Engineering Hiring Trends You Need to Know for 2021

by Jim Gerlock 05/05/2021

The engineering industry is in a time of rapid change. Engineering organizations are starting the rebuilding process after 2020 – rehiring, redesigning and strategizing to meet the needs of an ever-changing, but optimistic future. Connected technologies and an increase in associated investments are helping companies realize new operational efficiencies; and forward-thinking organizations are taking these new opportunities in stride, hiring new talent to lead the way through the disruption.

One thing is for certain: many engineering jobs will need to be filled in 2021 to get production back on its feet. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that industrial engineering jobs will grow by 10% by 2029 and with the rush back to work, competition for top talent will be fiercer than ever. Filling these positions can be overwhelming as companies navigate new virtual work conditions, changing responsibilities, and more.  

To help organizations navigate a changing environment and landscape, here are 3 key hiring trends that are likely to shape engineering teams:

Automation and programming

Artificial intelligence is likely to define the coming decade in a big way. The number of businesses adopting artificial intelligence grew by 270% in four years. As the economy stabilizes in 2021 and production ramps up, so does the demand for skilled engineers who know the ins and outs of managing these operations. Positions within controls engineering are particularly in sky-high demand as organizations implement or upgrade new systems often involving AI and automation into production. When recruiting, the vetting process will be critical as these jobs often require an increase of technical skills, certifications, and specialties. A recruiting firm that specializes in engineering and knows the technical lingo can help your company identify which candidates have the acumen needed for your tech-forward roles.

Big Data

Around 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2022, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 75%. As new cloud technology sweeps through each industry, clients and customers are expecting advanced data reporting as well. This data is used to demonstrate the value of what is in production and can be the difference-maker for retaining a client or customer. Where a larger amount of data is needed, new data analytics platforms and frameworks are increasingly being integrated to provide real-time insights, like Kafka, Flink, Spark Streaming, or cloud solutions like Dataflow or Amazon Kinesis.

Because of this, data engineers are in high demand and are expected to lead the way in integrating the latest cloud software, processes, and technology into engineering functions. Hiring managers are looking for candidates with the latest certifications, especially involving data analytics and new cloud programs and software. These certifications are an important way to measure industry knowledge, assess critical skills, and evaluate vendor-specific benchmarks to show employers they are a good match for the role.

Continued Virtual Environments

Going remote in 2020 changed the way every industry functioned, but it had a big impact on engineering. Since much of engineering relies on in-person work, companies had to make huge changes to ensure production ran as usual while providing engineers with alternate work options. Not only did these changes impact the industry, but it turned the hiring process on its head. Engineering candidates are now facing virtual interviews — a newer territory for those in more production-based roles. Hiring managers should set clear expectations and direction to help candidates navigate this modified process. This will make the interview go more smoothly and let the focus be on the skillset the candidate brings to the table.  

Every engineering project requires balancing quality, cost, and speed and people to make it happen. Addison Group can help you find contract, contract-to-hire, direct-hire, and executive search talent to help you scale your teams. Partner with us today.

About the Author

Jim Gerlock
Branch Manager, Engineering & Operations

Jim is an experienced recruiting professional with deep knowledge and expertise in engineering, direct hire, and executive search industries.

Jim has been with Addison Group for nearly six years, overseeing his division across the Houston and Chicago offices. He quickly made an impact during his tenure before transitioning to lead the Schaumburg office as a Branch Manager with both a regional and nationwide client focus — a role he has been in for the last two years. As a subject matter expert in engineering, direct hire, and executive search industries along with technical searches across engineering, operations, and manufacturing, he brings his vast expertise and passion to all the clients he serves.