Surviving the Reliability Engineer's Job Market

Adrian Messer; Chris Pepin

Surviving the Reliability Engineer's Job Market

Choosing a company to work for is one of the most crucial decisions a reliability engineer can make. Not only does it affect their current financial situation, but it can also determine the trajectory of their entire career.

The reliability industry job market is competitive and daunting; this can leave many job seekers feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. However, by understanding what makes a job meaningful and fulfilling, both on a personal and professional level, you can improve your chances of finding one that aligns with and supports your career aspirations.

To help navigate your way through the reliability market and ensure that your next job is the right one, here are 10 factors to consider.

#1 Meaningful Work

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, meaningful work is the top factor that job seekers consider when looking for a new job. A job that is aligned with your values and provides a sense of purpose can help you stay motivated and engaged, even during challenging times. A meaningful job is essential for long-term career satisfaction as a reliability professional. 

During the interview process, be sure to ask about:

  • What learning and development opportunities are available.
  • How employees are recognized for their efforts and successes.
  • How your work will contribute to the overall mission and goals of the company.

#2 Location

When considering a new opportunity, one of the most critical considerations is the location. When evaluating a new location, it's important to consider factors such as:

  • Cost of living
  • Access to healthcare
  • Quality of life

If you’re considering relocation, many companies realize the challenges associated with that during the economic times that we are in, and they are willing to let that be part of the negotiating process. 

Aside from considering the location of a new opportunity, with the rise in remote work opportunities since the pandemic, the location of a new opportunity may not be as important. A recent report by FlexJobs says that remote work has increased by 159% since Covid-19, and 3.9 million Americans now work from home at least half the time.

Remote work can:

  • Provide a greater work-life balance.
  • Eliminate commuting time and costs.
  • Provide more flexibility in scheduling.

However, it's essential to consider whether remote work is a good fit for your personal and professional needs and to evaluate the company's policies and infrastructure to ensure a smooth transition to remote work. 

#3 Company Culture and Long-Term Goals

Company culture and long-term goals are also essential factors to consider when looking for a new job. A positive company culture can improve job satisfaction and engagement, while a negative culture can lead to burnout and turnover.

According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 77% of job seekers consider company culture before applying for a job. When evaluating a company's culture, it's essential to consider factors such as:

  • Diversity and inclusion.
  • Work-life balance.
  • Opportunities for professional development.

Also, being in a reliability-focused culture can help when deploying new reliability initiatives and reliability-based training opportunities. 

Developing a company’s reliability strategy, deploying the strategy, and ensuring the continued health and success of the assets are crucial aspects of any industrial reliability engineer's job, and it's important to understand how you will help accomplish this at your new company. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of industrial engineers, which includes reliability engineers, is projected to grow 10% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the increasing emphasis on improving efficiency and productivity in manufacturing processes. When evaluating a job opportunity, it's essential to consider the company's reliability strategy and asset management plan, as well as the frequency and effectiveness of planned outages.

#4 Safety

A company’s safety record is another critical consideration when considering a new job in industrial reliability. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe workplace, and violations of OSHA standards can result in significant fines and legal action.

Additionally, companies that prioritize safety are more likely to attract and retain top talent. According to a recent National Safety Council survey, 79% of employees consider safety an important factor when considering a new job. It has also been shown that when reliability is improved, safety also improves. 

#5 Career Growth Potential

With the state of the current maintenance and reliability job market, many people are very secure with where they are, but job satisfaction is very low. So, when considering a new opportunity, individual career growth is also an essential consideration when looking for a new job in maintenance and reliability.

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it offered opportunities for career growth. When evaluating a job opportunity, it's essential to consider the mentoring and professional development opportunities available at a company.

A company that invests in employee development and training is more likely to attract and retain top talent. Consider asking if they will support growth through networking with industry associations, such as the Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP), or support with achieving certifications through industry associations

Another trend in the maintenance and reliability job market is the increasing importance of soft skills. Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, are becoming more critical as technology and automation continue to transform the workplace.

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, 91% of employers believe that soft skills are more important than hard skills. When evaluating a job opportunity, it's essential to consider how the company values and develops soft skills in its employees.

#6 Mission and Values

One of the most critical factors to consider when evaluating a new job is whether the company's mission and values align with your own. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, 82% of employees would consider leaving their job for one that aligns better with their values.

Additionally, employees who work for companies with a strong sense of purpose are more likely to be engaged and motivated. When evaluating a company's mission and values, it's essential to consider whether they align with your own and whether the company has a positive impact on society and the environment.

#7 Company Size

In addition to the factors already discussed, there are several other considerations that industrial reliability engineers should keep in mind when searching for a new job. One of these considerations is the size of the company.

Smaller companies may offer more opportunities for growth and development, as well as more opportunities to take on diverse responsibilities. However, larger companies may offer more stability and resources, as well as more opportunities for upward mobility.

When evaluating a job opportunity, it's essential to consider the size of the company and how it aligns with your personal and professional goals. 

#8 Level of Autonomy and Decision-Making Authority

When considering a new company for a new opportunity, ask about the level of autonomy and decision-making authority offered in the new role. Industrial reliability engineers may prefer a job that offers more autonomy and the ability to make decisions independently, while others may prefer a more collaborative team approach.

#9 Work-Life Balance

Another topic of conversation in our daily talks with folks that are considering making a move is their concern for the level of work-life balance offered in a new job opportunity. Industrial reliability engineers are often required to work long hours and be on-call for emergencies, which can impact work-life balance.

It's essential to evaluate the company's policies and culture regarding work-life balance, as well as the expectations for the role, to ensure that it meets your needs and allows for a healthy work-life balance.

#10 Compensation

Finally, compensation is an essential consideration when looking for a new job. While money is not the only factor to consider, it's important to evaluate the compensation package offered by a company to ensure it meets your financial needs.

According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 67% of job seekers consider salary and compensation to be one of the most important factors when evaluating a new job. Additionally, it's essential to evaluate the total compensation package, including benefits, bonuses, and 401(k) options.

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding a meaningful new job in industrial reliability requires careful consideration of several factors. By evaluating these factors and staying up to date on industry trends, you can increase your chances of finding a job that meets your needs and provides long-term career satisfaction.

It’s important to remember that you’re not only vetting the job, but you’re also vetting the company you’re considering working for.   

Remember, finding a new job is a significant decision that requires careful consideration, but with the right approach, you can find a job that is fulfilling, rewarding, and aligned with your personal and professional goals.

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About the Author

Adrian has worked in the maintenance & reliability field since 2003. During that time, he has worked with manufacturing & facilities across multiple industries helping to improve their p...


About the Author

Chris Pepin is the founder of Progressive Reliability, a manufacturing talent & consulting firm. Prior to ProReli. He served as the Founder & Managing Partner at Magnanimous Consulting, ...