5 Ways To Attract and Retain Top Engineers

Black female engineer working on industrial machine in a laboratory

Engineers enjoy discovering how things work, solving problems and finding ways to improve products and processes. Knowing this, what tactics can you use that resonate with the engineers you're recruiting?

This article originally published on HR Daily Advisor.

An Allegis Group survey uncovered a remarkable statistic — 100 percent of companies that hire engineers cited “attracting top talent” as an issue for their organization. Even given today’s tight talent market, this is significantly higher than the 84 percent of employers hiring for other positions.

How do hiring managers navigate this challenging situation? It begins with an employee value proposition (EVP) that appeals to job seekers, but more importantly incorporates the specific reasons engineers should choose your organization.

Although engineers, like everyone, are motivated by high pay and top-notch benefits, you’ll have to offer more than that if you want to stand out from the other offers they could be receiving at the same time. Many engineers like the idea of working for a global titan. But you don’t have to be a household name to attract top-quality engineers.

At Actalent, we have a singular insight into the engineering community. Most of our employees are engineers, and many of the clients we work with are too. Although each engineer offers uniquely valuable knowledge, skills and experience, we’ve also seen that there tends to be many characteristics engineers have in common. They are curious. They like to examine ideas and develop theories and explanations. They enjoy discovering how things work, solving problems and finding ways to improve products and processes.

Knowing this, what tactics can you use that will resonate with the engineers you’re recruiting?

Present Your EVP

When you first meet with a job seeker, it’s crucial to quickly gain a solid understanding of the candidate’s skills, wants and interests, and to demonstrate in concrete ways how the company’s mission, work and environment will meet their goals. In the course of the interview process, seek to uncover what motivates and inspires your candidates.

Make sure that your recruiters have a solid grasp of the company’s EVP, and can be specific about the ways the organization acknowledges and rewards its strong performers. Get the candidate excited about the prospect of working for your company.

What’s more important than ever these days is to maintain a sense of urgency throughout the recruitment process, as he or she is likely in discussions with other employers at the same time.

Once your chosen candidate is hired and fully on-boarded, you need to make sure you’re delivering on the promises you made during the recruitment process, but that’s not all. You need to keep them engaged and involved in forging a career path that will ensure their needs are met. While ensuring that their work product and performance meets your organization’s standards and goals, you should look to what engineers are likely to value and appreciate in the workplace.

Creating Employee Satisfaction among Engineers

Many engineers appreciate recognition for using their imagination to innovate and to better the industry they are in, or even the world.  Many want to work through complex problems and challenges — and to do so without the hassle of common operational and business challenges.


1. Challenging Work

  • Provide challenging and innovative projects
  • Empower them to innovate

2. Autonomy

  • Provide a sense of ownership over projects
  • Offer influence over decision-making

3. Training

  • Provide access to training and career development
  • Encourage rotational assignments and cross-platform collaboration
  • Provide opportunities to learn from, teach and present to others

4. Access

  • Provide contact with leadership outside of the chain of command
  • Offer opportunities to represent the company at industry events

5. Recognition

  • Incorporate two-way performance feedback
  • Offer rewards for innovation and achievements
  • Ensure they know they have a future with you

These are all ways to motivate your engineers and meet their needs at the same time your organization is helping to build a strong and inventive workforce.

This approach can yield dividends far beyond your current employees and benefit your EVP to help attract new talent. When you appeal specifically to the factors that really carry weight with engineers, you can do a better job of showcasing your company and opportunity.

Building on a Foundation of Success

Gaining a solid reputation for hiring and empowering the best engineers at your organization will spur employee referrals and create networks across the board that will help keep your pipeline full, continuing to benefit your organization into the future.

Want to learn more about recruiting top engineering talent? Contact Actalent now.

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