The shortage of skilled workers in electrical engineering is not new. P&V Group, which specializes in the design, construction and upgrading of distribution and control panels in numerous sectors, has been having difficulty filling vacancies for several years. P&V Group is not the only company that is having difficulty finding new employees and is calling for action to tackle the shortage in the labor market.
According to the most recent list of shortage professions from the VDAB, the profession of industrial installation technician is at the top of the list of most in need of positions, and there is no immediate light at the end of the tunnel. “Our sector offers many exciting opportunities for those who enjoy technical challenges and innovation,” says CEO Joris Vrancken, recently also chairman of Voka Limburg.
At P&V Group, the number of vacancies in various electrical engineering positions has now grown to around forty. “It currently takes four to eight weeks for panel builders to fill a vacancy,” says HR director Hedwig Moors. “But vacancies for project managers are sometimes open for six months before we find someone.”
The tightness on the labor market is putting a brake on the growth of P&V Group, which, with branches in Belgium and the Netherlands, has grown into the largest independent panel builder in the Benelux, with a turnover of 80 million euros and 400 employees. “It is not the case that we have to refuse orders, but with every new order it is quite a puzzle to plan the works,” Moors continues.
All the stops
In order to fill vacancies, companies such as P&V Group are pulling out all the stops today. This is not just about finding new people, but also about keeping employees on board. “We adapted our pay packages and fringe benefits years ago to the tightness on the labor market,” Hedwig Moors explains. “In addition, we work with good and flexible schedules and we try to make working conditions as pleasant as possible.”
HR manager Hedwig Moors also focuses heavily on training when looking for new people. “We also give people without experience and school leavers a chance through an internal training program. We have even trained our own monitors for this. That has been successful, by the way. Once on board, it is important to keep employees on board, for example with sufficient career opportunities.”
P&V Group has grown significantly in recent years, including through various acquisitions, and also took its first steps in the Netherlands. The 40 vacancies are not only located in the Heusden-Zolder branch, but also in Genk, Kortrijk and Zwijndrecht in the Netherlands.