In the market for a project engineer? You and everyone else, it turns out. According to labor-insights firm Burning Glass, more than 54,000 job ads went up for the role in the last 12 months alone.
Given the essential nature of their job — project engineers are the quarterbacks of the engineering team who move complex projects along in a timely manner — it's no wonder they're in high demand. And if you're looking to hire one to navigate the waters of your current project portfolio, you probably don't have any time to spare. So how do you find a best-fit project engineer — fast?
These tips can put you on the path toward a speedy and solid hire:1. review your hiring practices for efficiency 2. research compensation levels for project engineers 3. put together a list of the most common skills required 4. write an engaging job description 5. study the hiring trends impacting the engineering industry 6. decide which avenues you'll use to search for top talent
Ready to learn more about how to approach your new-and-improved recruitment strategy? Read on.
1. speed up your hiring process
Inefficient hiring practices not only slow you down, they slow down the team you're hiring for, too. If it's been a while since you've taken a hard look at how quickly (or not so quickly) you move through your hiring process, review your methods to see where they could be made more efficient. This chart below can help you decide if it's time for a new, brisker approach:
2. develop a competitive compensation package
To attract the best candidates out there, you'll need to offer a competitive compensation package that puts you ahead of the pack of competitors in your area. For project engineers, you'll likely need to offer a fair amount for the best hire — with such a specialized skill set and high levels of responsibility, they don't come cheap. To get an idea of what to offer, head to Randstad's salary guide.
Depending on the cost of living, the local demand for project engineers and other factors contingent on your specific market, salaries numbers might be higher or lower in your area. To determine the most accurate number for your hiring needs, visit our salary calculator to see the most up-to-date, area-specific data for your location.
3. identify the top skills for project engineers
Not all project engineers are created equal. Because experience, education, specialties and more vary from applicant to applicant, you'll need to be specific about the type of project engineer your company needs to bring on board. Doing so will help you define the profile of your ideal hire and will form a core piece of your job description.
To figure out who you need and how to put that into words, meet with the hiring manager and other leaders who will work closely with the project engineer to define the scope of the role. Decide, for example, whether this person will have a focus on quality assurance as a check on technical teams, or a heavier focus on resource planning for projects. Answering questions like these will help you become more targeted in your search.
A good place to start is to think about what the candidate needs that's absolutely essential ("must-have" skills) and what's not a requirement but would make them even more appealing ("nice-to-have" skills). For example, your project engineer has to have outstanding project management skills — that's a no-brainer — but customer service skills are probably less critical but may come in handy depending on the specifics of the role. Do this exercise with all the desired skills that pop up in your talks with colleagues.
To give you a head start, here are the most sought-after skills for project engineers from the 54,000 job ads posted over the past year:
4. write an eye-catching job description
Given all of the opportunities available to today's project engineers, posting a poorly written job description can derail your search in no time. To make sure you attract top applicants for your open role, keep these three tips for writing an effective job ad top of mind.
speak to the job's meaning in your posting to have a much better chance of connecting with top talent.
Putting these tips into action will start you on your way toward posting a job that people actually want to apply to. For more ways to hook potential applicants, visit our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.
5. brush up on the latest industry trends
Before embarking on any hiring process, make sure you're informed about the latest trends impacting both the role and the engineering industry. This will ensure you're making hiring decisions with the context you need to evaluate both your current and future staffing plans.
Here are a few of the latest trends you'll want to know about before diving in:
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of engineering manager jobs is forecast to rise three percent by the end of 2029, the equivalent of 5,100 new positions.
- Trained engineers make up less than two percent of the overall U.S. labor force, so landing top talent is only going to get more competitive as demand increases across the industry.
- Driving the most demand for project engineers is California, which has more than double the number of open roles than the second-place state (Texas), so employers in the Golden State will need to be especially savvy in their recruitment efforts.
engineers make up less than 2% of the overall U.S. labor force.
6. choose your channels to find candidates
There are any number of ways to go about finding project engineers. You could post ads on LinkedIn and other high-traffic job sites, offer incentives for referrals from your current workforce or set up shop at an industry career fair — and that's just the tip of the iceberg. One option isn't necessarily better than the others, and the route(s) you choose will depend on such factors as the role you're looking to fill, your hiring budget and the amount of hiring your company needs to do.
With so many avenues to pick from, finding top candidates can be harder than it looks. To make it easier and to reduce the risk of making a bad hire, more and more companies are turning to professional staffing firms, which have access to qualified, vetted pools of top engineering candidates.
If you're interested in learning more about how partnering with a staffing firm can help you find your next great project engineer, get in touch with one of Randstad's engineering experts today. Or, if you'd rather search available candidates from our network, head on over to our Find Employees portal.