Even if you’re involved in only one sector of the building game, you may be curious as to what is happening elsewhere. After all, it’s a profession that is providing immediate solutions to a range of different problems – using experience, science, maths, IT and logic, to bring about much-needed innovation in the world.
By Charles Edelstein of Executive Placements
According to the MIT Academy of Engineering, there are five trends shaping the world of engineering today:
- Robotics will be increasingly applied to assist with practical functions that we have little time for, such as handing your food order at a drive through;
- Things connected to the internet, aka the Internet of Things, such as your fridge, may soon tell you when you are out of milk;
- 3D visualisation will make everything easier to understand, from medicine to manufacturing;
- Artificial intelligence (AI) will be increasingly employed to help us come up with solutions that we simply cannot fathom; and
- Machine learning (ML) is set to revolutionise everything from banking, and healthcare, to fuel transportation and government services. Data engineers often specialise in this field.
The more you read and research these areas of industry development, the more you may see yourself delving deeper, preparing your business for the changes coming – both in terms of the skills and the staff you are likely to need.
Other commentators have picked up on further advances in the field of engineering. This includes some exciting developments, such as:
- Generative design software, which mimics the design exploration process and is already transforming manufacturing by providing a plethora of different design options when you input various constraints;
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which is handing repetitive tasks over to robots and automating jobs – which means businesses, especially in the financial sector, can vastly improve their bottom line;
- Edge computing, which means that not all data has to be stored in the cloud: it can be stored at the network’s edge, for example, on smartphones or the IoT – freeing up bandwidth and enabling faster decision making;
- Blockchain technology, which will continue to gain acceptance, not just in cryptocurrency, but also in finance and manufacturing, as companies such as Amazon and IBM increasingly turn to blockchain as a service (BaaS) to improve business performance and end-to-end operations; and
- The more frequent use of virtual inspections, thanks to the adoption of new technology and 360-degree video devices, so that civil engineers and others in the building game do not always have to make physical inspections.
As these technological trends become more widespread, how do you ensure that your engineering practice has the concomitant skills on hand to keep pace? It’s all about sourcing talent at the cutting-edge of skills, knowledge and experience – so that you have the right staff on hand to forge ahead in areas you are just waking up to.
The pandemic has taught us that flexible working is here to stay. Recent recruitment trends show that independent contractors will become more widespread in the engineering industry, offering numerous benefits to employers who can easily ramp up their staffing requirements according to how much work they have.
Another trend is hybrid working, enabling engineering professionals to work some of their hours from home. Hybrid work gives engineers the flexibility to choose when they go into the office – for onboarding, training, collaborative projects or management meetings. Technological advances, such as virtual site inspections, mean that engineers don’t have to travel to site as much as they did before.
Engineering firms are no longer constrained by geographical borders and can now cast their nets wider when searching for talent. The reality of hybrid and remote working means that companies who struggled to find the right skills locally – in the process holding up construction projects – can now search beyond their own home cities.The good news is that it’s now easier to find those top engineering candidates, even though they may not be actively looking for a job. New digital tools and marketing strategies are refining recruitment and finding ways to connect passive candidates with new opportunities that they may not previously have known about.
When reaching out with engineering jobs, it’s important that employers bear in mind the importance of their company culture. There is a wealth of information available online which may turn candidates off or attract them in relation to working with, and for you. So make sure you invest in social media marketing and that you respond to both negative and positive reviews, thereby allowing your brand to shine out and making working for your company an attractive proposition.