Seeking a New Career? Some Top Considerations:

10.05.2018

Top Considerations for Engineers When Seeking a New Career

The combination of low unemployment and an infamously-passive pool of talent has made hiring engineers a tricky task for engineering firms. Regardless of how much experience they carry, engineers across the industry wield a great deal of leverage in the labor market. Consequently, it’s crucial that firms position themselves in a positive light to attract talent.

What is driving movement in engineering in today’s market? Here are some of the top considerations engineering talent is asking for when entertaining new jobs.

Compensation is Always King

Regardless of what the market bears or how high or low the unemployment rate is, compensation will always be a primary driver of talent movement. While engineers display different behaviors than professionals in other lines of work, they also place a significant amount of weight into how much, or how little, they’re being paid.

As a direct result of the labor market, engineers are fetching dramatic wage increases when switching jobs. In all sectors of engineering, salaries have risen over the past year and are trending towards a continued rise in 2019.

What does that mean for firms? That they’ll need to prepare to pay competitively when they need to hire an engineer. It also creates the potential for cultural issues for firms. With new hires commanding higher salaries, many firms are seeing that their new engineer with five years of experience is pulling down more than their eight-year veteran engineer. To avoid inter-team dynamic issues, and to curb the potential for your existing staff to jump ship towards another firm, it’s recommended that firms consider increasing the salaries of their current team per their market value.

Opportunity for Engaging & Challenging Work

Most firms are making competitive compensation offers to engineering candidates. When there’s no decisive winner from a wage perspective, talent is making their decisions based on what else a firm has to offer. One element that is driving talent movement in today’s market is how engaging and challenging the work will be.

Engineers love taking on difficult and challenging work. Especially if they feel underutilized or stagnant in their existing roles. Firms that are selling the opportunity to tackle highly-exciting projects during their recruitment pitches are winning the war for talent.

Before your firm begins the recruiting process, meet internally and determine what the most exciting elements of your newly-vacant position are and figure out how you’re going to sell the opportunity to talent.

Work Environment

The engineering world hasn’t adapted to the modern, Google-esque work environments quite like other industries. The ones that have been are noticing an increase in their ability to lure talent away from competitors.

It’s probably not ideal for engineering firms to install nap pods and smoothie bars into their workplace, but making some work environment upgrades could go a long way. Modifications can include a ping pong table for a quick mid-day break, coffee stations, Friday lunches, and standing desks.

When an engineer is making a close decision between you and another firm, a more attractive work environment could be the thing that secures your firm with the talent.

Work from Home Flexibility

Piggybacking off the previous consideration, more and more engineers are asking for the ability to work from home occasionally. And for good reason.

A good chunk of the work that an engineer performs in a given workday is done while sitting at their desk. Instead of forcing them to do that work on site between 9:00-6:00, consider giving them the flexibility to work remotely. By doing so, you’re gifting your staff a work-life balance they’re highly desirous of.

Engineers love the capability to work remotely for many reasons, including:

  • Family Friendly: It’s great for engineers with families who want to spend more time with their kids. Watching soccer games, picking kids up from school, or even an afternoon game of catch—being able to work from home providers employees the ability to do all of this, then plug in later at night to finish up their work.
  • Commuter Friendly: Engineers with tough commutes can start the day working from home, and then drive into the office once the traffic settles down.
  • Independence: Everyone can benefit from having some time alone on occasion. Having the flexibility to work from home gives engineers a much-needed day away from the office and others every once and a while.

Smith & Wilkinson Executive Search

It’s challenging for firms to hire engineers in today’s labor market. By offering strong compensation, challenging work, and the flexibility to work from home, your firm can even the playing field in the battle for talent.

Need to boost your recruitment efforts? Learn more about our engineering practice and contact us today to get your search started.

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