The field of photonics has experienced remarkable growth and innovation in recent years, but this rapid expansion has brought about a significant challenge: a shortage of skilled talent. After a kick-off meeting on small businesses competing for photonics talent, on 1 September 2023, the HR Work Group gathered to share insights from various organizations on their strategies for attracting and retaining talent within the photonics industry. It was widely acknowledged that recruiting talent in photonics required a unique approach because the technology was relatively young and not yet a top choice for university students.
A collaborative approach emerged as a potential solution, as the competition for talent extends beyond photonics to other industries. By drawing from a global pool of candidates, photonics companies could collectively work together to attract talent. For example, they could jointly represent the photonics sector in international career fairs. Given the scarcity of talent, retaining employees becomes even more crucial. If an employee decides to explore opportunities in another company, the photonics ecosystem should have mechanisms in place to keep that talent within the industry. One possible solution discussed was the development of career paths that offer international exposure within the field of photonics. Talent programs spanning multiple companies and countries could be designed to create a supportive environment where employees can rotate between firms.
Regarding international recruitment, all participants emphasized that hiring from abroad presents its own unique set of challenges, including cultural adjustments, family relocation considerations, and the complexities of paperwork for individuals from outside Europe.
This productive discussion will continue 15 December 2023, as we collectively work towards addressing the talent shortage in the photonics industry.
If you want to know more or participate in this initiative, pass by The next step is the Career Booth at ECOC 2023, in Glasgow, where EPIC and ECOC have joined forces to help photonics companies find potential candidates and strengthen their employer brand.