Two ways to narrow down your target employers

If you’re weirded out by the simple fact that there are a Lot Of Employers Out There and Which One Should You Apply To then read on for help.

Bear with us: we’re not saying there are A Lot Of Jobs Out There (see gloom and doom articles elsewhere on this page) but even so, there’s no point loading up your CV blaster gun and letting every employer and website in the world have it at full force.

Be selective. Look at your assets. And near the top of your assets list is being a member of the IET.

That’s because the organisation has palled up with hundreds of firms (to further the ideals of the IET and engineering generally) and calls them IET business partners. (Let’s call them IBPs, because we’ll be using those words a lot. And we’ve got to save money somewhere.) Before you apply to an organisation, check if it’s an IBP.

OK. Why go for an IBP?

The IET's Engineering and Technology Skills and Demand in Industry Survey 2008 shows that companies which are IBPs offer more training and development to their employees, especially technical training, and are more active in doing so.

Tops for training

Between 60 and 80 per cent of IBPs offer a variety of training provision, such as technical, coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities. And at the non-IBPs? Only a quarter to just over a half (55 per cent) offer the same training opportunities.

More perks

IBPs are far more likely to offer time off for study (62 per cent compared to 37 per cent) and financial support (68 per cent against 46 per cent). And generally speaking, the survey showed that the level of support provided also tends to increase with the size of the company – that’s always useful to know.

The IET has over 1500 business partners, so you’re spoiled for choice. Some top examples are listed (right), but a few of the most notable include Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, O2, Vodafone, Thales, BAE Systems, Eon, Mott Macdonald, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Royal Mail and MBDA.

“The IET forges long-lasting relationships with industry through its Business Partner Programme,” says Mark Organ, head of member recruitment at the IET. “We work alongside our Business Partners to promote, encourage and enhance the future of engineering and associated professions. By choosing to apply for a post within an IET Business Partner, you can be confident that the organisation has a proven and vested interest in ensuring its employees are the best in the business.”

Diversity means stronger financials

Once you’ve targeted your IBPs, you should also think about applying to firms which have a diverse workforce.

Research at Cornell University has shown that diverse firms are also profitable. This may be simply be because companies which hire and promote women; non-white workers; older and gay members of staff reflect our increasingly diverse population - and can better meet their needs.

But diversity works internally, as well. 

Lynette Chappell-Williams, associate vice president of workforce diversity and inclusion at Cornell University, has said that workers in an inclusive environment feel comfortable being themselves and sharing ideas: this encourages innovation, and it is innovative companies that ride recessions, make profits, and grow.

Engineering UK (formerly the Engineering and Technology Board) came to the same conclusion in its Engineering 2008 Executive Summary: "...the financial performance of companies with a diverse workforce is better than those without."

Microsoft, Cisco Systems, BAE Systems, HP and IBM are some of the firms which have worked on their staff diversity.

Save time

Don't schlep around every name in the book. Companies that can tick these two boxes will do better in the marketplace, and you'll get better training at them. Now get that pencil out and start ticking them off.

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