How to attract and retain talent in the network engineering space10 Oct, 20238 min
Network engineering professionals are the backbone of modern connectivity, ensuring data flo...
Network engineering professionals are the backbone of modern connectivity, ensuring data flows seamlessly across the digital world. However, in a market characterised by high demand and fierce competition, the challenge for organisations lies not just in attracting top-tier network engineering talent but also in retaining them.
The importance of attracting and retaining talent in the network engineering space cannot be overstated. In this age of digital transformation, network engineers are the architects responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure that underpins our digital lives. Ultimately, the success of any business, from multinational corporations to cutting-edge startups, hinges on its ability to both attract the best talent in this field and keep them engaged and loyal.
In this guide, we will delve into the critical aspects of attracting and retaining talent in network engineering. We will explore why this endeavour is of paramount importance, providing compelling statistics and insights into the current job market trends. Then, we will provide you with our 5 top tips to attract and retain talent in network engineering, allowing you to entice top-tier network engineers and foster a work environment where they thrive and contribute to your company's success.
So, whether you are an established industry player looking to fortify your network engineering team or an evolving startup aiming to make your mark in the digital sphere, this guide will give you the knowledge and equip you with strategies to allow your organisation to remain at the forefront of the network engineering landscape. Let's embark on this journey to discover how to attract and retain talent that will drive your network infrastructure to new heights.
- Why is attracting and retaining talent important?
- 5 top tips to attract and retain talent in network engineering
- Provide your network engineers with innovative projects
- Invest in the latest and best tools for network engineers
- Offer competitive employee benefits to your network engineers
- Give your network engineers development opportunities
- Foster a positive company culture for your network engineers
Why is attracting and retaining talent important?
In 2022, over 50 million people quit their jobs in the US alone, and according to various sources, this number shows no signs of slowing down. For example, a LinkedIn study reported that nearly 70% of US-based Gen Z and millennials plan on leaving their jobs in 2023. Additionally, a survey by Joblist revealed that 67% of employed job seekers are prepared to leave their current position in 2023.
Whether it’s due to limited growth opportunities, a lack of pay, or feeling unappreciated or uncared for, there are many reasons why employees leave their jobs or seek opportunities elsewhere. Regardless of why they decide to leave and what industry they’re in, what can be agreed upon is how worrying the statistic of people wanting to move on from their current employer is. When looking at the stats above, you should apply them to your current and future network engineer.
As an employer, the last thing you want is for your network engineering talent to want to leave your business and seek new pastures, potentially for one of your competitors. Additionally, you don’t want to become known for being a place where the top network engineers refrain from wanting to join your team. Instead, you should strive to keep your network engineering talent attraction and retention strategy at the forefront of your organisational growth.
So, when answering the question of ‘why is attracting and retaining talent important?’ here are some of the key things to consider:
Talent attraction and retention strategies reduce staff turnover
In an ideal world, you want to keep your employee turnover rate as low as possible to not disrupt the flow of your network engineering team. Let’s face it: If your network engineers see several colleagues leaving your business, this could start a chain reaction where your other engineers follow suit. Conversely, if the talent you want to attract notices a pattern of people leaving your network engineering team, this could raise alarm bells for them.
How to calculate employee retention rate
As a rule, you should keep your staff turnover rate between 35% and 85%. Learning how to calculate employee retention rate is simple and worth doing to assess how many people you’ve attracted and retained over a set period - be it weeks, months or years.
Here’s how you do it. Simply divide the number of network engineers who stayed with your business during a chosen time period by the number of engineers who were with you at the start of the set time period.
For example, let’s say you had 100 network engineers at the beginning of the year, and 80 of those were still with you at the end of the year. Here, your employee retention rate would be 80%.
Feel free to use this simple formula to calculate your employee retention rate:
Retention Rate = (Remaining Headcount ÷ Beginning Headcount) x 100
Additionally, according to data by Zippia, based on over 36,000 network engineer CVs, the average network engineer will remain with an employer for 1-2 years.
Of course, you may want to keep your network engineers for longer than the above period. If that’s the case, don’t worry. We’ll touch on how to attract and retain talent later in this guide, but for now, it’s important to know that a robust talent attraction and retention strategy can reduce your staff turnover rate and keep people inclined to work for you.
