Alana Cumming

By Alana Cumming

20 Feb 2023

5 min read


Engineering plays a central role in creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Engineers are trained to approach problems in a systematic and analytical way, but they also need to be able to think creatively and outside the box. Without engineers, many of the innovations that we rely on today simply wouldn't exist. 


With National Engineer week coming to an end, the purpose of the week is to celebrate the contributions of engineers to society and to encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering. 


Our Built Environment specialists ensure they are experts in their niche areas to enable all our consultants to connect the best talent with the best businesses within our industry, so we take an insight into their niche areas. 


What made you become an expert in your niche area? 


Each of our consultants specialise within one of our niche areas, and each have different reasons for becoming experts within their specialisms, so we asked them what drew them to these unique areas. 


One area of focus that Harper Harrison specialises in, is the Advanced Tech Design market which includes MEP Engineering of Healthcare, Life Sciences, and Mission Critical facilities.Jake Bentwood; Principal Consultant mentions “I focused in this space as I felt that these markets were robust and as recession-proof, as they come”.He goes on to mention that the talent pool within these markets is small, niche and in demand, and so by operating in this small space, he is able to operate with an inch-deep, mile-wide approach when working in this market. 


Another area we work within is Engineering Consultancy which entails the design of buildings and infrastructure we see around us in our day-to-day life. Mike Tobin; Head of Engineering Consultancy shares that his interest in this area was down to the reality of seeing the infrastructure being built around you. 


What challenges do we face within the engineering industry? 


The demand for engineers has been steadily increasing due to various factors, including technological advancement, infrastructure development, sustainability, and environmental concerns, the growing population, and the aging workforce. 


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of engineers is projected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This is expected to result in the creation of about 55,000 new engineering jobs during this period. 


The increasing demand for engineers is expected to create numerous job opportunities and make engineering an attractive career choice for many students and professionals. So, you may be thinking, but why is this a challenge? 


Jake mentions “There is a limited pool of candidates and an ever-increasing demand for their services, bringing regular and quality talent to the table would be the main challenge”. 


Despite the obvious challenge that we mention; within each of our niche areas, this creates market-specific challenges. Charlie Sykes; Senior Consultant mentions that within the Data Centre market “Our clients are working extremely hard to build sustainable data centres across the region and the strain of this often lands with our Engineers who are tasked with designing and delivering creative and sustainable cooling solutions. The use of water-based systems is popular, but sites can’t always be handily located next to rivers or the coastline, so there is growing demand for experts in cooling across the region.” 


With every challenge, comes a solution, so although all these niche areas share in common a limited pool of candidate shortage, “having a strategic and targeted hiring process is crucial!” says Mike, and that’s why Engineers Week is an important reminder of the vital role that engineers play in shaping the world so that it can help inspire future generations to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible through engineering innovation. 


What trends and growth do we expect to see within these areas in the next few years? 


The Built Environment industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, and each of our niche areas has been driven by different trends and factors. 


Growth in the market will be in robust and niche areas which are considered mission-critical to the US industry, in particular. Jake mentions “Healthcare, Life Sciences, Data Centres, High tech Industrial & Manufacturing and Logistics spaces will see enormous growth as much of our world moves online, increases in the GIG economy, and more dependence on specific batteries for green tech, which will mean a lot more WH, Semiconductor and Logistics Centres.” So far, approx. $200 Billion has been invested across 16 states to increase US domestic manufacturing capacity with over 40 new semiconductor ecosystem projects announced around the USA. This results in a staggering 40,000 job opportunities being created within the semiconductor ecosystem as part of the new project. 


To hear more about this industry and its leaders, register your interesthere for our upcoming podcast; Adtech, Design, and Development Leaders podcast. 


Within Engineering Consultancy, Mike mentions that a factor that will considerably help the current market is Biden’s $2 Trillion plan to upgrade infrastructure and sustainable buildings. The US president began selling his proposal saying it would fix 20,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges, and that is just the beginning. Mike comments “for those not in the engineering world, my surprise was the amount of planning and services/people involved in the construction of new stuff!’" and projects like this emphasise the amount of preparation and resources that go into this industry as a whole. 


This insight into the industry and the niche areas within it shows us why Engineers Week is such an important event. It's a time to celebrate the contributions that engineers make to society and to inspire the next generation of engineers to pursue careers in this vital field. 

It’s a great time to be part of this exciting market, and so if you are considering your next role then please reach out to 


Start your search here and connect with us today and let's unlock your next opportunity or find the perfect fit for your team. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way.