03 Nov 2023

The West Midlands war for engineering talent

Our blog highlights the importance of engineering talent in the Midlands and the UK, with the engineering sector contributing significantly to the economy. The demand for skilled engineers is growing, and attracting and retaining top talent is a priority. It emphasises the role of a well-designed workplace in achieving this, offering tips such as balancing functionality with design, creating collaborative spaces, and reflecting your brand. Investing in workplace improvement is essential for attracting graduates, boosting competitiveness, reducing turnover, and attracting investors. Rhino Interiors Group offer solutions to help engineering businesses thrive.

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Engineering is now a term covering a plethora of different specialisms – software engineers, hydraulic engineers, data engineers, mechanical engineers, and so on. All are of considerable value to the local industries in which they are located, and collectively are the backbone of the economy in both the Midlands and the greater UK, with the total engineering economy contributing an estimated £646bn direct GVA annually to the UK economy.

As the sector evolves, so, too, does its talent, and with around 173,000 new engineering jobs predicted by 2030 in a report commissioned by EngineeringUK, demand is growing, too.

Younger engineers are demanding more from their workplaces, and as businesses across the West Midlands continue to expand and diversify, the need for skilled engineers has never been greater. It stands to reason, then, that you need to position your organisation in the best possible way to attract the highest-quality talent.

West Midlands organisations are having to think outside the box when it comes to the War for Engineering Talent, but what is it you need to do to help drive the recruitment and retention of top engineering talent?


A great working environment is the key differentiator

The brightest talent wants to be a part of history, and much of this history is being made right now in the West Midlands.

You could be offering incredible opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects, but there’s one thing that may be preventing engineering talent from wanting to work with you – your outdated factory and office spaces.

See, many organisations throughout the West Midlands, and across the UK, are offering similar groundbreaking opportunities, making differentiating between them difficult.

A high-quality, well-designed workplace, built to accommodate both independent focus work and team collaboration will help drive both recruitment and retention; having a great workplace and being a part of something that is happening in the moment draws people in. And then, of course having working spaces where what has been designed can be constructed and assembled efficiently and safely (and maybe showcased to a prospective client) is a hugely powerful way to build confidence for the next cycle of innovation success breeds success.

Rhino can help you find that success.


If you’re struggling with retention, a well-designed workplace has been proven to help. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Balance practicality and functionality with intelligent design

Your workplace needs to be designed around practicality; Rhino’s ethos is that a great aesthetic comes naturally when you get the space right for the people!

We will make sure that your people have the right storage, that those who need stand/sit desks have got them, that there is space to concentrate as well as space for collaboration, consideration is made to the acoustics, and to visual distractions. Engineers want to be able to work efficiently in an aesthetically pleasing place. Give people that, and they’re far less likely to leave your organisation.


  • Include collaborative/breakout spaces for knowledge sharing

We see many workplaces that stifle collaboration. However, younger engineers need to be provided with opportunities to learn, grow and adapt. Breakout spaces are fantastic, both for improving morale and building strong inter-team relationships.


  • Consider your customer experience

Do customers and prospective customers visit your premises?

If so, you need to carefully consider your customer journey – what do they see when they enter, how comfortable is the space for a prolonged visit? Does your workspace have the ‘wow factor’ that will help win over new business?

Consider what customers will see when they enter. We created an impressive foyer for Invertek Drives which is carefully engineered to provide a sophisticated destination space for engineering clients.


  • Create an office space that reflects your brand

Your brand is your identity. If your current workplace doesn’t reflect the industry-leading work you do, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Great office design speaks to your audience, it creates a lasting first impression that makes your business the number one destination for engineering talent.

It doesn’t take long for word to spread, and having the best workplace in the West Midlands is a great way to get the upper hand in the ongoing war for talent.

Now that we’ve discussed what you need to do, it’s time to consider why it’s important to invest in your workplace.


Why should you invest in improving your workplace?

If attracting the brightest talent is high up on your to-do list, then investing in your workplace should be your first port of call.

Here are five reasons why investing in your workplace is key in the war for engineering talent:


1. Attract graduates

Graduates and other young engineers prioritise a good work-life balance, a dynamic workplace and a strong company culture over most other things.

Of course, opportunity, pay and experience are important, but workers of all generations now agree that happiness and wellbeing are far more important than their career ambitions.

By investing in improving your workplace, you demonstrate to young engineers that you’re willing to invest in their wellbeing. This demonstration goes a long way towards both attracting the best talent and, more importantly, helping boost loyalty levels.


2. Boost marketplace competitiveness

The West Midlands is a thriving business landscape, with a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering finding that ‘Connections between city-centre R&D activity and engineering in surrounding city regions and towns encourage high value engineering and innovation.‘

There’s no better evidence for this than the West Midlands. However, the Royal Academy lists the area as ‘high value, low growth’.

We are a hub of innovation, we just need to attract the best engineering talent to help our businesses thrive.

It stands to reason, then, that in order to boost your marketplace competitiveness, you need to create a workplace that gives talent a reason to move to the West Midlands. In doing so, you set the standard, demonstrating to others in the industry, both in the Midlands and throughout the UK, that you are a leader and innovator in the space.

Other organisations can and will be reimagining their workplaces in years to come; it’s essential that you get ahead of the curve.


3. Reduce workplace friction

One of the main contributors to high employee turnover is a poor company culture, and one of the main contributors to poor company culture is high-friction workplaces.

Friction comes from workplaces that are difficult to navigate, or ones that don’t provide the right balance of different working styles.

Employees get frustrated if their needs aren’t met in the workplace, especially if they have a home office that ticks all the boxes they could be working at instead!

By creating a high-quality workplace that’s built with employee needs in mind, you’ll, a) make people want to come into the office, rather than stay at home, b) to come into the office, rather than stay at home, and c) help to dramatically reduce turnover rates.


4. Attract investors, attract talent

Successful businesses invest in their workplace and their people, and

Successful investors invest in businesses that are thriving.

Successful people work in businesses that are thriving.

Want an easy way to demonstrate to investors and talent that you’re thriving? Invest in your workplace!


5. Get your organisation sale ready

It could be that you’re starting to plan your exit. As part of having a sale-ready organisation, having your estate up-to-the minute will put you in a good light. Along with the other requisites like clean accounts and up-to-date filing at Companies House, it points to a well-oiled machine that’s worth investing in.


You’re the experts in your field, we’re the experts in your workplace.

The war for engineering talent in the West Midlands is ongoing. It’s time you seized the upper hand. Sometimes, an external perspective is just what you need. Rhino have a proven track record for digging into what makes you successful, uncovering inefficiencies and improving your workplace’s overall performance.

We reduce friction in your already amazing machine, allowing the talented people you’re hiring to thrive in their day-to-day roles.

Top talent deserves premium workspaces. It’s time to:

  • Boost employee wellbeing
  • Drive growth by attracting the best talent.
  • Decrease staff turnover

Our workplace consultancy is designed to get under the skin of your business. We’ll learn exactly what makes you tick, designing a workplace that’s perfectly suited to your unique needs.

Click the link below to book a no-obligation call with one of our specialist consultants.

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