Engineering Recruitment Trends 2024

Original post date: December 11, 2023
Niamh Thompson

It’s time for a recap on our trend predictions for 2024! Scroll to see our specialist’s thoughts on the engineering recruitment trends we predict to see this year.

But before we start, let’s quickly reflect on our 2023 predictions. 

The first forecast was that salaries would continue to rise. But quicker than ever, due to the scarcity of talent on the market. 

We were right! Between Q1 2023 and now, we’ve seen a 7% rise in advertised salaries for maintenance engineers in Leicester. It’s good to see that salaries are on the incline – albeit slowly.  

Salaries still aren’t competitive enough within the engineering industry. With the skills gap only getting bigger, the top talent is hunting for much more than the average salaries we uncovered.  

For some shifts, only a small percentage of companies meet the minimum salary that engineers would even entertain. In Coventry, engineers said that £48k would be the lowest they’d want for the 4 on 4 off shift. And a whopping 82% of companies in this area advertise a salary lower than this! 

This leads to the first prediction for 2024 engineering recruitment trends: 

Salaries and Packages Getting More Competitive 

This prediction will likely feature in every update of our engineering recruitment trends report. But that’s due to the increasingly competitive market, and of course inflation!  

Some businesses may not be able to increase their salaries as much as others. But they can elevate the package by offering some desirable benefits (and highlighting these in the job adverts).  

Increased pensions, enhanced holiday packages, competitive overtime rates, and private healthcare are just a few suggestions of what companies can do to make their package more competitive. And we predict to see a lot more of this deeper into 2024.  

Something else we saw a lot of in 2023… counteroffers.

A poll we posted revealed that just 10% of engineers would NOT accept a counteroffer. Companies should relook at their budgets and assess whether countering the counteroffer (by increasing the engineer’s salary) will save them in the long run.

This goes hand in hand with our prediction that businesses will assess packages more regularly and (hopefully) implement better offerings for engineers. 

Poll results: Would you accept a counteroffer? 10% No, 30% Yes, 60% Depends on Context
Counteroffer Poll results – only 10% answered ‘No’

It’s easy to assume that big players in the industry will have the most competitive salary and package. But you’d be wrong.  

We’ve seen a good few SMEs keeping up with the larger companies. Reviewing your offering to engineers is key to staying relevant and getting top talent in. So, we’re expecting to see more of this and predict it will be one of the main engineering recruitment trends this year. 

Automotive on the Rise Again  

Early last year, our engineering recruitment team saw many engineers transition from the automotive to manufacturing/food environments. So, we expected to see this continue in 2023.   

However, automotive made a resurgence.  

For example, Jaguar Land Rover massively increased their maintenance team, hiring over 100 maintenance technicians for the Solihull plant. Showing firsthand that automotive is on the rise again and will continue throughout 2024. Making it our second prediction for the engineering recruitment trends in 2024. 

Recruitment Speeding Up

Another engineering recruitment trend we’re anticipating for 2024 is the process speeding up… A LOT. Engineers are getting snatched up left, right, and centre. But some companies do not feel this sense of urgency.  

To put it into perspective… 

Engineers will have 5 opportunities now, instead of the 2 they’d have had in previous years.  

So, if your hiring process takes longer than a week, changes need to be made. Recruiters may harp on about time, but top engineers are getting snapped up within a few days of their CVs being online.  

The ball is in the engineer’s court right now (thanks to the skills shortage). It’s amazing for candidates because they have so much choice. But when you’re trying to get an engineer on board, you’re battling against other companies. 

Our advice is to get things moving much quicker. Don’t procrastinate when you see an engineer who ticks all the boxes! Urgency has increased – and we expect companies to level up their recruitment game as a result. 

Greater Focus on Apprenticeships  

One of our predictions for 2023 engineering recruitment trends was an increase in engineering apprenticeships. However, Engineering UK revealed that these apprenticeships took a small hit in the past year. They decreased by 6.5%.  

This could be a lot worse, but it isn’t what we wanted to see. Especially since apprenticeship stats were up in the 75,000’s back in 2016/17.

