In today's rapidly evolving world of tech, the demand for high-quality technical engineering talent has never been higher. Engineers and technical professionals are the driving force behind the technological advancements that shape our future. Combining technical expertise, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills, technical engineers are highly sought-after by companies looking to gain a competitive edge.
While attracting exceptional candidates in this dynamic and competitive job market is an impressive achievement, retaining them is equally, if not more, challenging. With so many businesses vying for top technical engineers to ignite innovation and further the pursuit of knowledge, organisations must adopt strategies that not only draw in outstanding individuals but also keep them engaged, motivated, and committed to long-term success.
In this guide, we’ll delve into why there is such a great demand for technical engineers and explore 5 effective strategies for retaining the very best talent. Whether you're a hiring manager looking to fill engineering jobs or an aspiring engineer looking to understand how to thrive in your chosen field, we hope this guide will provide you with the valuable insights you need to navigate the technical engineering space.
Why Is There a Demand for Technical Engineers?
The technical and engineering sector is one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that there will be a greater need for engineers with technical proficiency to replace those leaving the workforce over the next decade. This is particularly apparent in software engineering, a profession expected to have a job growth rate of 50% between 2023 and 2033. As this eye-catching statistic suggests, technical engineers are likely to be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
With technology becoming an ever-present fixture in our lives, the need for professionals who can design, build, and maintain complex digital systems is a trend that will continue long into the future. Rapid technological advancement is another reason why there is set to be an ongoing demand for engineers with technical expertise. The release of new programming languages, cybersecurity software, and development frameworks will require companies to recruit engineers with specialised skills and knowledge of the latest technological changes, thus creating an increasingly competitive, candidate-led job market.
Overall, the demand for technical engineers is driven by their ability to adapt to evolving technology and address complex technological challenges. To secure future prosperity for your tech business, engineering innovation must be at the heart of your philosophy. By recruiting and retaining engineers with the expertise to drive technologically-driven success, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate through the fast-paced world of technical engineering.
5 Strategies for Retaining Exceptional Technical Engineers
As we explored in our ‘How to Attract Top Engineering and Tech Talent’ guide, companies face a multitude of challenges when it comes to filling technical and engineering jobs, including a chronic shortage of talent and difficulty keeping up with the pace of technological change. However, with the right strategies in place, organisations can overcome these engineering recruitment challenges to hire high-quality engineering candidates.
Although attracting top engineering talent to your organisation is a laudable achievement, especially given the sheer amount of competition, retaining them is a separate challenge, requiring a different set of strategies. So, let’s explore 5 of the top methods you should implement to ensure that your high-performing technical engineers stay at your business:
1. Prioritise Professional Skills Development
Technical engineers are passionate about their craft, and employers who provide opportunities for them to develop their professional skills are more likely to retain them. A LinkedIn report into workplace learning found that 94% of employees surveyed claimed that they’d stay at a business longer if it invested in their career development. This finding is certainly applicable to technical engineering, a field that requires its professionals to constantly keep on top of their understanding of skills such as computing, advanced technologies, and manufacturing processes.
To demonstrate that you are invested in your technical engineering staff’s career progression, you can provide them with a personalised development pathway that outlines goals and what would be required to achieve them. You should make it a priority to give them the support they need to progress, such as offering learning and upskilling programs, mentorship schemes, or secondment opportunities. While implementing professional skill development schemes may incur short-term costs and time resources, they are nonetheless a long-term investment that will likely result in a more satisfied workforce.
2. Create a Collaborative Workplace Culture
Establishing a collaborative workplace culture that champions teamwork and engineering innovation is another tried and tested method for retaining technical engineering talent. Collaboration is particularly important for technical engineering jobs, given that many of the roles and responsibilities require knowledge sharing and group decision-making. With 75% of employees regarding teamwork as an essential part of a healthy workplace, it is unsurprising why there is such a clear link between fostering a collaborative workplace and higher employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.
