The greatest landmark achievements in human history have been made possible by the curiosity of engineering minds. They translate theoretical possibilities into practical applications to improve the functionality of processes.

Technology and Engineering go hand in hand. As our daily reliance on digital technology is increasing on a daily basis, the demand for quality engineering talent is naturally on the rise and as a result so is the process of automation. This is the practice of removing repetitive tasks from any given process and creating an automation loop so as to reduce time spent on the monotonous aspect of any kind of work.

Automation had its roots in mechanical processes with machines reducing the amount of manual labor humans had to do. With digital technology, the implications of automation have stretched to include cognitive tasks, resulting a palabable change in the actual nature of work.

In his 2016 blog The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond, Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum wrote about the Fourth industrial revolution, often cited as Industry 4.0. This ongoing trend in technology is abolishing the boundaries between the physical, the digital and the biological worlds, according to Schwab. He stipulates that digital technology had already revamped engineering processes in every industrial vertical and the ongoing industrial revolution is a result of various digital technologies combining together to improve process efficiency and productivity.

The current industrial revolution is increasing the need for high quality engineers and technicians in various industry segments. IT remains the driving force behind all future industrial innovation.

Below are the 3 key trends for engineering talent that you should look out for in 2018.

1. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

With the rise of digital technology, industries and engineering processes became SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound). This gave managers new insight into how to optimize any given process. Digital technology has now come to a point of development where data from various devices can be combined to provide even further insight into what is transpiring, creating a 360 degree for improved productivity. The adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in the industrial space is inevitable.

In order to inculcate the IoT, a highly specialized skill set will be required. According to the article 10 most in-demand internet of things skills, the demand for machine learning, AutoCAD and Node.js skills will shoot up along with the demand for data scientists and data security professionals.

Inmarsat’s Research Programme report found that 47% of enterprises lack the required skills to successfully implement and optimize IIoT at their companies and 74% of them say that external providers will be used to deliver some or most of these IoT solutions. Gartner has predicted that the shortage of IoT talent will result in 75% of projects consuming twice the time planned for deployment.

This makes finding the right talent to introduce and implement this kind of technology critical to enterprises. A sure fire way for enterprises to mitigate the long and short term problems of not adopting the latest technology can be solved by partnering with staffing or recruitment agencies to identify niche engineering talent would help enterprises in realizing their IoT goals.

2. Cybersecurity

The increased connectivity of industries comes at a risk. When industries become system integrated through standard communication protocols the necessity to prevent any kind of cyber-attacks becomes critical to keep them safe.

Reliable communication lines, secured network infrastructure, and streamlined user access management will become decisive in safeguarding industries. Industries face the challenge of developing a fully integrated defense approach to cyber-attacks. As a result, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is soaring, however the talent in the cybersecurity market is facing an acute shortage. According to a Frost and Sullivan study, conducted for Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS), there will be a shortage of 1.5 million cybersecurity engineers by 2020.

This is a huge challenge for hiring managers because the required skill set of an efficient cybersecurity engineer is not just technical. They must be proficient in understanding network architecture, virtualization, programming languages including C, C++, Java, scripting languages including Python, PHP, Perl and more. In addition to this they must be eager to solve problems, be able to find and work with security loopholes and have a strong work ethic.

The Frost and Sullivan study found that 62% of hiring managers say that their cybersecurity team is understaffed and 47% find it difficult to augment their team. In order to safeguard their enterprise and ensure fair competition in their industry, enterprises can go with staff augmentation service providers to help them find the right talent in a highly competitive market.

3. Industrial Automation

While whether automation will cause thousands of people to be laid off from their current jobs is a great topic of debate within industries, for every layman laid, robotics manufacturers will have to employ a software programmer, engineer and technician to develop, test and maintain a robot. Industry 4.0 is set to transform everything including workforce and educational landscapes.

The widespread adoption of robotics and automation in labor intensive, repetitive, high precision and often dangerous tasks drastically improves productivity and worker safety. Adaptable programming of robots customizes their functions to suit industrial needs. The notion that automation will kill millions of industrial jobs is overshadowed by the fact that the robotics industry is facing a huge challenge in hiring qualified talent. According to a Kelly report, there will be a rise in demand for instrumentation engineers, technicians and control system designers in the foreseeable future.

Engineering Talent Hiring Strategies in 2018

Enterprises that accept the workings of industry 4.0 are more likely to outcompete others in the same space. Business runs on people and how businesses make internal decisions is dependent on them having the right person in the right position. As the technologies and how they manifest in internal processes adopted by businesses are still new, there is a marked shortage in the number of people currently working directly with them. Businesses should be prepared for a fiercely competitive talent marketplace with an understanding that technology will play a critical role in how they move forward.

