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How can we get more young engineering talent?

Dear Control Engineering: How can we get more young engineers interested in applying for positions at our location?

January 16, 2014


The question of how to get more young engineers involved or interested in automation, controls, and instrumentation is often discussed around here and at other locations. The Automation & Control Engineering LinkedIn group (moderated by Control Engineering) has several related discussions, and also has an engineering-related job board. The challenge about getting needed engineering talent is large and likely to worsen as increasing numbers of more established engineers reach retiring age in the coming decade. 

A recently posted series of articles offers some answers, including asking five questions of yourself to assess if you're doing the right things to encourage young engineering talent. Part of the issue seems to be how people with more experience (and in a hurry) relate to people with less experience.

Getting younger engineers interested during the interview process may involve discussing some of your company's more innovative, new-technology projects. Retaining young engineers may include improving communications internally, taking time for mentoring and keeping them involved, engaged, and interested. It sounds basic, but during the heat of a project, it can be easy to assume others know what to do, which can leave them hanging. Help them succeed and have a good engineering experience. 

Another article suggests involving youth with an internship program, exposing them to various engineering projects with the company, then continuing correspondence while they finish their education. These can be a first-look talent pool when they enter the job market.

What's worked or hasn't worked at your location? What do you see at other engineering-related firms that has helped? Share you comments using the tool at the bottom of this post.

These articles, linked below, also have more information.

How to hire, retain engineering talent

Training versus mentoring: You need two in a canoe

- 2013 salary survey and career advice

- Building diversity in the engineering profession

- Compiled by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com