6 Workforce Challenges Faced by Global Heavy Engineering Industries and Their Solutions

6 Workforce Challenges Faced by Global Heavy Engineering Industries and Their Solutions

Ever wondered how giants like Siemens, ABB, and Larsen & Toubro tackle problems and keep on growing? It’s like they have a special trick up their sleeves. Well, they do – it’s called ‘workforce contracting solutions.’ These solutions help them deal with workforce challenges in a unique way. And guess what? We’re about to spill the beans on how big global companies can use the same trick to handle their own challenges.

In the expansive arena of the global business landscape, industries navigate a multifaceted terrain that presents a multitude of challenges. Among these industries, the domain of global heavy engineering stands as a pillar of innovation, responsible for shaping the infrastructure that supports societies worldwide. Yet, beneath the remarkable feats of engineering lies a complex interplay of workforce challenges that necessitate strategic prowess.

From erecting colossal structures to designing intricate machinery, global heavy engineering industries grapple with a distinctive set of workforce challenges that require adept solutions. These challenges underscore the critical importance of adaptable strategies, which act as the compass guiding international industries through the labyrinth of complexities inherent in their operations.

As we peer into the realm of global heavy engineering, we unearth the intricacies they confront, shedding light on the pivotal role adaptable strategies play in surmounting hurdles. Embarking on this journey, we gain insights into how these industries harmonize manpower and methods to triumph over challenges and navigate the ever-evolving global business landscape.

6 International Workforce Challenges and how do we solve it:

1. Fluctuating Demand and Short-Term skilled, semi skilled workforce Needs

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Business Cycle


In the realm of international industries, one of the most pressing workforce challenges is the ever-fluctuating demand for products and services. These industries often experience seasonal peaks, sudden spikes in orders, or project-based demands that can strain their existing workforce capacity. Navigating these unpredictable demand cycles while maintaining operational efficiency is a formidable task.

Unpredictable Demand Cycles

Industries operating on a global scale are susceptible to shifts in consumer behavior, economic conditions, and external factors such as change in government, or their policies. These fluctuations can lead to a surge in orders or projects during certain periods, requiring organizations to swiftly scale up their workforce to meet these requirements.

Struggle for Stable and Technically Capable Workforce

Maintaining a stable workforce which is also technically capable during such sudden surges is challenging due to the time and resources required for traditional recruitment processes. Hiring, onboarding, and training permanent employees can be inefficient and slow, often resulting in missed opportunities, compromised customer satisfaction, and increased operational costs.

Solution: Temporary staffing

To tackle the workforce challenge of fluctuating demand and short-term skilled workforce needs, heavy engineering MNCs are increasingly turning to temporary staffing solutions. Temporary staffing involves hiring skilled and semi-skilled workers on a short-term basis to cater specifically to periods of heightened demand.

Temporary staffing offers a range of benefits that align with the dynamic nature of international industries:

  • Agility and Speed
    Temporary staffing enables companies to quickly acquire skilled workers when demand peaks, minimizing delays and ensuring timely fulfillment of orders.
  • Cost Efficiency
    Hiring temporary workers only when needed helps organizations avoid the overhead costs associated with maintaining a larger permanent workforce during off-peak periods.
  • Specialized Skills
    Temporary staff often bring specialized skills and expertise that can enhance the quality of products or services during critical periods.
  • Reduced Administrative Burden
    Temporary staffing agencies often handle aspects like recruitment, onboarding, and payroll, alleviating administrative burdens for the hiring organization.
  • Flexibility
    Organizations can scale their temporary workforce up or down according to demand, ensuring optimal resource utilization.
  • Risk Mitigation
    Temporary staff can be engaged for specific projects or assignments, reducing long-term liabilities in case of a sudden drop in demand.

2. Specialized Expertise for Time-Bound Projects


In the dynamic landscape of international industries, the pursuit of innovation and competitive advantage often calls for specialized expertise. Industries ranging from technology to engineering to creative sectors require niche skills to execute time-bound projects effectively. However, sourcing and retaining such talent, especially for short-term endeavors, can prove to be a formidable workforce challenge.

As industries continue to evolve, they encounter increasingly complex challenges that demand expertise in specific domains. Whether it’s developing cutting-edge software, designing intricate engineering solutions, or crafting compelling marketing campaigns, the need for specialized skills has become a cornerstone of success.

Industries Requiring Specialized Skills

Industries such as engineering, construction, technology, and creative arts are prime examples of sectors that often require short bursts of highly specialized expertise to drive innovation and stay competitive. For instance, engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) projects often necessitate experts in various engineering disciplines to design and execute complex ventures within strict timelines.

