Growth in the engineering industry continues to be driven by new technologies on all fronts. Increased automation and the expanding fields of robotics and additive manufacturing (3D printing) have increased demand for engineers, while the advent of new workplace tools and improved interconnectivity between factory devices and equipment have made the jobs of engineers more efficient.
As such, employment opportunities for engineers are projected to be plentiful in 2019. Increased retirement throughout the occupation, coupled with fewer engineering graduates entering the workforce, means the already fierce competition for top talent will only intensify throughout the year.
Some of the most in-demand engineering roles for 2019 include:
Increased automation continues to raise employment opportunities for controls engineers throughout multiple sectors. Controls engineers will be sought after in greater numbers by organizations in the automotive, construction and manufacturing industries to develop efficient automated systems. As reliance on automated systems is only expected to increase over time, job prospects for controls engineers can be counted on to be favorable going forward.
Mechanical engineers will be needed by organizations on the cutting edge in 2019, with the BLS predicting nine percent growth in employment opportunities over the next several years. As the manufacturing industry grows, mechanical engineers will be needed in greater numbers to drive production by designing, analyzing and manufacturing new products. The expanding field of robotics will be a major area of opportunity for mechanical engineers in 2019, as organizations in this sector will rely on top talent to continue innovating.
Project managers will be in demand in 2019 across a variety of industries. Opportunities abound in construction, with the BLS predicting 11 percent growth for construction managers over the next few years, as well as for architectural and engineering managers, projecting six percent growth between 2016 and 2026. As businesses in these growing industries look to add project managers to their staffs, candidates with past experience and official project management certifications will be the most in demand.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for quality engineers to continue growing in 2019, with industrial engineers as a whole predicted to increase 10 percent between 2016 and 2026. The expertise of quality engineers will be needed throughout a variety of industries, like textiles, clothing, food and electronics. The rebounding automotive industry will be a major area of opportunity in 2019, with most major car markets in good shape for growth. These automakers will need capable quality engineers to test processes and monitor efficiency as production ramps up.
Manufacturing is growing again, and the industry as a whole is expected to grow faster than the general economy. As manufacturing operations expand, employers will need to hire more and more technicians to support increased production on the floor. Technicians’ inherent versatility will make them extremely valuable in 2019, as employers will need candidates capable of assembling products, troubleshooting issues and implementing process improvements to reduce cost and increase efficiency.
keys to attracting engineering talent in 2019
With unemployment low and the need for engineers high, candidates are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting the best job offers, with a current median annual wage of $91,010 — twice that of the median wage for all workers. Employers should spare no expense when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, as their ability to keep up with the fast pace of innovation will depend on the quality of candidates they can secure.
To stay competitive in this tight talent market, employers should reexamine their benefits and perks packages to ensure they're up to date. Fifty-five percent of employees who responded to Randstad's Benefits and Perks in the Workplace study said they'd already left a job because they received better benefits elsewhere, and 66 percent said a strong benefits package was the most significant factor in determining whether or not to accept a job offer.
Onsite amenities like gyms and dry cleaning topped the list, along with old standbys like healthcare and 401(k) retirement plans. Preferences were also split along generational lines, with tuition and student loan assistance being top of mind with young millennials, while health insurance was the leading concern for workers over 50.
Employee expectations are always changing, however, so employers should align their offerings with the latest trends and candidate preferences if they want to attract the market's most sought-after talent in 2019.