Hosted by Chitra Sethi, the Executive Editor of Media for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a recent panel interview with mechanical engineering industry leaders explored challenges they have been facing and overcoming in the wake of the global pandemic. All three participants from Siemens, Raytheon, and Festo Didactic agreed that their companies have undergone significant changes in hiring and training new and existing engineering talent. Overall, however, they remain excited about the potential of this emerging digital and virtual space. Here are four key trends the panelists discussed:

Easier Access to More Training Materials

All three panelists agreed that digital learning must be fully integrated into the core culture of their businesses to set up their engineering employees for success. This adoption leads to more cross training between departments, with engineers and project managers able to understand more about their complementary roles. At the director/executive level, Raytheon finds that they are even more engaged with their engineers and design practitioners when it comes to quickly and efficiently solving new problems that arise.

Increased need for Agile Learning & Diverse Perspectives

Agile learning is a crucial skill for a successful workforce in the engineering industry. As companies implement new digital processes, engineers need to be able to learn, unlearn, and relearn processes more often. Diverse teams with different perspectives show the strongest leadership capabilities, adapting to new problems and coming up with efficient solutions.

Benefits of Remote Hiring & Fewer In-Person Meetings

The pandemic forced many companies to allow employees to work remotely. In many instances, this shift demonstrated to the engineering industry that companies can adapt and even benefit from a virtual workspace model. Siemens mentioned specifically that they have expanded their talent pool and they have hired engineers that they may not have considered in the past because of their location. Virtual meetings have added an unexpected advantage when it comes to replacing airplane travel. Previously, companies spent thousands of dollars and multiple days flying out team members to solve one engineering problem at one location. Those teams can now meet virtually and more workers can attend, often leading to quicker and more efficient problem solving.

Communication Is Even More Important Than Before

Listening and articulate speaking are always important, but these skills have become even more vital in our increasingly digital world. Virtual meetings have replaced the conference room, and the limited time available to collaborate means engineers, project managers, sales, and directors all need to communicate quicker and more efficiently.

The panel ended with excellent advice for engineers who have been laid off and are looking for work. Expanding your personal network is one way to potentially discover opportunities that might not be advertised on job boards. Opening your search to look at new fields you may not have considered in the past is another thing that engineers may not normally consider. Engineers might be surprised to see that skills they have gained in their field can transfer over to different positions. Finally, we know that working with a recruiter (like the recruiters at Sterling Engineering) can help immensely in an engineer’s job search. Not only do recruiters often have access to top jobs with the best employers; recruiters provide invaluable coaching and support at every step in the process.

Sterling Engineering helps companies achieve their engineering goals either through our engineering project solutions or our technical recruiting solutions. Whether you need an entire team to complete a project, or you need talent to fill critical openings, Sterling has 50+ years of proven performance, making us a unique partner for companies and engineering/technical professionals. Learn more about our engineering design and recruiting services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.


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