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

In May, Raytheon, which employs 80,000 people worldwide, was awarded a $3 billion US Navy contract to develop radar and other systems for a new class of destroyer.

This was the latest in a long line of defence orders which has seen a rapid expansion of the company, demanding the recruitment of 10,000 new staff in 2004.

Raytheon's John Malanowski says: "All our major programmes are demanding talent acquisition. 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 worldwide 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.

"I ensure that we have the programmes, processes and technology to help our business meet its staffing requirements."

Raytheon's Leadership Development 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.

Malanowski says: "We say internally 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.

Raytheon's human resources network prides itself on providing superior learning opportunities as part of its commitment to employee development and holds an annual staff survey.

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

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

Real staff are also featured in Raytheon's advertising campaigns, emphasising their value.

"We feature real Raytheon employees in our advertising campaigns because we feel it's important to showcase the real people who work for us."

Raytheon's state-of-the-art website lists hundreds of vacancies and is the source of most of their successful applications.

He says: "Our recruitment campaigns are designed to attract people to our website. It's a wonderful tool which 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 per cent 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 prize commodity. We look for someone who has the attitude, skills and competence to come in and make a difference from Day 1."


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Source: Flight Daily News