In addition to technology trends, the changing dynamics of the workforce must also be taken into account while making hiring decisions. The existing workforce needs to be re-skilled, up-skilled or augmented by experts from external talent sources. As machines become smart and intelligent, the talent acquisition and management landscapes must be adapted alongside them to meet the growing demands of the industry and to remain competitive in the market.

1. Engineering Talent Networks

The crux of any business is its relationships. This fact is often overlooked during the recruitment process. The power of relationships in attracting and hiring great talent is so tremendous that organizations have started to take note and begun adopting strategies to build talent networks.

A talent network allows employers to build strategic relationships with potential candidates. It enables brands to share and gain information with those they are hoping to hire. They can share information about their employer brand, job benefits, job seeker trends as well engage candidates throughout the hiring process.

– Talent Pipelines

These are cultivated by employers to continuously supply critical talent that is in high demand. Hence, talent networks are built with a focus on creating a pipeline for positions that are critical within the business. In the event that an engineering-specific pipeline is created, building a talent network with automation engineers, cybersecurity professionals, data scientists can improve a business’s overall competitiveness in the future.

This is a great way for a company to engage with those it deems the right talent pool for its requirements. Treating potential employees as a target audience that receives extremely well thought out information about the company and the benefits of working there can be the deciding factor in the kind of talent it hires. Talent networks are often platforms that monitor where potential candidates are in the pipeline, a means to communicate with them, alert them of opportunities and engage with them to take them from the beginning to the end of the recruitment process.

Creating such a platform is a big improvement on the traditional method of talent attraction which is more ad-hoc depending on what the company is looking for and often means that there is only one point of contact giving candidates information.

– Taking a Marketing Approach

HR teams that adopt a marketing approach to interact with members using engaging content are likely to see a huge improvement in both the quality and quantity of candidates interested in working with them. An inbound marketing approach is also effective in targeting potential active and passive job seekers.

The inbound marketing model can naturally mold itself to a recruitment strategy. By creating a talent network that applies these strategies, enterprises can hone in on those best qualified for given positions with the company.

The combined approach is a powerful tool in hunting passive talent that can be even further improved by including subject matter experts in the content creation process before engaging the network with customized marketing campaigns that focus on the enterprise’s employer brand.

Cultivating a large talent network with high engagement offers employers with the insights to make data-driven, informed hiring decisions. An analytical algorithm working on the basis of keyword grouping built into the network or a manual effort to segment the members by age, skill, location can even help to improve the employer’s approach to their target candidates.

2. Inbound Recruitment Strategy

A candidate’s journey in the recruitment cycle is not very different from a buyer’s journey making an online purchase decision. An inbound recruiting strategy adopts a digital marketing approach targeting job seekers, both active and passive based on their position in the recruitment funnel.

Brands that are able to maintain a good relationship with candidates are the ones that are able to bring in the top talent despite how good the offers from competitors are. They are even able to continue building on this initial relationship post-hire.

By studying the behavior of a candidate thinking of applying for a job with the company, similar to that of a customer doing research before a purchase, enterprises can figure out the best way to lead potential candidates to the information they would find most useful in making their decision to apply with them.

– Online Presence

Employers must pay special attention to the web assets that are likely to engage prospective candidates. This includes their LinkedIn, Glassdoor, social media presence and search engine results. However, the most important aspect is their website as it shows candidates what the company is about, what they do and how the candidate would fit in.

– Careers Page

Perhaps the most important asset however, is a company’s careers page. Including an opt-in form on the careers page to join a talent network or to receive newsletters and job notifications, allows a two-way exchange between the brand and the candidate. The enterprise is able to provide candidates with relevant and timely job-related information as well as expose them to their brand. Candidates are able to engage with the company and take actions to further their journey down the recruitment funnel.

Examples of how this can be done well can be found in the 5 of the Best Talent Community Opt-In Pages article by The Magnet.

Extra attention should be paid by companies to ensure the search engine optimization of their web assets. They should also have the right content mix of videos, images and text describing employee benefits, culture, value proposition and technologies.

For companies that are serious about hiring top engineering talent, creating a careers page that provides information in a simple, clear and creative manner to strikes a chord with the intended candidate audience is the most effective way to cultivate a talent supply chain.

– Recruitment Analytics

Adopting a recruitment analytics tool is a way for companies to delve deeper into candidate behavior on career pages. It offers information about the traffic sources, time spent on the page, engagement and other important metrics that can help companies improve their inbound recruitment strategy. This allows recruiters to further optimize any areas in their online presence that might be lacking as well as focus on dealing with candidates directly to ensure they have had a good candidate experience. Recruitment analytics tools on the market include TalentLyft and Workable.

– Content Marketing Automation

Creating highly targeted content that tells the brand’s story is the most effective way to reach out to the right candidates. By customizing the relevance of the content so that it applies directly to them and delivering it in the optimal method, candidates can follow the well thought out breadcrumbs a brand lays out for them. This method is effective because it generates marketing qualified leads or candidates that likely have the skill set a company is looking for. A streamlined workflow that curates the discharge of the right information at the right time is essential to convert an unknown job seeker into an informed applicant and a valuable hire.

