AMS Spring 2023

‘What Does the Talent Want? – Talent Market Insights’


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Attracting the Right Talent Never Looked So Simple

If you thought salary was the only thing winning you the best talent on the market, think again. Alexander Daniels Global released their annual Salary Survey report in February of this year, with insights into salary trends, hiring trends and talent market insights, all compiled into a FREE downloadable PDF document for candidates and employers globally.

Compared with other engineering industries, additive manufacturing suffers with a talent scarcity, which leads us to wonder – how can additive manufacturing employers not just attract, but retain the most talented people? To answer that question, we must explore the main motivators for employees to change jobs along with the benefits, besides salary, that employees value the most.

Using data revealed in the 2021 Additive Manufacturing Salary Survey report, we can learn a great deal about what motivates the talent in the additive and 3D printing industry.

Motivations for Changing Jobs

In reality, salary is still a highly important factor for the talent in the market. However, compared with the 75% of respondents who deemed it the biggest motivator for them in 2019, in 2021 we learned that now only 66% of people value salary as their biggest motivator for changing jobs. That’s a 9% decrease in the importance of salary to our talent.

Taking its place as the most valued motivator for a job change, was career progression, with 74% of people valuing it as their biggest motivator for changing jobs. Whilst salary is still an important factor for attracting AM talent to your business, we start to see the importance placed on other factors for acquiring, or retaining, great 3D printing talent.

By looking at the numbers in the graphic above, we start to see other factors valued by additive manufacturing talent when evaluating whether or not to change job. We see importance placed on new challenges, work environment/culture, the chance to work with newer/developing technologies, relocation and commute and other social benefits.

Notable variations in the data to mention, when compared with the results of the 2019 Salary Survey Report, is the 23% increase on the importance of relocation/commute, and the 7% increase on the importance of the work environment/culture.

These notable changes from 2019 can be attributed to the benefits felt by employees following the past 15+ months of working from home. As we come out on the other side of the pandemic, we notice the debate taking place surrounding how/when we should return to office working.

Moreover, the increase in the importance put on work environment and culture, can be attributed to the shift in company cultures and the ability (or inability) to maintain employee morale and culture online throughout the months of working from home.

Looking to the future, it will be interesting to see what the report for 2022 will reveal about the sentiments of the talent in the industry.

Which Benefits Does the Talent Value the Most?

Employers typically offer benefits to a remuneration package in order to attract and win the top talent on the market. According to the Alexander Daniels Global Salary Survey report, these are the 3 most valued benefits by AM talent, and the 3 most commonly offered benefits from AM employers:

Most Valued Benefits by Employees:

  • Flexible Working Hours / Working from Home
  • Private Healthcare & Insurance / 401K
  • Stock Options / Equity

Most Commonly Offered Benefits by Employers:

  • Paid Sick Days
  • Private Healthcare & Insurance / 401K
  • Flexible Working Hours / Working from Home

Although we see some overlap in what the talent desires and what employers offer, we can also gain a more comprehensive overview on this topic by referring to the graph below.

Here we can see that the talent tends to value benefits which support and allow them to maintain a positive quality of life alongside their work – from benefits that support healthcare and food to childcare and schedules that work around their private lives.

Salary Competitiveness

While the importance of salary as a motivator is decreasing, it remains the second highest motivator to change jobs. Therefore, it is worth looking to evaluate the general perception of salaries in the AM industry. The 2021 Salary Survey report also covers this topic.

From the graph below, we are able to see what the talent market thinks about the salaries in the industry. A notable 40% of the people surveyed believe that they are not being compensated fairly, which is a significant 9% more than in the previous year.

Again, this could be attributed to the uncertainty in 2020 following lockdowns and closures due to

Echoing this result, was the response to the questions asked on whether the talent considered salaries in the additive industry to be competitive or non-competitive. Whilst 29% of survey respondents deemed AM salaries competitive in comparison to other industries, the amount of people who perceive salaries to be non-competitive is increasing, indicating a trend of increased dissatisfaction with salaries in the industry.

Namely, 20% of professionals in 2020 thought AM salaries to be non-competitive, compared to the 14% who said the same in 2019. Furthermore, there has been a 23% decrease, from 2019 to 2020, in the number of professionals who perceive salaries to be competitive.

These results are likely due to the fact that as additive manufacturing technologies become more widely adopted, personnel costs decrease to levels more akin to other similar industries.


With the insights included in the 2021 Additive Manufacturing Salary Survey report from Alexander Daniels Global, you can start to build a comprehensive talent strategy to push your organization into the next year.

Whether to revamp your remuneration packages or to find new ways of increasing employee retention and engagement, knowing what the talent wants will support your efforts.

You can still download your FREE copy of the 2021 Salary Survey by clicking this link:

And if you’re looking to hire talent with specialized skills in additive manufacturing and 3D printing, get in contact with the dedicated consultants at Alexander Daniels Global – the industry’s premium additive manufacturing recruitment company.

You can learn more about what it’s like to work with an additive manufacturing recruitment company by clicking here:

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