The COVID-19 pandemic opened new doors for remote work in the engineering field, but as the world adjusted to the new normal, the availability of remote jobs for mechanical, electrical, and manufacturing engineers has become very limited.
Remote Work is Declining:
- Remote job opportunities reached their peak in March 2022, with over 20% of available remote job listings on LinkedIn, but by the end of the year, it has declined to only roughly 14%. Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter have also experienced a decline in remote job listings.
- In Microsoft’s 2022 report, 50% of companies planned to require full-time in-person work for 2023. Similarly, manufacturing (55%), retail (54%), and consumer goods (53%) industries are following suit. To better understand the shift of remote jobs to onsite setups, here’s Gartner’s comparison of 2020 vs. 2023 percentage change of on-site and remote workers:
Hybrid Work is Increasing:
- Despite the decline in work-from-home job opportunities, employees’ demand for flexible working models is increasing in the US. A survey by the Job Board Zippia found that 68% of the US workforce would prefer to be fully remote and 45% would prefer a hybrid arrangement than fully on-site. On the other hand, 69% of mid to large-sized companies are requiring remote employees to report back to the office for a specific number of days.
- As a compromise, hybrid work arrangements have become popular. More than half of employers found that remote work reduces absenteeism, improves work-life balance, and reduces employee turnover.
- Fully remote and hybrid workers are expected to make up 71% of the workforce this 2023, and it is projected that 39% of workers will work in hybrid setups by the end of the year, a 2% increase from last year. As for hybrid jobs, here’s the total percentage of the increase in hybrid workers from 2020 to 2023 from Gartner:
What does that mean for engineering job seekers?
With a need to build clearer communication, effective collaboration, and stronger team relationships, more companies will continue to ask engineers to work onsite or at least on a hybrid setup. This provides engineers with more access to specialized equipment, facilities, and direct guidance that can give them more opportunities for skill acquisition, field experience, and career growth. Working on-site and having face-to-face interactions with management and team members will be to the workers’ advantage.
How to navigate this tricky road?
- Be reasonable – negotiate a win-win
Explore hybrid schedules with hiring managers. Offer to be in the office for key activities on consecutive days, while working remotely the remainder of the month. Find the combination of on-site and remote that satisfy the needs of the team and management.
Make sure to deliver excellent work products to prove that remote work can be effective and productive.
Make yourself available – offer to come into the office for key meetings and customer activities
Build trust – Strong work product and a willingness to be available in the office will build trust and make remote or hybrid schedules more attractive for managers and team leaders.
If remote opportunities are scarce, it’s time to consider on-site work or hybrid arrangements to broaden your options for finding a suitable company.
- Explore contingent opportunities
In addition to full-time or hybrid positions, consider exploring contingent or contract work as they may offer more flexibility in terms of where the work can be performed.
While the availability of fully remote jobs for engineers is becoming scarce, opportunities in flexible and hybrid setups are still high and in demand. The engineering field is constantly evolving and by staying adaptable, engineers can still thrive in roles that align with their skills and preferences.
If you’re looking for engineering positions that fit your work location preferences, connect with SoloPoint Technical Recruiter today. We have a mix of onsite and hybrid opportunities to help you find the right career fit.