Survey Gives Industrial Marketers Fresh Insight into the Mind of Engineers Across Multiple Industries and Demographics
IEEE GlobalSpec, a provider of data-driven industrial marketing solutions designed to help companies promote their products and grow their businesses, announced the results of its fifth annual Pulse of Engineering Survey. The findings provide several perspectives from the minds of over two thousand engineers across the entire engineering sector, on topics such as the pace of engineering, available resources, challenges, competition, their career path, and more. The complete research results are available for download here.
“At IEEE GlobalSpec, we pride ourselves on giving industrial marketers the insight they need to better understand our audience of engineers and other technical professionals,” said Pete Hoelscher, Acting Chief Executive Officer of IEEE GlobalSpec. “That’s exactly why each year through this survey, we seek to understand what’s going on in the complex mind of the engineer, ultimately giving marketers what they need to strengthen relationships with customers, develop messaging and content that resonates, and position their company, products, and services to align more closely with customer needs, pain points, and industry trends.”
Key findings from the study include:
- Engineers face many challenges – 71 percent of engineers say that constraints on people and/or resources are jeopardizing their company’s productivity, innovation, and/or product quality; 70 percent say a shortage of talent/specialized knowledge is doing the same. Adding to the pressure, 63 percent report their company’s engineering workforce has stayed the same or decreased over the past two years, and half of engineers say they are required to do more with less.
- These professionals are resilient – Despite being under increased pressure, engineers are a dedicated group and meet their top performance targets of product quality and customer service/satisfaction 85 percent and 82 percent of the time, respectively.
- Quality content is essential – Engineers are constantly seeking out and using content and information to help them perform better at their jobs. Three of their four leading tools to complete projects are content: technical documentation, product specification data, and datasheets. Content also plays an important role in maintaining and advancing professional skills; popular resources for engineers include books, online training courses, training courses offered by vendors, white papers, and webinars.
- The millennial engineer stays optimistic – Although more millennial engineers than veteran engineers say the pace of engineering is constantly increasing, younger professionals seem more optimistic. They are more driven than their older colleagues by a good work/life balance (67 percent compared to 60 percent), growth potential (57 percent compared to 35 percent), and learning (64 percent compared to 57 percent). They are also more likely to report that budgets are increasing and their companies are hiring, while they are less likely to state that pressure to cut costs or meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk, that they are required to do more with less, or that they are losing senior expertise faster than they are gaining it.
- Institutional knowledge walks out the door – 61 percent of engineers stated that knowledge and/or information loss as employees left the company was very or extremely important. Yet less than half of companies have formal practices in place to identify senior-level and specialized experts to train, transfer, mentor, manage or retain their knowledge among others in the organization. Adding to the challenge of retaining institutional knowledge, 40 percent of companies are experiencing an increase in the loss of senior employees to retirement, and engineers are on average only moderately likely to be employed at the same company five years from now.
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The 2,180 survey respondents, taken from a pool of both Engineering360.com registered users and IEEE Spectrum subscribers, work for companies large and small, and across the entire the engineering sector. 44 percent work at companies that employ ten or fewer engineers, 35 percent for companies employing 11–250 engineers, and 21 percent for companies with more than 250 engineers. Respondents are most commonly design engineers (23 percent), followed by those who work in engineering consulting, research and development, and process/production.