Solving the Engineer Shortage: 5 Tips for Hiring in the Auto Industry

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

August 29 2019

Several specialized industries are facing a talent shortage, but nowhere is this more obvious than the engineer skills shortage in the automotive industry. Manufacturers all over the world are struggling to find engineers, and 98% agree that their business will suffer if they aren’t able to secure top talent before the competition. But with fewer people interested in STEM careers, employers need to get smart about how they recruit, hire, and retain automotive talent.

1. Recruit Across Multiple Channels

Most employers today know that job ads are no longer “one and done.” Casting a wide net across multiple job sites can net you more candidates, but websites like Indeed are only one component of the equation. Your next employee could come from one of several channels. Advertise openings on social media and offer incentives to your employees for referrals. The more avenues you open to potential candidates, the more talent you’ll have to choose from. Don’t forget the value of your own team⁠—offer referral bonuses to incentivize  current engineers to refer former colleagues.


2. Partner with a University

Partnering with universities and colleges can give you a recruitment edge over your competition. By partnering with the programs that train engineers and developers, you can hire from the pool of new graduates, ripe with fresh skills to mitigate the engineer skills shortage. This gives you direct access to the talent pipeline. Icahn Automotive, for example, recently launched a Race to 2026 program. This program invests in and supports future automotive technicians by partnering with schools like Lincoln Tech and the Universal Tech Institute to provide scholarships, hands-on learning, and job placement. 

If you’re having trouble recruiting advanced talent, consider investing professional development resources into your existing team; hire an outside company or program to come in and train your engineers, who can then move into more advanced roles.


3. Consider Non-Traditional Candidates

Many people in the industry believe that a master’s degree from a traditional university is the only way to get into engineering. This is not the case. Plenty of candidates get their start in night classes, community colleges, and certification programs. Engineers of all skillsets can come from a variety of different avenues. Don’t throw out a resume just because a candidate doesn’t possess a degree; determine their aptitude for the position based on their skills, experience, and work ethic.

4. Plan for Retirement

It’s estimated the industry will soon lose 2.69 million engineers to retirement, but there won’t be enough talent to replace them. Having a clear path of succession keeps things running smoothly even after star workers depart. If you have engineers that will be retiring in the next few years, plan on recruiting their successors now. In today’s tight labor market, you’ll need time to fill the position and time for your new talent to receive training. As your employees look forward to the next chapter of their lives, you should be looking for the person who will fill the shoes they’ve left behind. 


5. Do Your Due Diligence

Running a background check protects your business, your staff, and your customers. It can also save you money down the line. Replacing a bad hire is costly. Using an experienced pre-employment background screening provider to complete an employment or education verification, you can be sure that your applicant has the credentials, skills, and experience they claim to, rather than finding out after the ink has dried on their employment offer. Some employers also like to perform reference checks on their candidates, which provides insight into their personality and work ethic. With an engineer skills shortage and a high demand for talent, it’s tempting for employers to take the first qualified candidate they find. But screening is an important step in any hiring process.


Whichever background check criteria you choose, always be sure that you’re partnering with PBSA-accredited experts to safely vet and screen your candidates. The automotive industry and its needs are changing rapidly with the advent of new technology; choose a screening partner who knows the
automotive industry.



About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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