7 Trends Shaping Engineering in 2019

January 16th, 2019 Posted by Engineering, Human Resources, IT 0 thoughts on “7 Trends Shaping Engineering in 2019”

You’ve already experienced it…recruiting qualified engineers is becoming progressively complicated and time-consuming. The winds of change are sweeping through every sector of engineering in 2019 as technologies and roles continue to advance at the speed of thought.

The pace of technological progress and a shifting socioeconomic and political climate have created a whole new ballgame for engineering companies and recruiters. Hiring engineers with the skills and training to manage increasingly complex challenges is an uphill battle that’s only getting steeper.

Putting what was once considered a promising engineering resume up against the experience needed to be a successful engineer today is like comparing apples and oranges. In fact, staple 2019 engineering technology and developing economic trends are poised to bring even more disruptive technological innovations and hiring hurdles as the year unfolds.

So, what should you do to prepare for the new face of engineering in 2019? The first step is to understand the new engineering trends, technologies, and external factors impacting today’s engineer–whether the role is predominately behind the desk, in the factory, or on a job site.

7 Trends Disrupting Engineering in 2019

   1. Women in Engineering

   2. Engineering employment/unemployment

   3. Oil Prices (trade war)

   4. Simulation in Design Engineering

   5. Machine Learning and AI

   6. Computed Tomography in additive manufacturing

   7. Autonomous machines

Engineering Trends Impacting Women in the Field

The challenges female engineers have to overcome to get to where they are are similar to what they face once in the profession. As a result, women leave engineering disciplines at a much higher rate compared to their male counterparts.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, women in engineering are more likely to perceive ”subtle and not so subtle cues” that their achievements and experience aren’t valued. These stresses, often stemming from the gendering of work roles, can cause tension and talented female engineers to want to leave the field altogether. Women in engineering tend to stay, however, if they feel they are truly making a difference in their role.

Although female engineers remain a minority in the field, women are increasingly making waves in leadership roles and other positions within engineering in 2019. By leveraging unique identity strengths and practicing resilience training, female engineers are persevering in the arduous engineering environment.

Engineering Employment & Unemployment

140,000 new engineering jobs are expected to be created over the next five years. But only 35% of employers feel recent grads have the skills needed to keep their operations competitive in light of new engineering trends. 4 in ten engineering employers are now building remedial programs to try to close the expanding gap between new engineering jobs and the skills required to fill them.

Because of the challenges of attracting and hiring engineers with the right talent, there’s been a 40% increase in the time it takes to pin down a candidate. Engineering candidates are also pickier today than before and more likely to suddenly drop off during the hiring process. What’s more, average earnings of engineers are hardly rising, but the cost of living is steadily climbing 2-2.5% year after year.

Trade War on Oil Prices & Engineering in 2019

Oversupply concerns ignited by the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has exacerbated fears of an economic downturn. But a recent uptick in global and U.S. productivity and a fresh round of trade talks just lead Goldman Sachs to reconsider their 2019 forecast and downgrade their oil prices. The company recently noted that although the oil market has experienced an “excessively pessimistic growth outlook,” oil prices will likely bounce back as long as global productivity doesn’t slow to below 2.5%.

Oil prices will be a major determinant of employment opportunities for petroleum and chemical engineers who are responsible for developing the equipment to refine and store crude oil, and for determining oil additives and new mixtures, respectively. The energy industry and manufactures of steel, machinery, and heavy equipment will also be influenced by oil prices in 2019.

Simulation in Design Engineering

Computational methods and computer-aided simulation models are increasingly being used in wide-ranging design engineering and industrial applications. Design-simulation models help bridge design and manufacturing by simulating the entire product lifecycle and its influencing factors in real-time, and by offering an end-to-end design solution for additive manufacturing (3D printing).

By moving us away from iterative design, state-of-the-art simulation models and other computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools provide more accurate estimates and cost-effective designs. Why? Because fewer major assumptions are required. Simulation technology allows engineers to pre-validate their design to better inform manufacturing processes.

Machine Learning and AI

The role of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) has surged over the past year or two, showing no signs of slowing in importance for the 2019 engineer. Although many believe machine learning and AI are doing away with jobs because they reduce manual activities, they’re actually creating new positions and helping engineers maintain their current roles.