Increases the productivity of your network engineering team
By focusing on your talent attraction and retention strategy, you’ll likely see the productivity levels rise, as your staff will be more engaged and motivated to be productive and help your company reach its potential. In turn, this increase in productivity will lead to increased profitability.
Employee attraction and retention can keep costs down
It costs a business an average of 33% of an employee’s annual salary if they leave. Of course, you’ll want to invest your budget into hiring talent, but with a compelling attraction and retention strategy, you shouldn’t lose focus on keeping your best people as well. Losing your top talent can cost you thousands that could be spent elsewhere within your organisation and network engineering team.
Attracting and retaining employees gives you a competitive edge
Networking engineering is an in-demand space for talent, and you need to have that competitive edge when attracting and retaining the industry's brightest engineers. If your existing talent realises they're working for an outgoing business, they'll be inclined to stay loyal to you. Additionally, other engineers will want to join your ranks if word spreads within the sector of how good it is to work for you.
What's more, if a client recognises you treat your employees well, they will be more encouraged to build a long-lasting relationship with you. Why? Well, not only will they respect how you approach your workplace culture, but they will also think that if your talent is happy, on board with your goals and motivated to perform above and beyond for the business, they will receive excellent client service in return.
Ultimately, if your business becomes known for having an excellent employee attraction and retention strategy, you’ll soon be considered one of the best in your market by future employees, competitors and clients alike.
Enhances internal creativity
One final key reason why attracting and retaining talent is important is that it can enhance internal creativity. How? Well, when your network engineers feel valued by you and given the freedom to be creative with various projects, they will be more compelled to stay within their role. Similarly, promoting that you can be creative and innovative within the industry will appeal to the network engineers you want to attract, who are hungry for a new challenge.
Ultimately, this enhanced creativity will take you above the competition as a pioneer in your space as you become a trendsetter in developing your niche's latest products and services.
Attracting and retaining talent in the network engineering specialism is a juggling act. You must balance keeping your best engineers on board and away from your competitors while ensuring the top talent outside your organisation is more eager to work for you than another business within your niche.
With that said, you may be thinking, what are some ways in which companies can attract and retain employees? Scroll to our next section to discover our 5 steps for attracting and retaining talent in network engineering.
5 top tips to attract and retain talent in network engineering
Since we’ve covered why attracting and retaining talent is important, it’s time we turn our attention to the most effective things you can do to give your business the best chance of attracting and retaining the top network engineers capable of shaping the future of your brand.
From providing your network engineers with innovative projects, investing in the latest tools, offering competitive employee benefits, giving your people development opportunities and fostering a positive company culture, here are our 5 top tips to attract and retain talent in network engineering.
1. Provide your network engineers with innovative projects
Our first top tip for attracting and retaining talent in the network engineering space focuses on providing your current and future employees with the opportunity to work on the market's leading and most innovative projects.
Talent within this space is always on the lookout for network engineer jobs that will challenge them and allow them to use their skills and knowledge to produce work that will have a positive impact worldwide. Whether it's ensuring the networks of the world's leading enterprises are optimised to work seamlessly or using the latest technologies to design new networking systems for global brands, network engineers need to be motivated by innovative projects.
Therefore, if you want to retain your talent, you should ensure you can offer exciting and engaging projects that will allow your network engineers to learn and grow. You should also provide alternative projects for your team to work on to avoid them getting complacent, bored and more eager to look elsewhere for an alternative opportunity.
Additionally, if you can promote that your business works with some of the industry's biggest brands and most prominent projects, they will see you as the go-to brand to work for and will be keen to join your team. You can promote these projects on your socials like LinkedIn, through case studies on your website and email campaigns - any outlet that can boost your employer brand and reach the candidates you want to hire.
2. Invest in the latest and best tools for network engineers
Network engineers are at the forefront of innovation and know the ins and outs of the latest and best tools within the industry to enable them to implement growth. With that said, if your organisation is behind in bringing in the latest tools and technologies internally for your engineers to have at their disposal, what incentive do they have to either stay with you or apply for a competitor that is staying up-to-date and equipped with industry advancements?
For that reason, next on our list of steps for attracting and retaining talent in network engineering involves investing in the latest and best tools for network engineers.
Your current and future network engineers will want proof that you see value and invest in the latest and best tools that allow them to work at the highest level possible and inspire them to produce work they can be proud of. If you can’t offer this, they may be more inclined to look elsewhere so they can play a part in companies that are investing in the best tools and are genuinely looking to grow within the industry.
