Will Retiring Workers Drain Engineering of Viable Talent?

It’s true, that older workers are retiring from their jobs at an alarming rate. As the rate of retiring workers increases, they are being replaced by young workers entering the labor market at a very low rate—by some estimates, a ratio of 2:1. It’s a trend in the labor market that has many businesses worried. 

The alarm is especially urgent in industries where older workers represent some of the most proficient workers available, such as engineering. Older engineers have years of experience and time-tested work history that lends to much of their expertise and capabilities.  

So what does this trend of retiring workers mean for engineering? Is it as bad as people are saying? The answer can be yes or no, depending on your company.  

What A Wave Of Retiring Workers Means For Engineering 

Businesses are growing. They’re looking to hire to expand their operations. They can’t afford to lose current employees. So when their most critical team members retire, it can slow down or halt operations altogether.  

For a highly specialized sector such as engineering, the thinking is that when older workers retire, they take with them irreplaceable years of experiential knowledge and invaluable problem-solving skills. 

Time will tell whether that is true. What we often hear from employers is that they are fixating on the wrong thing.  

For the most part, employers are preoccupied with what they are possibly losing when older engineers retire. They’re more likely failing to take into consideration what their business and industry could stand to gain with an emerging workforce of younger engineers.  

New, Younger Engineers Could Foster Innovation And Invention 

Just like retiring workers, younger engineers are not defined by one set of characteristics. But for the most part, younger engineers tend to be: 

  • Tech-savvy 
  • Family-centric 
  • Achievement-oriented 
  • Feedback-seeking
  • Job-hopping
  • Team-oriented 

Image by Derek Abella © The Balance 2019 

There are upsides and downsides to any of these traits. But older engineers have similar qualities and opportunities. The point is, that each generation of workers comes with its pluses and minuses. 

The important thing to remember is that younger engineers are motivated by different things than their older counterparts. 

If you haven’t updated your job descriptions, packages for perks and benefits, or recently reviewed your wages and compensation, you’ll have an even more difficult time recruiting the young engineers you need to grow your company. Knowing what younger engineers are looking for is half the battle.  

So, Is There Really A Crisis Of Retiring Workers? 

The short answer is yes and no. On a just a numbers basis, the rate of retirement is cause for concern. But here are a couple of reasons why you should not be overly concerned: 

  • The shortage of engineers is affecting all employers, not just you. Your competitors are also feeling the pinch. 
  • Where there is a will, there’s a way. Even seemingly insurmountable challenges can foster innovation and creative solutions. What creative solutions will you develop to attract and retain the engineers you need? 
  • This is a moment of change and flux. Employers are seldom presented with such a unique opportunity to take the lead in their industry and hire better and faster than others. 

So, while there is cause for concern, there is no cause for panic. However, these trends call for urgency. If you’re ready to partner with someone in hiring the engineers you need—that’s us. We can help 

If You Need Engineers, Work With Vector Technical 

For all the various and creative solutions to work around an impending shortage of engineers, perhaps the most effective (and easiest!) strategy is to work with Vector Technical. 

With Vector, you can gain access to a larger pool of engineering talent. And nobody knows what today’s talented job seekers are looking for like we do. So, get started hiring the engineering talent you need. Contact Vector Technical today!