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Salaries and Engineer Shortage

Engineering Supply and Demand:
The Skills Shortage & Salaries Paradox

If there is such a shortage of engineers, why aren’t engineering salaries shooting through the roof? What do you think?

We constantly hear about the skills shortage in engineering and high-end manufacturing? Well according to the laws of supply and demand, a shortage of anything should increase its value. So why aren’t engineering salaries sky rocketing as a result? Or are they? What do you think?

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A great article by Mark Crawford for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, describing practical ways engineers can earn more money. Included, are useful indicators of how much more - exactly the sort of information most engineers want to know, but often do not know how to find out. After reading the article, consider the following....

  • Which ideas can you build into your longer term career plan?
  • Which ideas could you undertake in the short term, as part of your personal development plan?
  • Which ideas does your supplier support?
  • Would your employer be supportive of some of the ideas, if asked? If so which ones?
  • How would you make the case to senior management for supporting some of these ideas here - consider attracting and retaining top technical talent, the business benefits of highly skilled employees, better motivated employees like better products, services and quality, reduce commercial risk, as well as further considerations listed here
  • Think how you could practically combine some of the listed ideas with your day job - how and when would you set aside the time? What could you give up to generate the time, considering the monetary gain it will give you? 

In addition to the 7 listed ideas, think more broadly about how you could make more money from your engineering talent. Try expanding on the ideas above, perhaps by...

  • Freelancing in your specialist area
  • Consultancy, plus partnering with others with complimentary skills so you could apply for more multi-faceted tenders or advertised jobs
  • Can your skills be accessed online, via a website or blog?
  • If your engineering skills are practical, consider offering them in your locality for a fee, at short notice in the evening or over the weekend. Word of mouth, friends' networks, local press, social media and online local-targeted websites are all great ways to get the word out there. What would work for you? Search to see what others have done.
  • DIY or handyman, starting with friends and their networks who would be willing to pay.
  • Providing technical support to hobby groups, clubs or societies 
  • Assisting with (young people's) volunteer groups where they need practical life skills 

How would you start? Search on line for examples, tips and case studies.

Apart from financial gain, the feelings of satisfaction, career progression, independence and credibility within your profession are certainly worth striving for. 

More and more engineers are finding the great pay, variety and satisfaction the profession has always had if you look hard enough. Start planning how you intend to make that a reality, then just go it!

Mark Lynch

Founder, Advice Manufacturing