Of course, don’t do yourself a disservice by breaking the bank on all the latest and best tools for network engineers. Instead, research what tools can benefit your network engineering team and your business. Here, you should also lean on your engineering experts for their opinions and feedback on what they consider to be the best tools and technologies that could drive growth for your brand.
By doing the latter, you will gain specialist insight into the best tools for network engineers, and your current employees will appreciate the fact you value their opinions and feedback. In turn, respecting their views and allowing them to give feedback on specific topics could help you retain your talent - but more on this point later.
If you can justify why you should invest in the latest and best tools for network engineers, go ahead and do so. Investing in these tools will give you an advantage over a less tech-driven competitor and give your future engineers a reason to jump on board with your vision while giving your people a reason to stay and invest their time in your business.
If you’re wondering what some of the best tools for network engineers are, check out our guide on the 5 network automation tools a network engineer should use.
3. Offer competitive employee benefits to your network engineers
Another way to attract and retain talent in network engineering is by offering competitive employee benefits. You can present many benefits to your employees by showing appreciation for your people and recognising their achievements while giving them the work-life balance many crave.
Remember to consider that the candidate you’re interviewing and looking to hire could have received offers from other employers. In order to attract them and get the deal over the line, you should strive to ensure the benefits you offer are competitive. Similarly, if your employee benefits are not up to par with your competitors, your existing network engineers may be drawn to other opportunities outside your organisation.
When deciding on the benefits you want to offer your employees, ask your current network engineers about the benefits they would like to see removed, kept or introduced. Their view matters, and asking for their opinions will make them feel valued by you and potentially make them more motivated to stay loyal to you - as previously mentioned. Additionally, always make sure you can justify the benefits from a budget standpoint.
Below are the key benefits you can offer your network engineers as part of your talent attraction and retention strategy. These benefits and incentives can be provided to your staff for simply being part of your business and for recognising the exceptional work they do:
Competitive employee benefits for your network engineers
Employee recognition benefits
General employee benefits
Although money is not the be-all and end-all of what motivates network engineers, you should always aim to offer a competitive network engineer salary to your current employees and future team members. Again, don’t overspend on salaries to the point where it is detrimental to your finances, but be prepared to negotiate and stretch yourself to some degree to attract and retain talent.
4. Give your network engineers development opportunities
Next on our list of top tips for attracting and retaining talent in network engineering is to provide talent with development opportunities. Giving your network engineers development opportunities is another surefire approach to attract and retain top talent. Engineers are always looking for ways to learn and grow, and a company that invests in their development is more likely to keep them engaged, motivated and loyal.
Here are some specific development opportunities that you can offer your network engineers:
Training and certification programmes
Allow your engineers the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and build on the most in-demand tech skills through top training programmes and the best certifications for network engineers. If you have the resources, these training opportunities could be done in-house. Alternatively, you could explore outsourced training providers and various online courses that your staff can complete in their own time or within arranged company hours.
Assign your network engineers with mentors
You could also pair your network engineers with more experienced engineers who can provide them with guidance and support. This can be a great way for your newer or more junior engineers to learn new skills and become accustomed to how your business operates.
Provide opportunities to work on challenging projects
We touched on this earlier, but allowing your network engineers to work on challenging projects will enable them to learn and grow. This could involve working on new technologies, developing new solutions, or leading teams.
Allow them to attend network engineering meetups
Encourage your talent to attend conferences and meetups where they can network with other engineers and learn about the latest trends in the field. Doing so can help them stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and develop their professional network. Additionally, allowing your engineers to network with talent within the industry is an opportunity to promote your brand and attract more people.
Promote your network engineers from within
Another excellent way of giving your network engineers opportunities to develop is by promoting from within. Of course, there will always be times when you'll want to attract new engineers. However, if your employees know there is room to grow their careers and climb the ranks to more senior positions with your business, they will be more encouraged to stay loyal to you.
When considering the development opportunities you want to give your network engineers, liaise with your employees to see what opportunities are attractive to them. You could also present this question to your future hires at the interview or onboarding stage so you can understand their career goals and what motivates them. With this information, you can tailor development opportunities to suit the needs of your talent.
Ultimately, giving your current and future network engineers development opportunities will motivate them to join or remain with your brand due to your investment in their careers. Additionally, the more development opportunities you give your staff, the better they will become within their roles. Their career development will do wonders for your business, from increasing productivity to inspiring further innovation.
