Engineering Staffing Report: Sept. 27, 2018

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Engineering temporary workers’ insights

At Staffing Industry Analysts, we conduct an annual survey of roughly 4,000 US temporary workers in conjunction with our “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” competition. The results of that study were recently published in our 2018 Temporary Worker Survey report. In this study, roughly 150 respondents worked in architecture/engineering occupations. While this sample may not be large enough to draw precise conclusions on the total pool of engineering temporary workers, it is large enough to suggest some noticeable challenges (and opportunities) for the engineering staffing industry. We discuss a few examples below.

Temporary workers were asked: “What was your approximate hourly pay in your most recent (or current) temporary/contract assignment?” The distribution of reported hourly temporary worker pay is given in the table below for each occupational category.

Click on chart to enlarge.

Within the category “architect/engineer” 10% reported earning $26/hour or less, 25% reported earning $38/hour or less; median pay was $54/hour; 25% reported earning more than $60. Architect/Engineer and was the occupation with the highest rate of pay along with “IT programmers/engineers and project managers.”

However, higher remuneration for temporary workers within engineering occupations did not translate into a higher preference for workers to work through a staffing agency. When asked, “What is your preferred work status?,” 78% of temporary workers in the overall survey indicated regular full-time employment and 6% indicated temporary assignments via an agency. For temporary workers in engineering, the results were roughly similar: 77% indicated full-time employment and 8% identified temporary assignments as their preferred mode of work.

These figures do not indicate a greater affinity toward and acceptance of agency temporary work among engineering workers compared to other occupations. This suggests that engineering staffing firms have yet to achieve success in normalizing temporary work and providing a satisfying experience for workers. They have not enticed sufficient workers to prefer to work through a staffing agency and many may need to look again at benefits and training programs. It also highlights the importance of identifying those 8% of engineering temporary workers that prefer working on a temporary basis, in order to curate a pool of highly engaged talent that wants to be redeployed to future assignments.

Similarly, when asked about their openness to accepting another temporary assignment, 66% of engineering temporary workers reported “yes” and 8% indicated “no.” For comparison, in the overall survey, 61% of temporary workers reported “yes” and 11% said “no.” Given the engineering segment is highly candidate driven, staffing firms should heed these insights from temporary workers.

In addition to the topics discussed above, the temporary workers survey sheds light on engineering temporary worker attitudes about use of staffing firm websites and apps, use of human cloud platforms, opinions on advances in automation, and satisfaction ratings and advice for staffing firms and buyer clients. The complete 199-page report is available to our corporate members online.

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