5 developments in Engineering to watch in 2022
Engineering is a broad sector that includes many different fields. Whether it concerns Mechanical Engineering, High Tech, Industrial or Infrastructure, we see many changes taking place in all fields of Engineering. It's important to be well informed if you want to respond to this as an organization. That's why we have listed 5 main developments.
1 - Raw material shortages disrupt the supply chain
When people worked from home during the pandemic, the demand for electronics increased enormously. Not only was there an increase in demand, but Covid-19 also disrupted production. Less active workers led to less production. International shipping was also affected by this, fewer employees and higher demand caused a huge container shortage. This caused a huge increase in transport costs.
This accumulation of causes led to a major shortages in important raw materials and supplies for the Engineering sector. For example, there has been an enormous shortage of computer chips that we still suffer from today. This has major consequences for almost every field due to the extensive use of computers, machines and equipment that all contain chips.
In 2022, the shortage of raw materials will continue to put pressure on the supply chain of organizations. The shortage of raw materials will decrease in the long run, but this is a slow process. It’s important for organizations to take this into account and look at solutions so that the pressure on the supply chain doesn’t increase too much.
2 – Sustainability is increasingly important
The climate crisis and how we can work sustainably are becoming an increasingly important topic worldwide. Besides the obvious social reasons, a focus on sustainability is important to be a respected organization and to attract new talent.
Having transparent and clear communication in this area has two advantages. Employees find it increasingly important that the organization where they work is also socially responsible. But customers will also ask what organizations are doing with regard to sustainability and CSR.
How do you commit to sustainability? It’s advisable to analyse your organization to determine where sustainable processes can be implemented. Adjustments in offices or using different fuels for heavy machinery are examples of relatively easy adjustments with a big impact. Also consider encouraging working from home or hybrid working when possible. These are ways of demonstrating as an organization that sustainability has priority and that it’s actively being addressed. Especially since the pandemic has shown that a lot of travel is not always necessary.
3 - Shortage in the labour market
Demonstrating that you are committed to sustainability can therefore convince potential new employees. And it’s necessary, because we are currently struggling with a huge shortage in the labour market. All records are being broken this year, there are still so many open vacancies.
This shortage is caused, among other things, by skewed growth in supply and demand. For example, the engineering sector is experiencing enormous growth. The sector is growing faster than the influx of new potential employees. It also doesn't help that too much seniority is often asked for these roles, while there are juniors to be found.
Reducing the pressure within organizations requires a different approach regarding the recruitment process. Where in other cases hard skills and years of experience are looked at, it’s advisable to also look seriously at candidates where the picture may not be one hundred percent complete. For example, in certain cases a candidate with good soft skills may be just as suitable as one with the required hard skills.
Hard skills versus soft skills
Hard skills are related to a specific job. For example, think of project management, programming and design. Soft skills are skills that you can apply anywhere and help you in any job, such as communication, teamwork, active listening and creativity.
Potential new employees have now an extremely strong negotiating position. As an employer, it’s no longer sufficient to meet the desired salary and standard employment conditions. For many starters, the benefits have become just as important, if not more important. Think of the standards and values of an organization, how the work of an organization contributes to a better world and the sustainability mentioned above.
4- Automation and AI
Automation and AI are of course not new developments, their usage is growing every day. From research & development to automation in data engineering, it’s driving much more efficiency in the sector.
The paper processes are disappearing. Not everything has to be done by humans anymore and results of work that involves processing large amounts of data are more accurate when done by software. For example, AI can help predict when maintenance is required on machines and production lines.
In this way, AI and similar automation solutions can greatly increase productivity. It’s speeding up the development of new products, but also their implementation. All this while saving personnel costs and time. This gives companies the opportunity to invest more in other areas.
5 – Augmented and Virtual Reality
Over the past 10 years we have seen tremendous advancements in technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). These are increasingly used in engineering. It’s now possible to get a 3D image of the project that is being worked on from distance.
The application of these technologies ensures that organizations can work more sustainably. It’s no longer always necessary to be physically present at locations. The technology also contributes enormously to creativity and can thus facilitate many future innovations.
What is the difference between AR and VR?
AR gives a direct picture of your environment and adds information to change this environment. Augmented Reality therefore means 'adjusted reality'. An example of this are apps that allow you to see whether a piece of furniture matches the interior by scanning a room with a camera, after which the app places it appropriately in the image.
VR is a completely digital environment. Virtual Reality means a 'virtual reality' that can resemble the actual environment or be completely different. This technology became popular through video games, but it is also increasingly being used in education and product development.
Take these developments into account. Make sure you are future proof and attract the right employees with the above tips! Curious how we can help you further within Engineering? Get in touch with our team of recruitment experts!