2017 Industry Trends for Engineering Talent

2017 Industry Trends for Engineering Talent

What trends can engineers expect to see through 2017? While details may vary between specific industry verticals, a number of key issues will remain important, and possibly increase in significance throughout most industry segments.

Industry 4.0
The fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and projects that take advantage of new technological advances are driving demand for engineers, technologists, and technicians in many industry verticals.

Automation and robotics
Tremendous improvements in worker productivity and the talent gap in manufacturing can be attributed—at least in part—to the widespread adoption and recent developments in robotics and plant automation systems. As a result, there will be significant competition in 2017 for talented professionals such as instrumentation and controls technicians, automation engineers, and industrial control systems designers.

Additive manufacturing
3D printing, which uses a variety of technologies and materials, is now in common use for prototyping and quickly being adopted for production applications—most notably in aerospace, defense, medical device, and most recently, the automotive sector. Some of the largest manufacturers in the world are investing heavily in rapid technologies, which will lead to growth in demand for engineers and technologists who are talented in both developing new applications and integrating the technologies into production environments.

Industrial Internet of Things
The “smart factory” concept, enabled by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and featuring data connectivity between production machinery, CAD/CAM, ERP, and suppliers, is allowing powerful new analysis and management of manufacturing operations. Manufacturing and process engineers are increasingly expected to be fluent and adept at the data access and analysis available in these environments.

Quality engineering
Quality engineering will remain in universal demand throughout industry in 2017. A strong percentage of hiring in the industrial engineering standard occupational classification (SOC) category can be attributed to demand for quality engineers.

The prevalence of Lean Six Sigma® and the vital importance of product and process quality throughout most industries will only continue to drive a need for quality engineers and analysts well into the future.

Industrial sustainability projects that involve energy and resource conservation, emissions control, renewable energy systems, or waste reduction all require engineering work to be performed by electrical engineers, environmental engineers, energy engineers, and others. The lightweighting of products and packaging is another area within technical sustainability work that should continue to expand, regardless of any regulatory changes, as it promotes savings in shipping and transportation costs, among other efficiencies.

Gig economy
While the engineering profession has been a relatively late adopter of engaging engineering professionals via online talent platforms, the “Hollywood Model” and open innovation practices are well-suited to take advantage of engineering free agent consultants. Kelly can provide ready access to new projects for these professionals by serving as a talent provider to many leading organizations.

The Hollywood Model and open innovation
Modern research and development practices involve collaboration between the sponsoring organization (manufacturer or other project underwriter), suppliers, consultants, engineering services firms, and free agent engineers. These project teams, which integrate regular employees as well as external engineers, are assembled and brought together for the life of the project, similar to the way modern movie studios produce films—as opposed to decades ago, when all of the actors were direct employees of the movie studios. 

This results in the practice of open innovation, which means the involvement of contributors beyond the regular employees of the sponsoring organization in the discovery and creation process, avoiding the so-called “not invented here” syndrome.

Talent partnership
As demand increases for a talented workforce, engineering firms and corporations are reaffirming their need to partner with trusted engineering recruiting, staffing, and outsourcing services firms.

Contact us
Kelly puts you in charge of your career, with access to cutting edge projects and technologies at industry-leading organizations. For more information, or to contact a branch near you, visit kellyservices.ca/engineeringcareers today.