Taking an integrated marketing automation approach additionally requires that all other channels such as job boards, social media, search engines and recruitment platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor are also working in line with the overall marketing flow. This enables a brand to maximize each possible point of contact with candidates.

3. Talent partnerships with engineering staffing agencies

Finding the right talent at the right time is a resource-intensive task. Hiring managers wear multiple hats in their daily responsibilities and may not be able to focus their energy on the task of assessing the ideal candidate.

According to a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, the cost of making bad hire for a business is approximately $14,900. The same survey finds out that businesses lose $30,000 for missing out on a good hire. This means that the total opportunity cost to a business can be up to $44,900.

Not having the right people working in the right positions can further affect the profitability of a company and having a contingency plan for hiring is a necessity. In the event that a company is struggling with making the right hire, working with a high quality staffing supplier can be an elegant solution.

According to the American Staffing Association, there are nearly 20,000 staffing and recruitment agencies in the US operating at 39,000 different locations and their sales revenue has gone up by 4.1% to $161 billion in 2017.

Staffing Suppliers that Specialize in Engineering

Creating an inbound recruitment strategy that leverages a company’s employer brand is a tough undertaking for any enterprise. It requires companies to hire people dedicated to execute the strategy, recruiters who understand the nuances of a niche engineering position, subject matter experts who are able to screen and vet candidates to ensure that their skill set it right for a position.

Even Fortune 500 companies that have the means and resources to create a highly targeted inbound recruitment strategy may find that their talent supply chain falls short in a crisis or with requirements that are niche or at scale. In such a case, using a staffing supplier to source talent from a pool of pre-vetted, highly qualified engineers can be a cost effective solution.

Experienced staffing suppliers are often very deeply rooted in their industries. Compunnel for example, has been supplying talent in the engineering sphere for over a quarter of a decade and thus has a handle on how the landscape of engineering talent has changed overtime.

As a trusted engineering supplier, Compunnel has combined legacy staffing techniques with strategic technology platforms to cultivate an engineering talent supply chain of contingent workers. We are able to aid clients on three levels:

Referral-based sourcing: By building technologies like iEndorseU and NurseDeck that aim to crowdsource STEM and allied healthcare talent, we are able to create a pool of candidates that comes recommended by others who have the same qualifications. iEndorseU specifically reveals passive talent by offering pre-qualified STEM candidates who join the platform a reward if someone they referred is hired, thereby vastly improving the level of talent the client is able to consider.

Crowdsourced Recruiting: JobHuk is the largest online recruitment marketplace. This is our proprietary platform to leverage the power of 250+ gig-recruiters who crowdsource the best candidates in almost any location across the United States. This helps us find the right candidate for our clients despite their coverage requirements.

Automated Vetting: Our recruitment automation platform, StafflinePro is able to parse resumes and then match keywords in them with relevant job descriptions. This machine learning algorithm is at the heart of StafflinePro and the platform additionally serves as a way to communicate with, track and engage with candidates. It also offers features like time carding and payrolling for post-hire management of candidates. We are dedicated to creating an end-to-end recruitment, selection and post-hire engagement platform to manage candidates for clients, thus executing an inbound recruitment strategy with our own proprietary technology.

Human Vetting: One of the best reasons to go with an experienced supplier specializing in engineering talent is the fact that they tend to have technical recruiters and subject matter experts on-hand to vet talent. This removes the need for the client to invest in hiring them themselves and vastly improves the quality of candidates presented to the client.

An Overall Solution: Willhire is our best in class direct sourcing solution for clients. We empower our clients by leveraging their employer brand to generate referral-based engineering talent that is screened by both machines and subject matter experts. Candidates resumes are parsed and matched by our machine learning algorithm. They are then tested and interviewed by subject matter experts before finally being put forth for consideration by the client.

Finding the best engineering talent in an overly competitive market is a difficult task for almost any company. As engineering roles become more and more critical, companies must invest in successfully executing strategies to bring in the best talent. However, when this falls short, they can hire specialized engineering talent suppliers to mitigate the costs and issues of not hiring the correct candidate for a job quickly and cost effectively. Suppliers with a strong understanding of the evolving technology landscape are able to aid their clients in overcoming a difficult talent market and improve their company performance.

Read more about how to self-source engineering talent or any other highly skilled resources you need.

Mohamed Yoosuf

Mohamed Yoosuf

Yoosuf is an astute brand building specialist who is keenly interested in exploring how digital marketing platforms help brands build their future workforce. In the world of artificial intelligence, he is fascinated by the roles of machines, robots and humans in the workplace and what their association holds for businesses in the future.



  • ISO 9005
  • ISO 27001

Thank you. Happy browsing!


Get the latest staffing industry insights

Stay informed