5. Foster a positive company culture for your network engineers
Our final entry in our list of 5 top tips to attract and retain talent in network engineering involves fostering a positive company culture. But first, what is company culture?
Company culture combines the shared values, attitudes, and behaviours that define how a business characterises itself. It's all about how your employee interacts with each other, make decisions, and approach their work. Company culture can be influenced by various factors, including the company's mission, vision and values.
- Mission: A mission statement is a concise statement outlining the purpose of your business. It should answer the question, "Why do we exist?"
- Vision: Your vision statement describes your company’s long-term goals and objectives. It should answer the question, "Where do we want to be in the future?"
- Values: A values statement defines the core principles and beliefs that guide your company's decisions and actions. It should answer the question, "What is important to us?"
Your mission, vision and values should be seen across your entire brand, from your website, socials and other internal and external communications. Defining these three statements is an excellent way to help your current and future network engineers decide whether they’re aligned with your beliefs and to help them understand your business and how you operate.
Clearly defining these three statements can also give you the confidence in knowing that the people who stick with you through thick and thin and those who apply for future roles with you are doing so because they’re on board with your mission, vision and values.
Fostering a positive company culture stretches further beyond this and goes as far as getting the leadership right within your business. Of course, the four previous points mentioned above contribute to fostering a positive company culture. However, there are several ways you can help build your workplace culture. These include the following:
Be transparent and honest with your network engineers
Go above and beyond to inform your network engineers of the company's goals and challenges and provide regular feedback on their team and individual performances. Additionally, provide your talent with a safe space, give your engineers a voice and be open to their feedback. Their opinions could help develop your workplace culture or offer fresh ideas to grow your brand.
Encourage collaboration and teamwork
You should also encourage and create opportunities for your network engineers to collaborate on projects and share ideas. This can be done within your network engineering team, but also with cross-departments. Doing so will enable your engineers to interact with the wider business whilst reassuring them that they are a significant part of the organisation's long-term success.
Recognise and celebrate successes
When your network engineering team or individuals within the department achieve a goal, hit a target or produce an exceptional piece of work, take the time to recognise their success and celebrate it with the wider business. This will help to increase morale and create a sense of community.
Fostering a positive company culture can be the difference between a network engineer staying with you and applying for your vacancies or seeking opportunities elsewhere. It ultimately defines your business and what it stands for. So, when attracting and retaining your network engineers, ensure each employee is on board with your workplace culture and be open to adjusting it over time to keep up with the ever-evolving engineering space.
Rounding everything up
As we round everything up, it’s clear that attracting and retaining talent in the network engineering space is not just a matter of filling positions but a strategic necessity for any business seeking to thrive in today's competitive landscape. As we've explored, there are many compelling reasons why this pursuit should be at the forefront of every company's growth strategy.
Talent attraction and retention strategies are essential for reducing staff turnover, increasing productivity, keeping costs down, giving you a competitive edge and enhancing internal creativity. To effectively reap the rewards of the above benefits and attract and retain talent in network engineering, you should follow our top five tips. Here’s a reminder of what we’ve covered.
Provide your network engineers with innovative projects: Challenge your engineers with cutting-edge projects that inspire growth and creativity.
Invest in the latest and best tools for network engineers: Keep up-to-date with the latest network engineering industry trends and tools, demonstrating your commitment to excellence.
Offer competitive employee benefits to your network engineers: Recognise and reward your engineers with competitive employee benefits that cater to their needs and aspirations.
Give your network engineers development opportunities: Invest in your engineers' professional growth through training, mentorship, and challenging projects.
Foster a positive company culture for your network engineers: Define your mission, vision, and values, and create a workplace that values transparency and collaboration whilst also celebrating successes.
By implementing these strategies, you can position your organisation as an attractive destination for network engineering talent and ensure a thriving, innovative, and loyal team that contributes significantly to your success in the ever-evolving world of network engineering.
Power your future with the best network engineers
If you’re aspiring to attract and retain talent in the network engineering space to propel your business forward, you need the right partner by your side. That’s where we come in. Bridging the talent gap and connecting top-tier contract and permanent network engineers armed with cutting-edge skills to drive your business towards success is what we do and excel at.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with a member of our network recruitment specialists team and take your brand beyond what you thought was possible.