Openreach is creating 4,000 new jobs, follows record female engineer recruitment

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Openreach has announced that it will create 4,000 jobs during 2022, following a year when it recruited more female engineers than ever.

The new recruits will assist Openreach in delivering full-fibre connectivity to premises up and down the UK. Openreach says that it’s currently on track to reach 25 million homes and businesses by December 2026.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:

“Openreach is a people business first and foremost, so I’m proud that we’re continuing to invest heavily in our people, having hired and trained more than 8,000 new engineers over the last two years.

We’re rightly recognised as one of the best big companies to work for in the UK, and we’re determined to stay that way, so we’ve been building state of the art training schools all over the country where we can teach people the skills and techniques they need for long, exciting, and rewarding careers in engineering.”

The industry has been historically predominantly white males. Openreach has committed to becoming more diverse – including employing language experts to make its job adverts more inclusive – which appears to be having a positive impact.

“We want to reflect the communities we serve and give opportunities to people from all backgrounds, so I’m encouraged that we’ve recruited more women and minority groups this year compared to last year, but we’ve got much more to do in an industry that hasn’t been very diverse historically,” commented Selley.

Last year, Openreach attracted 600 women into trainee engineering roles; more than double the previous year.

“These new recruits will play a crucial role as we continue to improve services for our customers and build the biggest and best broadband network in the UK, covering millions of rural and urban homes,” added Selley.

Openreach will create around 3,000 apprenticeships to support its recruitment drive; which it says is the largest in its history.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented:

“Decent jobs provide the best route for people to progress, improve their lives, and support their families—so it’s great news that Openreach has created 4,000 new jobs in the largest recruitment drive in its history.

The government is investing £5 billion to ensure that everyone will have the same access to gigabit-capable broadband, and it’s hugely welcome to see Openreach invest in the next generation of telecoms engineers and professionals who will help deliver this ambitious objective and grow our economy for the future.”

However, with record numbers of vacancies and labour shortages driving up wages, Openreach will need to be prepared to pay high wages to attract talent.

Record demand for staff

A report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and consultancy firm KPMG found the demand for staff is growing after the easing of pandemic restrictions and candidate scarcity is increasing starting salaries.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“2022 will be the year we discover staff shortages will outlive the pandemic as an economic issue. This survey shows again how tight the labour market was at the end of last year. Demand for staff is growing across every sector and region of the UK, and candidate availability is still falling. These trends have been slowing for the past few months, but that is not surprising considering the record pace of change earlier in the autumn of 2021.

Businesses need to make sure they are reacting to the long-term challenges of this market, thinking harder about their offer to staff and how to shape their future workforce. Recruiters are ideally positioned to help employers with this, and support governments across the UK on the skills, immigration and tax reforms that are needed to keep us competitive.”

Openreach says its new roles offer a “very competitive” starting salary and long-term career prospects. No formal qualifications are required, just “a strong work ethic, great customer service skills, and an enthusiasm to work outdoors.”

“Openreach will give you all the equipment and training you need to do the rest.”

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