Apprenticeship starts graph: Engineering and manufacturing starts decreased gradually from 2016/17 to 2020/21. Then in 2021/22 they increased by 10,000. But decreased again in 2022/21, but only by around 3000
Image sourced from Engineering UK (

Apprentices allow companies to utilise the succession planning process (you can check out our blog on the succession planning stages here).

Planning for every role within the business and implementing appropriate training will only benefit the company and its green engineers. Apprentices can shadow the time-served engineers from the very start of their careers and absorb all their knowledge to continue within the business. Hopefully stitching up part of the ever-growing skills gap also. 

We expect to see businesses putting in more effort to retain apprentices. We often see engineers come to the end of their time and not be put on proper wages afterwards, which leads them to look elsewhere.  

Just think, you now have an engineer who knows your processes inside and out. To lose all that great potential and training would be a real shame. Essentially a waste of your time and money, having trained them up. 

In the current situation, companies need to do all they can to keep their apprentices with them once they’re qualified. You never know, your next apprentice could be the Team Leader in a few years! 

Focus on Soft Skills 

Now this is a good one. And we are really expecting to see this in some parts of the engineering sector. Our maintenance team hasn’t seen this so much right now. However, the technical team have some cracking examples as to why we predict soft skills to be a key focus for 2024 engineering recruitment trends.

Some clients have lots of questions heavily around soft skills. Before offering an interview, as well as during.

A great example is that a client recently turned down a candidate because he couldn’t answer this simple question:

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Now, this isn’t to say that qualifications are less important. Most companies are set on bringing in engineers who hold specific qualifications – e.g., NVQ/HNC/D, City and Guilds. They ALSO need the soft skills to land the job. 

It’ll be interesting to see soft skills continue to creep up the list of hiring requirements. And whether this trend catches on more within this industry and beyond in the future.  

Adapting to Automation 

We predict more automation coming through (as we can see it implemented in many businesses and sites).

Automation was something generally only seen in bigger companies and mainly Distribution/FMCG businesses. But now smaller manufacturing businesses are looking to shift towards automation to improve efficiency. This is controversial though, because it costs operators their jobs.

Unfortunately, with this prediction, we also expect to see companies wanting to scale down the number of engineers on site. Which means redundancies.

Thankfully, there are still more jobs than engineers (again due to the skills shortage). That’s a saving grace in a sense.

Thinking Outside the Box

This is our final prediction for 2024 engineering recruitment trends…

With automated warehouses pushing the boundary on salaries, manufacturing sites will find it harder to pull through good talent (and retain the existing workforce) without thinking outside the box.

Employers will need to be more open-minded with their new hires. For example, bringing people on board with Forces experience or alternate qualifications.

With that, we also predict to see more in-house upskilling. Whether that be PLC training or offering HNC/HND qualifications. Providing these new hires with the appropriate skills for their team.

In Summary…

Recruiting in 2024 will see some changes in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. Businesses will need to continue to adapt and go above and beyond normal hiring standards to find and attract engineers. 

Keep up to date with our maintenance engineer hiring insights that we update every other quarter. Up-to-date reports were released recently. Check out insights for your area: 

East Midlands 



Something to push in 2024 is the recruitment marketing side of hiring. Which is part of our RPO hiring model. As mentioned, it’s important to highlight to engineers the benefits of working at your organisation (to stand out in hand with the salary package). We’re going to be working with organisations to help increase their presence within the current and upcoming generation of engineers. 

The Brains Behind the Blog 

Big thank you to our recruitment specialists who contributed to the inside knowledge behind our predictions for engineering recruitment trends in 2024. 

Matt Morson (Senior Engineering Recruiter) – Matt, started his recruitment career with us as a graduate. He bagged the Senior title after going above and beyond. His bread and butter is recruiting Maintenance Engineers in and around Warwickshire/Coventry. 

Dannie Bridgewater (Engineering recruitment consultant) – Dannie became a Recruitment Consultant back in 2021. She has developed her recruitment skills and focuses on recruiting Maintenance Engineers in the East Midlands. Placing people for the right reasons and really getting to know their why.