Solution 1: Project-Based Contracts

In the context of engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) projects, the solution lies in embracing project-based contracts. These contracts enable organizations to tap into external experts without committing to long-term arrangements.

How Project-Based Contracts Address the Challenge (EPC Perspective):

  • Access to Expertise
    Project-based contracts allow EPC companies to collaborate with specialized engineers, architects, and professionals with domain-specific expertise, ensuring optimal project outcomes.
  • Time-Efficiency
    By engaging external experts for particular project phases, EPC projects can proceed without delays, benefiting from streamlined decision-making and execution.
  • Cost Containment
    Organizations can manage costs effectively by contracting experts only when their expertise is required, avoiding the financial commitment associated with full-time hires.
  • Flexibility
    EPC projects often comprise distinct stages, each requiring a different set of skills. Project-based contracts enable companies to assemble the right team for each phase, enhancing project flexibility.
  • Innovation Injection
    Leveraging external experts injects fresh perspectives and innovative solutions into EPC projects, enhancing the overall quality and uniqueness of the outcomes.

Solution 2: Freelancing and Independent Contractors

In addition to project-based contracts within specialized industries like EPC, the broader concept of freelancing and engaging independent contractors serves as a versatile solution to acquire specialized skills across various sectors. Freelancers and independent contractors offer their expertise on a project basis, aligning perfectly with the short-term, specialized nature of many international projects.

3. International Localization


In the ever-expanding landscape of global industries, the pursuit of local talent is often met with a unique set of challenges. As organizations establish their presence in international markets, the need to tap into local expertise becomes crucial. However, the process of finding and attracting local talent comes with its own hurdles that require innovative solutions.

The Local Talent Conundrum

Industries aiming to thrive in international markets need individuals who possess a deep understanding of local cultures, regulations, and market dynamics. This “local touch” is essential for effective decision-making, customer engagement, and overall success. Yet, sourcing the right local talent proves to be a complex puzzle.

Challenges in Finding Local Talent

  • Language Barrier on Job Portals
    On job portals, where talent is typically sought, the availability of English-speaking local candidates can be limited. This poses a challenge in effectively communicating job requirements and expectations.
  • Limited Interest
    Many local candidates might not be inclined to explore job opportunities in international companies due to perceptions of cultural mismatch, uncertainty, or a lack of awareness about the organization’s reputation.
  • Cultural Alignment
    Ensuring cultural alignment between the organization’s values and the local talent pool can be challenging, especially in diverse global markets.
  • Lack of Network Connections
    International companies might not have established networks within the local talent ecosystem, making it difficult to identify suitable candidates.

SolutionNetwork Referral

To overcome the challenges associated with finding local talent in global industries, organizations can leverage the power of network referral as a strategic solution.

How Network Referral Addresses the Challenge

  • Cultural Fit
    Employees who are already part of the organization and understand its culture can refer local candidates who are likely to be a good cultural fit, thereby increasing the chances of successful integration.
  • Trust and Engagement
    Referrals from current employees build a sense of trust, as the referring employee’s reputation is at stake. This trust can encourage local candidates to consider job opportunities they might otherwise overlook.
  • Language and Communication
    Referrers can help bridge the language gap by providing guidance and clarifications to local candidates during the application and interview process.
  • Expanded Reach
    Employees often have their own networks, some of which might include potential local talent. Leveraging these networks broadens the organization’s reach and increases the likelihood of finding suitable candidates.
  • Incentivization
    Introducing referral incentives encourages employees to actively participate in the talent acquisition process, enhancing the organization’s chances of connecting with local talent.

4. Resource Optimization, Core Focus with Long-Term Commitments and Flexibility


In the intricate web of global industries, the strategic allocation of resources poses a perpetual challenge. Organizations must strike a delicate balance between dedicating resources to core functions that drive innovation and profitability, while also managing non-core tasks and navigating the unpredictability of the market. This challenge is further amplified by the need for long-term commitments in an environment characterized by rapid change.

Balancing Resource Allocation

In the pursuit of excellence and competitiveness, industries must channel their resources towards core functions that define their unique value proposition. However, managing non-core functions that are vital for day-to-day operations yet not directly aligned with the organization’s core expertise can be resource-intensive.

Quality Maintenance in Non-Core Functions

Industries often struggle to maintain the same high level of quality in non-core functions as they do in their specialized areas. This can lead to compromised operational efficiency, delayed projects, and ultimately, a diminished competitive edge.

