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HR in the Engineering Industry

  • Blog
  • 30 January 2020

HR in the Engineering Industry


A big driver industry of the global economy is the engineering industry. The designing, manufacturing, operation of structures, construction related to all sectors ranging from civil, mechanical, chemical to nuclear all are included under one name, the engineering industry. Being such a vast industry, which has a direct impact on almost every industry in the world, the way HR works for this industry is a little different than how it works for other industries.

Being a totally tech-based sector; the working of the engineering industry is very much dependent on technology. The engineering sector is pretty much the most effected (by technology) industry out of all. Being such a volatile and constantly changing industry with new goals every year, new products to make, and a very competitive atmosphere, the HR management for firms needs to be properly equipped to work along this tough to handle industry.

We can differentiate between how HR works for this particular industry and all the other industries. Being the most affected industry by technological advancement and constantly being subject to change on the hands of cutting edge technology, the HR team of an engineering enterprise has a very good grasp on all the current scientific hot topics and they are constantly on the hunt for potential employees who specialise in what seems to be the tech of the future. Not only is the human resources management aware of all the current and all the upcoming scientific advances, they keep a keen eye on what technologies have become obsolete and are no longer state of the art. As there is constant change present in these enterprises, the employees are at a greater risk of redundancy.

Now HR teams focus on retaining old employees than hiring new ones. The emphasis is being placed on the office being like a family, the goal is to inculcate a sense of ownership and responsibility among the employees so they work with a purpose of helping their firm to be a step ahead. As discussed in the Global HR Trends 2020, one very significant trend is how firms are making their employees learn and train in the flow of work, sometimes even taking a new course is paid by the employer as part of the job. The trend in engineering industry is towards educating and training old employees about the new hot topics in their specific field, this not only helps the firms to retain their old employees and saves the employees from getting redundant; doing so boosts the productivity of employees by scores.

Recently, HR teams of engineering giants such as Lockheed Martin, Tesla, Bosch corporation, Hitachi, Amazon and a lot of others are keeping a sharp eye on the all the new engineering degrees being offered at universities around the world. For example, Massachusetts Institute of Technology being the top ranked varsity for engineering study offers the most degrees in emerging areas of technology, HR teams of these big enterprises want fresh graduates who have just left their university and they hand pick the best students who suit their requirements. Among the companies, Amazon takes the top spot: The tech giant hired twice as many 2017 graduates as any other company on the list. Software engineers are in-demand and commanding high salaries, with more than 50,000 open entry-level roles in the USA only.

One major trend in the engineering sector and almost all other sectors is that people’s values and what they are looking from their jobs is changing. In the contemporary market, it is very hard for most engineers to find any jobs at all and unfortunately many of them have to work somewhere other than where they want to. But once an engineer finds a suitable job, there are many challenges that they have to deal with. Along many others, the ones concerning HR the most are employees getting frustrated, being overloaded with work and the problems faced by female engineers at work. Most engineers don’t have enough time, talent, or money to pursue the dreams of the time, furthermore they quickly find themselves working long hours and working on weekends, and it becomes a challenge to achieve a good work-life balance. HR is now increasingly focusing on providing comfortable work conditions and taking care of employee happiness. Google being a world leader in tech and employer of a large chunk of the engineering workforce increased emphasis on employee wellness and saw a boost of 37% in employee productivity.

A 2014 report published by Josh Bersins, makes a case for engineers themselves being HR officers.  The report makes this argument that engineers who possess natural people skills, strong analytic skills and vision can get a grasp complex systems and love hacking away at complex problems will make the best human resources officers to drive a business forward. Many of the best run organisations in the world are managed by engineers, because engineers pay attention to the details required to make the sharpest details of operations work smoothly. The report says that somebody with years of math, systems design, and logic education under the belt, along with the vision to see and feel large complex systems is perfect for the chief HR officer’s post as it includes monitoring performance, learning, succession, on-boarding, career management, and compensation systems that drive productivity, engagement, and performance.

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