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Engineers prioritize pay over culture as talent war cranks up

The 2015 Experis Engineering Talent Supply and Demand Survey, released ahead of National Engineers Week (22-28 February), found that 40% of engineers searching for a new position prioritize increased salary, bonuses and / or incentives.  In contrast, only 18% consider a better work environment or culture the most important factor. More interesting or challenging work, access to better professional training and career development or improved work / life balance are the biggest considerations for 17%.

Electrical engineers are the most sought-after, with 12% of employers desiring workers with these skills, followed by manufacturing engineers (10%) and software engineers (7%). However, employers cite a lack of applicants (46%), lack of experience (44%) and a lack of technical skills (32%) among applicants as obstacles to hiring.  

Rich Hutchings, Experis vice president, engineering, said: "Finding qualified engineers to fill mission-critical roles is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack — 86% of employers report such difficulty. More than 80% of engineering employers hope to hire in 2015, but less than a quarter are confident they will find the talent they need. Higher remuneration packages may sound costly, but a loyal and productive workforce is a priceless commodity when it comes to in-demand engineers."

Engineers, on the other hand, do not believe it will be difficult for them to find a new opportunity — 82% are either confident or extremely confident of doing so. A significant number — 47% — are actively seeking new positions in 2015, and 41% intend to change employers before the year is out.

Almost a quarter of engineers (23%) indicated that they are not satisfied with their current position, yet the vast majority (97%) are satisfied with engineering as a profession. Of those interviewed, 96% would be likely to recommend engineering to others as a career.

The profession remains heavily male-dominated —  only 12% of survey respondents were female. Additionally, while 34% said that a parent or other family member had inspired them to become an engineer, only 13% of respondents felt their career choice had been inspired by a math or science teacher. 

"There is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the profile of engineering as a viable and rewarding career choice for women," added Hutchings. "Business needs to engage with education so young people are aware of the high demand for engineers together with the competitive salaries available. Employers have a pivotal role to play, cultivating as speakers and school visitors those employees whose careers illustrate the positive possibilities of jobs in the engineering field."

An infographic containing the key findings from the 2015 Experis Engineering Talent Supply and Demand Survey is available here.

A total of 1,400 engineers and 100 employers participated in the online survey. The survey was designed to be representative of individuals working in an engineering discipline and employers who hire engineers within their organizations. The survey ran from January 29 through February 5, 2015.  

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