There are many ways for employers to create collaborative working environments for technical engineers, but an effective first step is to lead by example. Those in leadership positions should actively promote collaboration through digital tools, such as messaging applications, employee experience hubs, and in-person gatherings. Bringing engineers from different disciplines to work on projects in cross-functional teams can also help to encourage greater collaboration.
3. Offer a Flexible Working Environment
Flexible working arrangements have become commonplace for various tech industry professions, not technical engineering. With research showing that 80% of employees identify flexible working as a crucial factor in deciding whether to accept a job offer, it is crucial for companies to put flexible working front and centre of their list of employee benefits. Not only will providing a flexible working environment allow you to retain high-quality employees, but it will also help you to improve engineering innovation, communication, and work-life balance.
As the core roles and responsibilities for technical engineering jobs are typically done online, giving employees the option to work remotely is non-negotiable for many top-tier candidates. Facilitating other forms of flexible working into your benefits packages like flexible hours, job sharing, and annualised hours are also surefire ways of convincing tech engineers to stay at your business. While offering flexible options such as these is vital for your talent retainment strategy, make sure that you outline clear guidelines to ensure that the arrangements are beneficial for you and your staff.
4. Refine Compensation Packages
The link between above-average compensation and higher staff retention rates is apparent across all manner of industries, especially in heavily candidate-driven sectors like technical engineering. Attracting excellent candidates with eye-catching compensation packages is one thing, but if those same candidates feel that there isn’t a clear pay progression pathway, then they are much more likely to look for alternative employment. A report by Lattice revealed that compensation is the number one factor in employee turnover rates, with 55% of employees surveyed citing pay as a reason for leaving a job.
Failing to provide your technical engineers with a detailed pay progression plan may lead to them feeling undervalued. Rather than waiting for them to approach you asking for a raise, you could implement clearly defined pay frameworks that enable you to adjust their compensation package based on performance reviews or tenure.
If they are made aware of your salary bands and what it takes to earn raises, there is a lesser chance of them looking for technical engineering jobs with better compensation and pay structures. By being proactive rather than reactive with pay, you’ll be demonstrating to them that you truly appreciate their efforts.
5. Leverage Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is utilised to optimise a range of tasks in the technical engineering sector, from ensuring that designs are innovative to identifying cybersecurity bugs. While AI has had a transformative effect on the day-to-day operations of technical engineers, it has also revolutionised the way recruiters hire top talent. AI technology can be used to automate recruitment tasks like sourcing candidates, setting up emails, and refining job adverts, allowing hiring managers to secure high-quality candidates swiftly and efficiently.
Incorporating AI into your workflows can play an important role in retaining exceptional technical engineers. By automating routine tasks like testing, debugging, and data analysis, AI has the power to take unnecessary stress out of your employees’ workdays.
AI technology can also be used to determine which employees are most likely to leave through predictive analytics. This vital information will allow you to create personalised retention plans for those identified as potential leavers. These plans may include details such as optimal compensation packages and bespoke career progression plans.
Final Thoughts on Retaining Technical Engineering Talent
The demand for technical engineers in today's ever-evolving tech landscape is undeniably high, and this demand is expected to persist in the coming years. As technology continues to shape our world, technical engineers play a pivotal role in driving innovation and solving complex challenges. To retain exceptional IT engineers, organisations must implement a set of strategic approaches that go beyond initial recruitment efforts.
By incorporating the right retainment strategies into their talent management practices, businesses can create an environment where technical engineers feel valued, motivated, and committed to long-term success. In doing so, they can secure the expertise necessary to thrive in the fast-paced world of technical engineering and position themselves as attractive employers in the competitive tech job market.
Simply put, investing in the growth and satisfaction of technical engineers is an investment in the future success and innovation of any tech-driven organisation.
Igniting Engineering Innovation Through People-Led Recruitment
With a people-led approach to engineering recruitment, our consultants make it their mission to connect outstanding candidates with their ideal technical engineering jobs. For many years, our market-leading services have been helping candidates and clients throughout the UK, Ireland, and the USA to achieve their goals. Reach out to us today, and one of our award-winning consultants will speak with you about your career aspirations or talent acquisition strategy.