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focusing on three key best practices can improve outcomes 

As one of the most in-demand roles today, engineers have become the backbone to the development of products and services of many organisations. In software, these specialists develop the tools and apps driving global digitalisation transformation. Data engineers ensure the tremendous amount of digital information can be analysed and utilised by their data scientist counterparts. Automotive engineers are transforming transportation by bringing innovation to electric and autonomous vehicles. The development of green, sustainable structures is accelerating, thanks to architectural engineers applying new materials and construction methodologies to their designs.

These are among the dozens of engineering disciplines that exist, and new areas of studies are emerging in biology, quantum mechanics and certainly IT. As technology and science advance rapidly in the near future, some of the jobs that don’t exist yet will require engineering skills and mindsets, such as food engineers. Future jobs in areas such as energy storage, nanotechnology and even gaming could lead to demand for unique skills.

The growth in new and existing engineering jobs is expected to rise notably, with 140,000 roles expected to be created by 2026. That means salaries for these professionals will also continue to grow. An IEEE survey conducted last year found that the typical tech member of the U.S. professional society earned $148,500 in base salary for 2019, an increase of 2.4%. Within the various sectors in which engineers support, those in consumer electronics reported making the highest salaries at $185,000. And among non-medical degrees, those graduating with a bachelor’s in petroleum engineering are the highest paid. 

attracting the best talent

For many employers, being able to attract the right engineering talent will be critically important in the next five years, when digital transformation will reshape many industries. Like the competition for other STEM workers, there is a heated battle for the best engineers today. But because there are so many disciplines of engineering, targeting specific types requires better understanding of their jobs and industry. Even so, companies that develop a robust talent attraction strategy and a strong employer brand have a better chance to acquire the people they seek.

Our latest global Employer Brand Research surveyed those in the engineering fields about their preferences. In 2020, our data found that salary and compensation is still by far the most important factor for engineering professionals, but job security is in second place, followed by a good work-life balance. What this reveals is that for companies that want to acquire the best talent, a competitive salary is only table stakes. Organisational stability and growth potential will also be important in their attraction strategy – as is a manageable schedule.

Among employee benefits that also has high appeal for this profession is employer-provided healthcare, which was cited by 58% of engineers surveyed; this was 4% higher than among all professions surveyed. Other desired perks include generous time-off policies for family leave, vacations and sabbaticals, followed by internal training. 

Additionally, Randstad’s research also revealed that 54% of engineering professionals who plan to switch jobs or have done so already say they made this decision because their job lacked purpose, and 50% said their personal values do not align with those of their company. Clearly, engineers want an employer that shares the same values in business goals, work-life balance and clarity of mission.

So how can companies ensure their employee value proposition matches the preferences of the talent they seek without straying from their core values and mission? Here are some tips that can help:

a superior experience is key

Successful employer brands have one common trait: providing a memorable talent experience. This means a highly engaging and personalised talent journey that spans from pre-engagement through to an employee’s tenure and even offboarding. To ensure recruitment success, employers must build a responsive and streamlined recruitment marketing model that facilitates the application process and maintains engagement with talent before, during and after the fulfilment of the requisition. Furthermore, companies need to regularly survey their workforce to ensure job satisfaction is high and work purpose is clear. 

upskilling should be a priority

STEM workers typically value access to new learning and skills, and the technical nature of engineering roles requires constant learning and development support. Using new technologies and applying ever-improving methodologies not only benefits talent but also the employer. A regimented training approach also assures job applicants a clear pathway forward in their career and guarantees relevancy in a rapidly advancing global economy.

offer job flexibility to stimulate creativity

The world of work is changing, which provides talent the opportunity to work in new ways. Engineers tend to welcome the chance to be even more creative in their occupation, so restructuring jobs can lead to higher workforce satisfaction. One rapidly growing trend is the proliferation of roles that are cross-functional, which gives employees the opportunity to apply their specialty skills in different parts of their company. Whether it’s a data engineer who supports both HR and sales, an architectural engineer working on client portfolios and their company’s own facilities or a software engineer working on different projects across the enterprise, access to a variety of different work can be a compelling EVP.          

Engineers are a diverse group of professionals, but they share some common traits. As the Randstad Employer Brands Research shows, intangibles such as job security, having a clarity of purpose and visibility of a career path can be powerful motivators to win over in-demand talent.

discover our solutions

Our annual Randstad Employer Brand Research report can help prospective employers to understand what factors attract engineers.