This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Joe Lampinen, M.S., CMfgE, LEED AP, PMP Senior Director, Engineering,


Global BPO Center of Excellence at KellyOCG


WORKFORCE PIPELINE A MONTHLY FEATURE ABOUT TRAINING, EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT


w W Engineering a Successful Career Path


ith the worldwide shortage of qualifi ed en- gineers expected to hit a critical point in the next 15 years, now might just be the best time in history to come out of school with an


engineering degree. This demand for technical talent is cer- tainly great news for anyone entering the engineering profes- sion. But to paraphrase the old business school saying, “with success comes increased competition.” And you can be sure the best jobs go to the best prepared. If you’re part of the new generation of engineers who grad- uated in the past decade, you’ve no doubt been exposed to a wide range of new technolo- gies that you’re expected to be profi cient in. But some of the most important things to know likely weren’t found on the syl- labus—namely, how to success- fully manage your career and keep making progress as you move forward. If you’re just get- ting started or have a few years under your belt, now is a great


time to consider how to build and augment the professional skills that will get you ahead and keep you there for the long term. The best part is, you don’t have to do it alone.


No Shortage of Tools to Use or Problems to Solve Given the amazing tools and technologies new engi- neers have to work with today, and the endless variety of problems to solve and products to deliver, it’s easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to your career. With rapid advances in automation and additive manufacturing, and the demand for industrial sustainability and product energy effi ciency improvements, today’s engineers have more than enough tasks on their plates to fi ll their days and then some. And while it’s likely that most engineers under 30 are


[1] 2015 Hiring Manager Research, conducted by RDA Group on behalf of Kelly Services. [2] HfS Consulting CEO Phil Fersht


familiar with these processes and disciplines, they may not know that hiring managers most frequently cite analytical/ critical thinking, verbal/written communication skills, and complex problem solving as hard skills lacking among underqualifi ed candidates.1 Certainly, these hard skills are imperative for today’s engineers to own. But just as these technological advances and the ability to work effectively with them has become de riguer, so has the need to be able to successfully collaborate with other engineers, project supervisors, and managers across the table and on virtual projects across the globe (both with internal colleagues, as well as with clients, suppliers, and other collaborators). This is why a profi ciency in soft skills is so critical to career success. Because quite frankly, engineers who understand that side of the work equation are almost certain to build their careers faster than those who don’t. And with the variety of


employment options available to engineers in today’s market- place, those skills can, and will, open doors to opportunity like never before.


Full Time for Free Agent? It’s Your Call


Understanding and taking advantage of soft skills comes into sharper focus when you consider how the workplace paradigm has shifted in recent years. Workers, including engineers, now have a choice as to whether they stay with a company or leave whenever a better opportunity presents itself. Known as free agents, these workers represent a grow- ing segment of the workforce. Until relatively recently, many in the engineering workforce sought long-term employment with one fi rm (e.g., an automaker) where they could tuck in


July 2016 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 97


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