The pace of engineering is accelerating, designs are becoming more complex at the same time that design cycles are shrinking, and time-to-market pressures are increasing. If that sounds like a challenging work environment, welcome to the life of today’s engineer.
These are just a few of the key takeaways gleaned from new research conducted by IHS Engineering360 and presented in the new, complimentary research report The Pulse of Engineering: The Changing Work Environment for Engineers Today.
Survey of engineers finds a strong pulse of engineering but reveals key challenges including resource constraints, accelerated pace of work, increasingly complex designs and more.
Pressure and risk were among several recurring themes noted by the 2,162 engineers and technical professionals who responded to the survey. Consider some of the other findings:
- Forty-six percent of engineers are working on more projects than they were two years ago.
- Fifty-seven percent are being required to do more with less.
- Fifty-five percent said the number of competitors is growing.
- The majority are facing budget constraints (60 percent) and time constraints (69 percent).
What will be the result of all these pressures? For one, engineers should be granted superhuman status for shouldering the load—55 percent said they frequently or always meet launch dates and product quality standards. On the more sobering side, these conditions may be cause for concern: 44 percent said the pressure to meet deadlines and cut costs is putting product quality at risk.
What does this all mean for the industrial marketer? These results, the conclusions we can draw from them and our recommendations based on what engineers are telling us can help inform your marketing strategy.
How do your products/services help your customers – the engineers and technical professionals that responded to this survey – do more with less, shorten design cycles, or meet performance targets?
Industrial marketers can make valuable use of this data by creating buyer personas that describe your various types of customers, their motivations and the problems they face. Messaging based on buyer personas will resonate more deeply with your target audience.
Knowledge Management is an Issue
A significant percentage of the engineering workforce is aging or on the move. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they could retire in the next five years. Thirty-one percent said they were only slightly likely or not at all likely to be employed at the same company five years from now. In many cases, when these employees leave, institutional knowledge goes with them.
Forty percent said their companies lose specialized knowledge and expertise faster than they gain it. Yet only 43 percent 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.
Industrial marketers have a great opportunity to step in and help fill the knowledge void as well as build customer satisfaction and loyalty by producing trusted, reliable technical content that helps engineers do their jobs more effectively. Your customers will turn to you for authoritative knowledge and you will become an essential resource to these companies.
Environmental Sustainability is Important
Another theme arising from the survey is the importance of environmental sustainability. Seventy-six percent said designing/developing environmentally sustainable products was important to their companies. Fifty-five percent said that environmental/sustainability pressures on products/designs have increased over the past two years. In addition, the majority of engineers said that the number of environmental/sustainability regulations, regulatory complexity and frequency of regulatory changes have all increased.
If your products are energy efficient, help reduce energy consumption or are made from safe or recyclable materials, make sure you get that message out to your target audience. The same is true with messaging around other trends reported in the survey, such as engineers being strapped to do more with fewer resources while having to meet aggressive launch dates.
Take advantage of these trends in your marketing. How can your products reduce time to market for engineers? Improve productivity? Save time and resources?
Performance is Measured by Customer Satisfaction
Having satisfied customers was the most often cited objective used to measure a team or department’s performance, chosen by 60 percent of respondents. Product quality – a key aspect of customer satisfaction – placed second among performance objectives (57 percent), followed by launch dates (45 percent).
Engineers are doing a good job living up to performance expectations: 75 percent said they frequently met customer service and satisfaction targets. It appears that the desire to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction permeates all corners of an organization. Even for engineers, the customer is king.
Download the Research Report
Download your complimentary copy of The Pulse of Engineering: The Changing Work Environment for Engineers Today. This research report profiles the respondents and analyzes and presents results of the survey. It also offers recommendations to industrial marketers to help them better understand their target audience, strengthen relationships with customers and position their products to align more closely with industry trends.
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What do you think of these findings? Any surprises? Or what you expected from your audience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.