence will need, particularly ICT and Cyber.
“It's a new domain of warfare, not just for Defence, but also for any company out there as well, that is in the media a lot. We'll be competing with every industry for those types of professionals.”
Plan of Action
“Commonly what I hear from people moving into defence industry from other industries, or maybe exiting Defence for a while and working somewhere different, is that the technology and the reason for the technology is usually more interesting for those individuals," said Kremer.
“By nature, it's usually cutting edge relative to other industries, and many people really identify with the importance of the mission.”
Challenge – Logistics and Clearances
“We're sort of there for many skill sets, not all of them. Some things like naval ship building, there's a drop off in demand, and hopefully we'll be able to maintain contact with those people until demand picks up in the next couple of years," said Kremer.
“There are some unique requirements in defence industry, particularly in the technology area and engineering around security clearances.
“That can take a period of time, to vet somebody, from go to woe before they're even allowed to work on some of the pieces of technology that we're using.
Plan of Action
“That's a barrier that could be addressed, if government were to be able to invest in a increased vetting capability and maybe work with industry to pre-clear groups of people that they know the industry will need at a given point, that would be a good initiative," Kremer said.
“It’s a catch-22, and with the companies that we work with, we acknowledge reality and we understand that sometimes they can't bring people in. But what we do encourage them to do, whether it's through us or their own networks or whatever else, is to start building relationships with the types of people they think they might need, so when they do need them, there's already that relationship.
“They'll heed the call. They'll join your company rather than the one that they're just learning about.
“They're going to have a lot of choice in the future. Everybody's going to be recruiting, so it's going to be those organisations with the best relationships with those workers that are going to get first pick.”
Challenge – Brand Image
“When I started recruiting in the defence sector, there were certain companies out there that we found difficult to attract Defence candidates to, because right or wrong, they had a bad perception through experiences during their time in uniform.”
Plan of Action
“Companies with strong brands, companies that are recognisable by people in Defence and where people in Defence have had a good relationship or good interaction with that company, they're the ones who find it easiest to attract people coming out of uniform.”