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Hacking the Labor Shortage: 5 Ways to Improve Recruitment & Retention of Engineering Employees

As the engineering field continues to evolve, so do the factors influencing job opportunities. Unfortunately, over the past few years, the industry has been experiencing a decline in workers to fill available positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “between 2016 and 2026, there has been and will be a shortfall of six million engineers, or more.” This makes recruitment & retention of engineers more and more important. One significant factor behind the decline is technological advancements, especially automation, changing the workforce’s needs. While businesses have been engaging in a slow digital transformation for well over a decade, the last two years have launched that transformation forward at a rapid pace. The engineering industry is one area where the integration of digital technology has spread to virtually all parts of business, from customer service and supply chain relations to internal operations. Furthermore, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the engineering workforce is getting older and there has been a slow growth in the number of individuals obtaining engineering degrees. Nearly 30% of all engineering and science degree holders are 50 or over and expected to retire in the next 15 years. Engineering firms have also reported significant challenges in recruiting individuals with at least 10 to 15 years of experience, as well as individuals with project management experience or mid-level and senior-level leaders. These combined factors are leading to a hyper-competitive hiring landscape that hiring managers companies across the nation are faced with tackling. 

So what can you and your organization do to improve attraction and retention?

While the situation may seem bleak, it is essential to remain optimistic and focus on adapting your organization’s talent strategy to best position your team for success in this market.  So how can this evident labor shortage in the engineering field be hacked? First, with the talent pool in a competitive state, organizations need strategies to ensure they can keep their top engineers and continue to recruit the best talent available. From understanding what motivates modern professionals to incentivize long-term commitments, these forward-thinking methods are critical for an organization’s success in retaining engineering expertise and maintaining its edge over rivals.

Create apprenticeship programs:

By building an apprenticeship program, experienced engineers can have a lasting impact on newly hired ones by offering mentorship. This valuable instruction can help guide the work of new engineers, as gaining insights and suggestions from experienced team members will enhance their professional development. In addition, by building closer connections between more tenured members of a team and newer hires, one can ensure more vital collaboration for smoother operations. 


Develop a stand-out onboarding process:

Onboarding new hires facilitates goal setting and provides regular moments of reflection where employees understand the progress they are making, both long and short-term. In addition, provide meaningful feedback throughout the onboarding process and show them their hard work will be appreciated and will have impacts beyond those seen on paper. With this established onboarding program, your team will collectively and individually thrive.


Invest in training programs:

Investing in training programs for existing employees is a great way to tap into potential talent, hone their current skills and ability, and arm them with the necessary knowledge and tools to take on more complex engineering tasks. Not only does this empower each team member, but it also helps unleash creativity, promote self-confidence, and further propel their career growth. In addition, education empowers each individual to get started on complex engineering tasks quickly and reliably. By investing wisely in training programs today, you are empowering employees and fostering success within your organization which improves both the recruitment & retention of engineers.


Design a flexible work environment:

Creating a work environment that enables employees to balance their lives and be more productive and engaged is essential to success. Designing for all your employees’ needs means providing flexible working opportunities, such as remote and part-time arrangements. Such options will help foster an engaged workforce by allowing staff to adjust working hours to fit their commitments while making meaningful contributions to the organization. 


Invest in recruiting initiatives:

Diversifying your recruitment sources can lead to a more comprehensive range of qualified potential hires, bringing unique perspectives and skills to your organization. Additionally, partnering with a recruitment firm gives companies an advantage in the search for top talent during a shortage like this. 

When companies decide to partner with a recruitment firm like Search Solution Group that specializes in engineering, they immediately gain the advantage of a partner who intimately understands their industry, challenges, and needs.  We know an engineer’s language, which will save companies time and money by having such a well-versed recruitment team with experience in the engineering field. Additionally, when working with a recruitment firm, you have access to an extensive network of engineering professionals who are truly the top talent. We ensure the best candidates that best suit a company’s needs are sourced, interviewed, and eventually hired when working with Search Solution Group. 

As the labor shortage in engineering continues to increase, employers must continue working towards finding solutions so that our world can handle the need for more qualified workers. Companies need to assess their current hiring and onboarding practices and what kind of candidates they are willing to bring into their workplace. For employers, increasing wages or offering more enticing benefits may also be worth considering, given the current reality of the shrinking labor pool. Finally, today’s organizations must change how they recruit the best engineering talent. After all, innovation only happens when an organization has top-notch people advancing its mission. By taking these and other steps now, people can join a profession that promises an exciting career path with plenty of potential for growth in years to come. 

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