SRG have a leading history in supporting Chemicals organisations to futureproof their talent pipelines, with over 30 years of experience in serving the STEM sectors.
Challenges and opportunities abound in the chemicals industry as chemical leaders seek to advance product innovation alongside enhancing digitalisation, collaboration and sustainability.
However, just 29% of leaders say they have access to the skills required to achieve current business requirements. Young talent plays a critical role in casting a flexible foundation for organisations to feed a climate of change, innovation, and progress.
This is well recognised in the UK, where graduate schemes have increased by 11% since 2019. However, as demand for young talent grows, competitivity for talent attraction has heightened and applications are dropping. Research shows that three-fifths of the UK’s leading employers received fewer graduate job applications. Statistics reflect this trend, as average applications for UK graduate vacancies show a decline by 7%.
Faye Allison, Head of Chemicals at SRG explores key opportunities for leaders to strengthen and optimise young talent attraction in the chemicals industry today.
Read on to find out more about:
- Aligning ambitions for sustainability
- Maximising the benefits of collaboration
- Setting an early impression
Aligning ambitions for sustainability
According to research, 62% of young people want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the wider world, 50% prefer meaningful work to a higher salary and 53% would work harder if their work made a difference to others. Sustainability is becoming increasingly key in the chemicals industry, as reflected by the UN’S Global Chemical Industry ambitions of which relies on new environmentally focused strategies for the sector being realised. The EU’s Green Deal for NetZero by 2050 in wider Europe will demand the chemicals industry cuts annual green-house gas emissions by 186 million tons over the next 30 years too.
The shared values between organisations, and young talent surrounding sustainability, offer a valuable opportunity to engage talent and hire the employees required to drive success in new departments and teams to meet increased demand.
If companies can effectively showcase tangible results, and ongoing efforts to establish ‘green chemistry’ in practice across their talent attraction and recruitment efforts, they stand to benefit from increased applications from candidates with aligned ambitions to help futureproof their initiatives in the long term.
Given the increase in new divisions and continued investment into ‘green chemistry’ by both governments and industry alike, I predict that there will be more young people being recruited into sustainability roles from non-traditional academic backgrounds. Background could be more varied around geography, or even sustainability focused academic accreditations – creating a more dynamic workforce with a wider diversity of academic backgrounds beyond the current standard.
Maximising the benefits of collaboration
Collaborating to attain access to young talent take many forms, from working with a university, to partnering with a scientific recruitment organisation like SRG.
University partnerships offer a commonly leveraged opportunity to contribute to the academic development of university students, while benefitting from the university team’s focus, expertise and equipment to help streamline innovation and development.
While many chemicals organisations have partnered at some point with an academic institution, not all have maximised the opportunities surrounding access to talent to feed talent pipelines and futureproof organisational competitivity. This trend may be set to evolve in 2023, as 65% of UK graduate employers say strengthening relationships with university careers service teams is a key priority for the year going forward. Croda’s collaboration with UK universities is a prime example of this collaboration done right. Croda present to undergraduates, providing career and interview advice to help streamline their career decisions. They also run a graduate development program with universities on top of secondments for academics to work with Croda for a period of time.
Alternatively, chemical organisations can also tap into the young talent market through collaborating with scientific recruitment organisations. At SRG, our dedicated divisions support early talent and graduate talent schemes across the chemicals industry. From helping chemical companies coordinate industrial placement programmes, to crafting low-cost high-value graduate recruitment schemes to power business efficacy, we collaborate with our clients to maximise the success of their future talent pipelines.
Setting an early impression
Establishing a presence beyond your immediate target candidates, through to school-age students offers organisations the chance to secure the future of the next generation of chemists by inspiring more students to study chemistry at GCSE and beyond.
Furthermore, forging these relationships with schools offers an opportunity to progress corporate social responsibility (CSR), and create a workplace where employees feel connected to a wider purpose – tying into the priorities of the aforementioned 62% of young people who aim to work for a company that delivers a positive impact.
The chemicals industry is responding to the rising importance of CSR, with new incentives such as the Chemicals Industry Association’s Corporate Social Responsibility Award creating opportunities to showcase new leaders in the area and drive further development.
SRG actively engage with the scientists of tomorrow through in-school sessions in collaboration with STEM Learning. SRG deploy STEM ambassadors across UK school to communicate potential career avenues and bridge the gap between industry and academia.
Chris Blackburn, Head of CSR explains, “We have a duty as a scientific resourcing organisation to ensure that we’re nurturing the next generation of STEM talent. While we’re at the start of our ambassador-ship journey, we’re dedicated to take things one step further, and start inspiring and connecting teachers as well as students with the wider STEM industries.”
Capturing this opportunity as a chemicals organisation means having the chance to showcase your innovations to future applicants – helping to shape their ambitions and futureproof your own organisational success.
Who are SRG?
SRG is the leading recruiter of permanent and temporary STEM talent for the UK. With over thirty years’ experience serving the STEM industries, SRG expertly take projects from discovery to completion, developing bespoke solutions that unlock new ways of working and thought.
About the author: Faye Allison specialises in finding scientists and technical talent for the chemical and materials industries, from purely R&D to analytical testing to manufacturing. Supporting start-ups and spin-outs as well as SMEs and multinational business, typical roles Faye recruits for include: Development Chemists, Synthetic Chemists, Material Scientists, Research Scientists, Analytical and QC Chemists, Laboratory Technicians, Microbiologists, Technical Leaders/Managers and other similar technical or laboratory associated roles.
Connect with Faye Allison on Linkedin to learn more about our opportunities in the field.