Where are all the Manufacturing Engineers?
By: Jacob Darr
Unemployment in the United States is at a low point in modern history. This is great for the country, at large, but in terms of finding good, talented people in certain industries, the news of low unemployment numbers isn’t always positive.
Mechanical Engineers are becoming among the hardest groups of workers to find. Globally, good and qualified Mechanical Engineers have become such a scarcity that the average hiring time is up to a whopping 62 days. Compared to average hiring times of any employees, in any field, sitting at around 47 days, this is a hard statistic pointing to the real challenge of finding Mechanical Engineers.
So the real question is: why?
Lack of Talent
Mechanical Engineering is expected to see some of the greatest impacts of the exiting Baby Boomer generation.
It is estimated that by 2022, people pursuing jobs in Mechanical Engineering will be lowest in recorded history, with millennials pursuing software-based jobs instead. Gen Z is currently holding at only 2% of applications going for Mechanical Engineering positions, while a considerably larger 19% are applying for positions in Software.
The result of the lack of talent is, of course, that there becomes a greater demand for Mechanical Engineers. What is particularly worth considering as well, though, is that innovations in the field, and a lack of specialization in those innovations, is making the situation even more grim for employers seeking qualified and trained Mechanical Engineering talent.
Automation, biotech, aerospace, and medical device technology are among the fields that are seeing some of the hardest hits with improved innovations, and yet less training and qualified engineers available.
Moreover, the starting salaries of Mechanical Engineers, most positions of which require a Bachelor’s degree, do not often align with getting additional certifications and training in these new and pioneering technologies. Employees seeking to pay down student debt from their starting degree report next to no interest in taking out additional debt for further training as wages remain lower than other more lucrative engineering fields, irrespective of the level of training.
Compounding the problem of fewer professionals going into the field of Mechanical Engineering, and particularly lower numbers of individuals entering the workforce trained and ready for the innovations in technology in the field is the simple fact that many recruiters are under-qualified to specialize in finding the top Mechanical Engineering talent there is available.
The average Mechanical Engineering candidate for any position sends an average of 101 resumes, and interviews for 90 or more days, before deciding to go with a position they deem the right fit. With the amount of talent needed, this is a waste of valuable time and energy from the candidate; with estimates of talent acquisition is even worse. Human resource professionals and internal recruiters often lack the knowledge of the idiosyncrasies and slight variances in skillset between Mechanical Engineers, only lengthening the process of hiring new talent.
It is estimated that by the year 2026, the need for Mechanical Engineers in the workforce will be at a crisis level if things continue on their current course. The good news is that for anyone with a passion for Mechanical Engineering: this is your moment.
Jacob Darr Associates is a leading Recruiting Firm and can help with Manufacturing Engineers – Contact us today.