Matthew Walker brings both engineering and recruitment expertise to his new role at FutureYou as Associate Partner in Engineering & Manufacturing. His experience allows him valuable insights around both skills trends for 2018 - and skills trends for the future... making him one of the most sought-after recruiters in his sector. Matthew's commendable track record is founded on both his technical understanding of his sector, combined with his understanding of culture and the importance of finding the right cultural fit.

"I have a good reputation for ensuring candidates remain in their roles. In my 10 year career I’ve only ever had a couple of new hires leave in their first year."

What are the most in-demand skills for the future?

Matthew: Throughout my career, I've been exposed to some of the most advanced, safety-critical manufacturers in aerospace and automotive, and some of the most basic mass-production businesses. The challenges for Australia, given high labour costs, is in producing R+D led, added-value products, particularly to export into Asian markets. To do this, a number of key skill sets are needed to really stand out from the competition. This is where a knowledgeable recruiter can make all the difference.

With regards to manufacturing facilities, I have seen a number of prevalent skills trends over the last few years.

  1. Companies want to get more efficiency from their machinery. Increasingly, they are turning towards Engineering Managers with preventative maintenance skills. I have seen a big increase in the number of clients asking for electromechanical expertise and skills beyond traditional “mechanical fixing’. Particularly as maintenance teams can lack the exposure and qualifications in regards to electrical fault finding. I have filled many of these roles for manufacturers over the last couple of years where accurate root cause and resolution skills were key criteria.  The “Number 8 Wire” approach really isn’t good enough for clients in 2018.
  2. Clients want Managers to add value outside of their cell of focus. The skills trend here is Production Managers are required to work closely with Quality and the outbound warehouse teams. Conversely, Quality professionals are required to be more visible on the shop floor, keeping quality standards top of mind across the company. I’ve run a number of search campaigns around these skill sets; ensuring the highest quality goods are produced, at the best cost, with as few rejects as possible.  NZ’s Hella Automotive and UK’s Valiant, General Electric and Toyota are some of the best of seen in this regard where Quality, Production, Safety etc really are viewed as the responsibility of all staff across all disciplines.
  3. In the ANZ markets, clients want to know that candidates are a cultural fit for their business, and vice versa. In a country where labour costs are higher and candidates are often seeing multiple offers, clients want to get their hires right the first time to avoid incurring costs. I find the only way to adequately do this is through market mapping exercises. I meet everyone involved in my hiring process; not only to identify the skills-matches but just as importantly, to assess cultural compatibility. Clients invest in a recruiter’s subject-matter specialisation, but they’re also paying for that cultural-match expertise. Likewise, candidates want to be sure their recruiter understands their skill sets, their needs, the market's needs, and can help progress their careers through the right introductions.

What attracted you to FutureYou?

After taking some time-out when my mum was ill, I had a long think about what I needed out of my career. I felt I’d achieved everything I set out to with my former company. I’d won numerous divisional and regional titles, and most recently turned a team of 1 into a team of 5 (the majority of whom were very green to recruitment and needed training).

"FutureYou has a great mission statement and a high performing culture; way beyond all the companies I interviewed with before accepting this role."

I was impressed by the calibre of Partners they hire and their depth of knowledge within their subject Fields: the team I work within across Melbourne and Sydney now has well over 25 year's experience. The opportunity was too good to pass.

Future You just feels right and to be completely honest, I'm rather fond of Sydney.

What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?

I want to create the go-to team in NSW for Engineering & Manufacturing recruitment. Working closely with Joe Vize and Steve Greggs, I intend to further expand our existing networks across VIC and NSW and offer innovative solutions for current, previous and new clients.

I pride myself on finding solutions to vacancies and hiring problems and will continue to help as many clients and candidates as possible. I enjoy my work, I work hard and I work smart, so it’s important to me that my efforts are effective. It’s important to me to be considered a recruitment partner of choice.

For more industry leading insights on current skills trends from Andrew and his cohorts, follow us on LinkedIn

Engineering trends for 2018: Forbes article here
Major engineering trends for 2018: LinkedIn article here