The demand for freelance Embedded Software & Hardware Engineers has risen dramatically over the past 10 years. Daily rates have more than doubled during this period and it is now, no longer a certainty that you will even be able to find the right specialist engineers to work on-site, even if you are prepared to pay top rates.
So what’s happened?
Over the last few years Project Managers have been finding it increasingly difficult to find good specialist Software and Hardware Engineers in the freelance market. This has become a critical issue across the whole market with projects suffering delays and other complications as a result of the limited supply of highly specialist engineers. Even if you are lucky enough to find someone with the right skills and expertise, you will invariably find yourself in a battle against your competitors, chasing the same engineer for similar projects.
As a result, contractor rates have risen drastically in recent years and many of the leading freelance professionals have started looking at factors other than rate increases, to decide on which contracts they prefer to work on. The two main criteria which have emerged top of the list for engineers are ‘exciting projects’ and the ability to ‘work remotely’. Therefore, only companies offering exciting assignments on a flexible basis are likely to have a chance to compete successfully for the best talent in today’s freelance engineering market.
Over the past two years, we have seen a significant shift from ‘on-site contracting’ to ‘remote contracting’. In 2017, over 70% of our customers were insisting on contractors working on-site at least 4-days per week. Recent figures show that this figure has now dropped to less than 40% and in many cases, customers are happy for the contract engineers to work remotely, with occasional visits for critical meetings and key project milestones. As this trend continues to grow, CIS forecast that by 2022, the majority of the leading freelance (or contract) engineers will no longer be working on client site on a regular basis.
Communication, Productivity & Security
Many companies have resisted moving with the market trend for fear of issues relating to communications, productivity and security. Obviously there are many R&D Projects which must be implemented on-site for reasons of security, laboratory based technology, certain types of testing etc. However, the vast majority of Embedded Software, Firmware and Hardware Design tasks can easily be done remotely and securely, using all of today’s modern communication tools. The one thing that has become very clear over the past couple of years is that; the most successful companies delivering R&D projects effectively, are those that have embraced the idea that ‘getting the best talent remotely’ is far more important than ‘getting the best talent available to work on-site’.
So why aren’t all companies doing this?
Well, apart from a small section of projects which must be done on-site for reasons mentioned above, it appears that in many cases clients are struggling with resistance to change. Many are still using outdated policies and procedures which were designed years ago for very different times. There is also often an emotional barrier tied to the high pricing in the contract market – you will often hear project managers say “well for that price I would expect them to work on-site”, even when there is no real need for them to do so. This ceases to be an intelligent argument if the same engineer is being offered multiple opportunities for other interesting projects at the same rates, which can be done remotely. They are simply denying their projects access to the best possible talent for their project and having to deal with primary and secondary technical issues later down the line by accepting next best.
How can I begin to implement remote working?
Here at CIS we have been working hard over the past five years to get ahead of the market and come up with a range of innovative solutions in order to make it easy for companies to move in this direction, without having to make significant upfront changes. We have a range of contractor solutions from 100% on-site to 100% off site and everything in-between. Our products include:
cisXpert On-site contractors.
euroXpert Remote contractors within EU with easy access for client visits.
globalXpert For those who don’t need on-site visits and wish to benefit from lower rates.
cisOws Outsource workforce solutions for longer term R&D project cooperation.
cisVcenter Our virtual centre of excellence incorporating a range of all these products.
CIS Electronics Engineering has almost 20 years’ experience in providing leading R&D Engineers and Consultants in the Electronics and Semiconductor Markets [core markets]
Over the past 10 years CIS has invested vast resources in developing and tracking much of the best independent contract engineering talent across the globe, which has put us in a great position to continue to lead the way, in quality dependable remote contractor services long into the future.
For more information:
John Ryan: firstname.lastname@example.org
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