Companies face a fight to get the right people to help them meet growing demand

Ever since the 11 September 2001 terror attacks sent defence and airline security budgets spiralling upward, electronics companies have faced a race for the right people to help them meet growing demand.

US systems supplier Raytheon, which employs 80,000 people worldwide and last year alone recruited 10,000 new employees, was awarded a $3 billion US Navy contract in May to develop radar and other systems for a new class of destroyer.

It was the latest in a long line of defence orders that has seen a rapid expansion of the company.

John Malanowski, Raytheon vice-president of talent acquisition, says: “All our major programmes are demanding talent. The international climate has significantly increased demand and it will continue, certainly for the next couple of years.”

As head of Raytheon’s talent acquisition department, Malan­owski is at the forefront of an increasingly competitive and innovative race for the best candidates in a global talent pool.

He says: “If you factor-in the high demand with increased competitiveness for technical talent, it is becoming extremely competitive in the staffing market. We have to work hard to get the right people.

“We are seeing a different mix of competition in the industry that we haven’t seen in the past. We face competition within the defence and aerospace sectors, but also from consultancies and graduate recruiters.”

Raytheon’s Leadership Develop-ment Programme is the company’s key weapon in recruitment and retention of staff. An intensive two-year training programme puts new recruits through three work placement assignments to broaden their experience and skills.

Says Malanowski: “We sayinternally that it compresses 10 years’ experience into two years. For example a graduate of our engineering leadership development programme could then expect a managerial role on a specific programme.”

By constantly updating their programmes to meet staff requirements, Raytheon has developed a better than average retention rate.

Malanowski says: “We need to be sensitive to losing talent, but we findthat once people make a decision to join Raytheon, as a member of the Leadership Development Programme or direct, they discover that we have a wonderful set of opportunities to do challenging technical work.”

He says: “Our recruitment campaigns are design­ed to attract people to our website. It’s a wonderful tool that can advertise any opportunity across the globe. Eighty per cent of our recruiting comes through the website.”

Email campaigns and head-hunting teams are also employed to fill specific requirements, and with 15% of Raytheon’s annual intake college or university leavers, the company is a regular at job fairs, with 12 planned for this year.

Malanowski adds: “We look for industry experience, applicable technical experience, and engineers with security clearance are a prized commodity. We look for someone who has the attitude, skills and competence to make a difference from day one.”


Source: Flight International