AI and machine learning help close the gap in the technical and practical skills needed to navigate today’s engineering technology, achieve desired outcomes, and enable a vision of the future, today. With innovations in everything from self-driving vehicles, biometric identification, and smart speakers, to manufacturing, logistics, and cybersecurity, AI has will move into mainstream in 2019.

The increased adoption of AI and machine learning technologies will continue scaling into different manufacturing supply chain processes and verticals of engineering in 2019. In particular, we’re likely to see a shift from overhyped AI toolkits to AI technology designed to solve specific real-world and enterprise challenges (e.g. common IT problems and HR issues involved in hiring engineers).

Computed Tomography in Additive Manufacturing

The rise of X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) in Additive Manufacturing (AM, 3D printing) methods and technology has brought new and promising possibilities for engineering in 2019. The integration of CT and AM has not only improved in-situ monitoring of AM products, evaluations of structural integrity, and design validation. Integrated CT and AM technologies have also paved way to improved manufacturing productivity by enabling the layer-by-layer manufacturing of more complex geometries and customized parts than ever before.

CT technology works to enhance the design and inspection of AM products by capturing and comparing as-built CT scans to print simulation models. So as AM technologies evolve, CT technology is likely to follow in step. 2019 CT engineering trends will depend on what’s required to measure increasingly complicated AM parts and facilitate AM inspection and product advancement.

Autonomous Machines

The advancement of automated vehicles, cobots, intelligent machines, smart technologies, and building automation systems is expected to make engineering in 2019 quite fascinating.

Created specifically to work alongside humans, rather than replacing them, collaborative robots (cobots) are positioned to drive the most growth in automation. Some of the many factors contributing to uptake in the use cobots include:

   • Cobots are lightweight, mobile, and cost-effective

   • Better collaboration between humans and robots

   • Ease of use and installation

   • Simplification and speed of operation

By 2020, it’s projected that more than 150,000 cobots will be in use. By 2025, this number is projected to jump to more than 700,000. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has also been one of the hottest engineering trends in the last two years with more and more startups trying to find a niche. But in order to succeed, it’s important for robotics startups to consider safety regulations and compliance requirements during initial design so they can be successful in the market.

Expectations for autonomous vehicles are sky-high. New engineering technology that can turn self-driving cars into reality will continue to draw attention. But although we’ve seen some progression, the truth is, we’re still far from fully autonomous vehicles. Some of the challenges stem from the pace of automation, safety and compliance concerns, and the transition towards low- and zero-emissions.

How to Keep Pace With Engineering Technology & Trends In

The process for hiring engineers today has dramatically transformed. And as the nature and scope of engineering become more complex and the technologies more disruptive, so do the challenges for engineering companies.

So, how can you step up to the challenges of hiring engineers today? Engineering companies are responding in a number of ways to new engineering trends and the difficulties of recruiting and retaining high-level engineering talent with the right skills.

Adopt New Training Approaches

We’re experiencing a shift to more blended and flexible approaches to training and professional development throughout the scope of engineering in 2019. More and more engineers want to train in small chunks and on their own time. As a result, there’s been a rise in e-Learning courses and continuing education webinars for the 2019 engineer. These engineering trends are becoming more and more widespread because they accommodate large numbers of people at a single time. Virtual classrooms and mobile, on-the-go learning are also cheaper than sending employees to conferences or using critical productivity time to get everyone together for a face-to-face training session.

Leverage Talent Pools

Because of the additional time and energy to find engineering talent, we’ve seen an increase in outside recruiting partnerships this year. Recruiting companies specifically tailored to the new landscape of engineering in 2019 are able to leverage their network, data-driven recruitment strategies, and expansive reach to find “passive” candidates. These engineers may not be on the job hunt, but they’re often uniquely qualified and in demand. These are the engineers that are statistically better candidates and employees. But, oftentimes, you need to turn to outside firms and talent pools to find these prospects quickly and cost-effectively.

Increase Employee Engagement Programs

Focusing on employee productivity, well-being, and input is immensely important to be profitable in any field of engineering in 2019. This could mean uniting HR, IT, and senior leadership to actively address issues related to hiring engineers, accommodating new engineering trends, and improving your talent pipeline. Your employees and engineering managers may hold the key to bolstering recruiting potential and engineering productivity in the year ahead.

What trends do you have your eye on in the coming year? Let us know in the comments below!

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