Long-Term Commitments in a Volatile Market

The volatile nature of global markets adds another layer of complexity. Industries need to plan for long-term commitments and investments while navigating an environment where market conditions can change rapidly, rendering those commitments obsolete or inefficient.

Solution 1: Outsourcing

To address the resource optimization challenge and enhance overall efficiency, industries can turn to outsourcing as a strategic solution.

How Outsourcing Addresses the Challenge

  • Efficiency and Focus
    Outsourcing non-core tasks to external partners allows organizations to concentrate their resources on core functions, optimizing their expertise and innovation potential.
  • Quality Enhancement
    Specialized outsourcing partners bring expertise and experience in specific domains, ensuring high-quality execution of non-core functions.
  • Cost Management
    Outsourcing can often lead to cost savings as organizations no longer need to invest in building and maintaining in-house capabilities for non-core tasks.
  • Flexibility
    Organizations can adapt quickly to market changes by scaling their outsourced services up or down based on demand, without the burden of long-term commitments.

Solution 2: Third-Party Contracted Workforce

For industries dealing with long-term commitments in a dynamic market, embracing a third-party contracted workforce can offer a solution that balances stability and flexibility.

How Third-Party Contracted Workforce Addresses the Challenge

  • Stability with Flexibility
    Third-party contracted workers offer stability for long-term engagements while providing the flexibility to adjust the workforce as market conditions evolve.
  • Specialized Skills
    Organizations can tap into a pool of skilled professionals through third-party contractors, ensuring access to expertise without committing to permanent hires.
  • Cost Optimization
    Contracted workers often come with their own benefits and reduced administrative overhead, contributing to cost optimization.

5. Workforce Augmentation

In the realm of international project development, agility and adaptability are paramount. The ability to swiftly respond to changing demands and market dynamics while maintaining operational excellence is crucial for success. This is where the concept of workforce augmentation comes into play, revolutionizing how industries manage their human resources.

Workforce Augmentation

Workforce augmentation involves supplementing an existing team with external professionals or teams on a temporary basis. This strategic approach allows organizations to quickly adjust staffing levels to match demand without the long-term commitment and burden of permanent employment.

Advantages of Workforce Augmentation in International Project Development

In the context of international project development, workforce augmentation offers several distinct advantages:

  • Scalability and Flexibility
    International projects often experience fluctuations in workload due to factors like market changes, regulatory shifts, and project phases. Workforce augmentation enables project teams to scale up or down as needed, ensuring optimal resource utilization.
  • Rapid Response to Demand
    When faced with sudden increases in project requirements, organizations can tap into a network of specialized professionals through workforce augmentation. This agility allows for the swift mobilization of talent, reducing project delays.
  • Specialized Expertise
    Workforce augmentation allows international project development teams to access specialized skills and expertise that might not be available in-house. This is especially valuable for tackling unique challenges that arise during project execution.
  • Cost Efficiency
    Engaging external professionals through workforce augmentation eliminates the costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, and maintaining permanent employees. This cost-effective approach is particularly beneficial for projects with fluctuating workloads.
  • Global Market Navigation
    In the realm of international projects, diverse markets come with distinct regulations, cultures, and expectations. Workforce augmentation empowers teams to tap into local expertise and insights, enhancing project success in different regions.

Solution Workforce Sub-Contractors

The solution lies in partnering with workforce sub-contractors. These are specialized firms that provide skilled professionals or teams on a project-by-project basis, aligning perfectly with the dynamic demands of international projects.

How Workforce Sub-Contractors Address the Challenge

  • On-Demand Talent
    Workforce sub-contractors maintain a network of professionals with varied expertise, ensuring that international project development teams can quickly access the right talent when needed.
  • Reduced Administrative Burden
    Partnering with workforce sub-contractors shifts the responsibility of recruitment, payroll, and compliance to the subcontractor, freeing up project teams to focus on core tasks.
  • Global Insight
    Workforce sub-contractors often have a global presence, granting international project development teams insights into local markets, regulations, and best practices.
  • Risk Mitigation
    The project-by-project nature of workforce sub-contracting reduces long-term commitments and associated risks, providing greater flexibility in managing resources.

In the intricate landscape of global heavy engineering industries, adaptable strategies are the bedrock upon which challenges are surmounted. The workforce contracting solutions discussed here embody this adaptability, offering not just remedies, but dynamic pathways to success. As these industries navigate the complexities of the global arena, these solutions stand as beacons of flexibility, enabling them to rise above challenges and craft a future marked by resilience and progress.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Talent’d’s views, opinions or policies.

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