“Since the beginning of 2015, the rail industry has exploded with a profusion of opportunities from planners to programme managers but when it comes to their recruitment, industry know-how is vital to finding staff who can go the distance”, says Jonny Hall, Rail Consultant for Resource Group’s Technical Recruitment Solutions division
What does the industry look like today?
Since the beginning of Control Period 5, recruitment in the rail industry has taken off and there has been a massive drive to fill new roles at all levels.
Key areas of growth include station development, safety and sustainability, along with cultural and operational behavioural change requiring engineers, delivery managers and change experts. Electrification of the lines, replacing trains, improving stations and overall route modernisation means the range of specialisms needed is greater than ever before.
What does it mean for recruiters?
Any consultant who has delivered professionals consistently throughout the fluctuations within the rail industry will truly understand the nature of the working environment and be best placed to offer advice and support to both candidate and client.
The sheer volume of people required means that there is now a greater opportunity for consultants to transition candidates from other safety critical industries, such as nuclear, oil and gas or automotive, to the rail industry.
“We’re going through an intense period of activity within the rail industry and the works planned should improve passenger safety and allow the industry to be more responsible for materials, surrounding areas, infrastructure and the impact on conservation issues. This all amounts to a serious amount of skills needed and it’s not all about track workers anymore. As recruitment consultants we must have a greater understanding of the wider issues in order to provide our clients with the right people. For example, in common with all infrastructure related projects and activities, sustainability is now an essential consideration in all rail projects.” said Jonny.
What does the rest of 2015 hold?
For Jonny, the Great Western modernisation will be a key focus, in particular communications between the trains and stations to fall in line with European rail traffic management systems. Within the stations themselves, updates to CCTV, customer information and advertising boards will require design expertise in these areas.
Rolling stock also needs to be managed and the introduction of Hitachi trains from Durham for the Great Western and East Coast Main lines offer opportunities in design, manufacturing, reliability and safety.
It must not be forgotten that IT infrastructure and other operational requirements will require senior level appointments, as rail organisations look to improve efficiencies in their day to day practice.
Throughout the rest of 2015 and into 2016, there will be plenty more contract and permanent roles to fill as developments continue and consultants who grasp the bigger picture will be most successful.
Jonny has over 8 years’ experience recruiting for the Rail industry and has established long term relationships with Network Rail and Transport for London and their suppliers and sub-contractors. He specialises in white collar recruitment, including project and programme management, planning, systems engineering and safety.