Automotive engineers are younger and more likely to jump jobs than their counterparts in other industries, a recent study concludes.
According to a survey by the polling firm Epic-MRA in Lansing, Mich., automotive engineers view their current positions as stepping-stones to other jobs.
The firm polled 669 engineers and computer industry workers, 200 of whom work for automakers or suppliers.
The findings suggest that the auto industry suffers a higher rate of engineer turnover than other industries. That could have important implications in an industry already struggling to fill technical jobs in a tight job market.
Fifty-two percent of the automotive engineers surveyed were fully certain or somewhat certain they will change employers during their career. By comparison, 41 percent of the nonautomotive engineers said they were likely to change employers.
Of the survey respondents, 86 percent were male, and 79 percent were married. They work an average of 48 hours a week, and more than half were younger than 40.
Kelly Services, a staffing services company based in Troy, Mich., commissioned the study. Larry Seyfarth, senior vice president and general manager of technical services at Kelly, said automotive engineers responded to the survey the way he would expect computer industry workers to respond.
'They have a free-agent mentality - a willingness to switch jobs that is more typical of [information technology] professionals. They are not your typical engineer, who tend to be very conservative, staid and steady with what they do,' he said.
Even so, job satisfaction among automotive engineers surveyed is on par with engineers surveyed from other industries. A majority of automotive respondents cited the challenge of their work and the flexibility of their jobs as the chief factors of satisfaction.
Seyfarth said he does not believe the wanderlust of auto engineers is traceable to age. Rather, it is the good job market that is encouraging them to shift jobs, he said. 'They are in more demand and they do move.'