2017 in Review by Director Nick Pearce
As I review the past 12 months, since we published the inaugural salary survey at the beginning of 2017, it feels as though a lot has changed in the additive manufacturing industry. The industry continues to grow but I would say that this past year it seems to have matured. The conversation has moved from 3D Printing, Prototyping and R&D to Industrial Production. This shift started in 2016 with both HP and GE Additive very vocal about their intentions, but in 2017 almost everybody I speak to is talking about the industrialisation of Additive Manufacturing.
I gave a presentation earlier this year to one of the leading Metal 3D Printer OEMs where I discussed this. A number of the key drivers I highlighted included the increase of more Integrated Solution Providers and the emergence of more Collaborations and Partnerships. I was fortunate enough to attend the first Munich Technology Conference organised by Oerlikon. They spoke passionately about the need for different stakeholders in the AM value chain to work together not against each other for true industrialisation and innovation to take hold. The deal that was struck between Oerlikon and GE Additive is one such example of this. GKN Additive emerged as a good example of an Integrated Solution Provider. A very established global engineering company with deep knowledge in aerospace and automotive, they combined their powder metallurgy experience with their process knowledge to offer contract manufacturing solution for additive.
Another topic that I have spoken a lot about is Industrie 4.0. Large OEMs in Aerospace, Automotive and Medical are not looking at the adoption of AM in isolation, they are looking at the implementation of SMART Factories. The Digital Factory of the Future as demonstrated by EOS, Daimler and Premium Aerotec, is a Data rich environment where technology is connected by Industrial IoT and driven by Artificial Intelligence. The importance of this cannot be overlooked. The revolution that is taking place is not an additive manufacturing revolution but instead is the Digital Manufacturing Revolution.
The industry continues to see high levels of investment and the emergence of new players. At Rapid in 2017 Desktop Metal launched, and further showcased new technologies at Formnext. They have received significant levels of funding from companies like GE and BMW which provides further validation for the maturity level of the industry. Markforged are another company who are expanding rapidly, following a recent influx of capital from companies including Siemens, Microsoft and Porsche.
The importance of Material Companies has increased and the role they are now playing in the industrialisation of AM is now far more critical. BASF 3D Printing Solutions recognised the importance of separating out a new business unit to focus on the market and build a deeper infrastructure to support ambitious growth. Companies like Henkel, who announced a multi-million euro investment into the development of an R&D facility focused on additive manufacturing, are taking seriously the opportunity that now exists in AM.
The industry still faces some challenges. While companies like Siemens, Autodesk and Dassault are all working towards an integrated software solution for AM, the people I speak to still identify problems with the software available. These present challenges effecting the ease with which true industrialisation can take place.
What is also evident however, is how important the role talent plays within the industry. It is becoming harder and harder to identify and engage the right professionals with experience. The pace of growth in the industry is accelerating. Companies are competing for the same talent within a limited talent pool that is not growing in line with the demands of the industry. Some skill sets such as Materials Science and R&D focused roles have seen huge levels of demand which has raised the salary levels considerably as the ‘War for Talent’ intensifies.
We have also seen this year of lot of evidence of candidates having multiple offers to consider, even as many as four, in the case of one candidate we were working with. This presents a significant challenge to businesses, but I see it as an opportunity. Money, in most cases, will not be the driver for a decision; the variety of work, intrinsic challenges, long term opportunities for progression and development, are far more sought after. Candidates will also base their decision on how they feel through the interview process. Are you open and allow the candidate to ask lots of questions? Do you provide feedback quickly after each interview? Is your process efficient? We have seen a number of examples this year where companies have lost out on their preferred candidates, simply because they delayed decision making and took too long to move through the interview process.
This year we have received twice as much data from both individual contributors and companies. It is also the second year we have collected information, so we have two data sets to analyse. It means that what follows is the most comprehensive survey of salaries in the additive manufacturing industry. It will provide you insight and information that can help shape your remuneration offerings as a company, or compare your market worth as an employee.
We are very excited for the future of the industry. As we grow as a business by doubling in size our US office, opening a new office in Munich and increasing our headcount in Barcelona, we hope we can help you to grow as well. If you are a company planning on hiring then talk to us about your plans and we can provide much more in depth advice and guidance. If you are thinking about making your next career move then likewise reach out to us confidentially and let us support you.
Director & Founder