How to overcome the biggest barriers to hiring in 3D printing



From our experience interviewing hundreds of candidates a month and by talking to our clients, there are three major barriers that stop companies from filling their vacant positions.

We outline the barriers and give you the solutions. If you want to overcome these barriers, message and let’s have a chat about your options.


#1: Lack of geographic flexibility

The first barrier is a broad lack of geographic flexibility. The additive manufacturing industry is growing tremendously, but is still rather small. Because talent is often acquired from industries with synergies to additive manufacturing, the talent is spread out across the globe. Moreover, many AM facilities are based in remote locations outside of major cities, so attracting talent to here can be very challenging.

This means that many job offers include mandatory relocation, both nationally and internationally. This is often a deal breaker – especially for professionals with families – which unfortunately causes rejection of job offers, and essentially a waste of talent.


Remote working arrangements may not be possible when it comes to intercontinental moves, but should be considered within the same country. As an example, even within the United States, where many AM facilities are located in remote areas, companies seem reluctant to offer remote working arrangements to secure the right talent. Because of the talent shortage, companies need to be more flexible if they want the best talent.

If remote working is not a possibility, companies should be ready to offer a highly attractive relocation package in which taxes, cost of living, etc., has been accounted for.


#2: Salary

Salary as a barrier to hiring is common for most industries, but what makes the 3D printing industry especially vulnerable to this subject, is its novelty. 3D printing has been around for decades, but it only saw a big boom in production and in demand for human capacity a few years ago. Thus, there is yet to be an established salary benchmark. This essentially means that many employers are throwing darts in terms of salary; they are simply not aware of what to pay their employees. This often results in undercompensating which leads to a lower offer-to-acceptance ratio.

Moreover, the talent shortage means that this industry is incestuous and often the talent moves between competitors and collaborators. Given the small size of the industry, people know each other. They often know what each company is paying its employees. This may spark an urge to a change of company with a higher compensation.


Our experience as niche recruiters in the 3D printing industry, has granted us great knowledge of how to deal with this issue as we know the market standard.

To guide employers and employees on salary norms in this young industry, we have conducted a salary benchmark study. The study was done across the world, to ensure its usefulness in all markets. The study can be downloaded, free of charge, at


#3: Required Experience

The requirement of prior experience within additive manufacturing is one of the largest issues that hiring companies are facing. The 3D printing industry only really exploded on the big markets four to five years ago. Only a handful companies had people five to ten years ago, so a limited number of professionals have more than five years’ experience in AM. This is to say, that the common 5+ years’ experience, specifically in AM, requirement is plainly unrealistic for a majority of positions posted.


One way of solving this issue, while still recruiting experienced professionals, is to look for people in industries with synergies to AM, such as robotics, lasers, and precision engineering. Once professionals are skilled in this field, the transition to AM will be minor.

As niche recruiters in 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, we fully comprehend what skills and experience professionals need in order to make a good match for an AM position.


Is your company experiencing any of these barriers to hiring? Let’s have a chat to see if we can help you break down the walls.
Message to talk about your options



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