Female Design Engineer
Female Design Engineer

'Designing' your recruitment strategy in 2023

Stewart Jackson, Associate Director

​'Designing' your recruitment strategy in 2023

The current recruitment market for Design Engineers continues to provide ongoing challenges for companies, with demand heavily outweighing availability of talent in the market. IMechE references that at the end of 2022, there was shortage of 173,000 people across all STEM roles with 49% of engineering business expressing difficulty in recruiting.

One of the cornerstones of ATA Recruitment’s white collar offering is the provision of Mechanical Design Engineers into the automation, system integration and special purpose machinery sectors.

Apart from the sudden surge of candidates into the market during the initial period of the pandemic, we have seen the balance of supply and demand continue to become more challenging for companies. From 2022 to 2023 we have already seen a 20% increase in time to hire figures highlighting the increased difficulty in identifying top engineering talent.

As a result of these trends, we are constantly consulting with and advising our customers about market conditions and encouraging them to think broadly and to be as open minded as possible when defining the requirements for candidates to fill their roles.

As part of The ATA Way (our set of values), we strive to Add Value and provide some insight into what companies are placing the most importance on when hiring.

We wanted to understand if the Specific CAD package, Product Experience or the Personal Characteristics of the individual being hired were more critical for a successful hire.

From our 2023 data on Design Engineers we have placed we have found:

  • Only 40% of the Design Engineers we placed had expertise in the CAD Package required by the hiring company

  • 70% of the candidates had experience that was very closely aligned to specific equipment or machinery required within the role

  • Only 20% of the candidates being placed fulfilled both of these criteria together

The data suggest that companies are having to make a choice whether to offer training and development for either the specific CAD Package used within the role, or to give their new hires the time required to gain the knowledge of the technical specifics for the equipment or machinery the company designs.

In all these cases, companies are then having to be confident that the long term fit of the person with the business is also a great match to ensure the time spent training and developing is coupled with someone they can retain in the businesses for the long term.

Interestingly, 90% of the roles filled offered some form of hybrid or agile working structure with the popular choice being offering one to two days working from home per week to allow people to strike the right work life balance. In some cases, this has been crucial for companies filling roles with candidates being willing to travel a distance for three days per week that they would not choose to for a fully office based role.

In summary, it’s clear when hiring in the design engineering space currently that companies need to have some compromise in mind and need to ask themselves it the product experience or CAD package experience is more important to them. We will re-visit these figures further down the line to see how these trends continue.

Stewart Jackson

Associate Director at ATA Recruitment

Connect on LinkedIn


07827 295 740

Subscribe to Our Blog