Career Ladders & Compensation Packages – What the Talent Really Wants in 2022


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This year promises to be a challenging one for the 3D printing talent market – not because there is a job shortage, or even a talent shortage (more severe than in previous years that is) – but because there has been a shift in the power balance in the hiring market.

In a previous article, we discussed the effects of the Great Resignation on the AM hiring landscape, and revealed through our 2022 AM Salary Survey Report that despite the relative lack of growth in the AM talent market between 2020-2021 – of +20,000 professionals in North America and +0 professionals in EMEA – we saw a boom in the % increase in jobs that appeared in the market – namely an incredible +346% increase in available jobs within additive manufacturing, posted on LinkedIn, in North America and a monumental increase in available jobs by +515% in EMEA.

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are experiencing the busiest period ever in our history as demand for talent is through the roof, and hiring companies face challenges in bagging their ideal candidates. Arguably, now more than ever, it is essential that hiring companies revamp their hiring strategies to adapt to this change in the market.

So, we ask ourselves: what can employers do, and what do they need to know, to attract and retain top additive manufacturing talent in 2022?

Supply vs Demand

A reported 85% of employer respondents to our 2022 AM Salary Survey (conducted in Q4 of 2021), stated that they would be looking to add between 1-20 professionals to their team in the next 12 months (i.e., throughout 2022). An additional 15% of employer respondents claimed that they would be looking to add a further 21-50 professionals to their team. But with the relative lack of growth in the AM talent market, and 1/3 of AM talent having already changed jobs in 2021 (source: 2022 AM Salary Survey Report from Alexander Daniels Global), employers may find themselves fighting to attract professionals. Furthermore, AM talent may find that they will have multiple offers from hiring companies and will therefore be able to afford to negotiate on those offers, providing a further challenge to employers.

The 2022 AM Salary Survey Report revealed what the top in-demand roles would be over the next 12 months, with Sales forecast as the discipline to watch.

The report also revealed that demand for Software professionals is on the rise in 2022 and marketing professionals have seen an enormous increase in demand signalling a shift within the industry towards bringing software solution development in-house and finding new and innovative ways to position and market offerings – something that could be expected following the record number of mergers and acquisitions that took place in 2021.

This may further imply that for skilled Software, Marketing and Sales professionals, this is the year to consolidate your position within your business as these disciplines are becoming a fast commodity.

What The Talent Values Most

The top three motivators for talent in the AM industry have largely stayed the same, between 2020 and 2021. In 2019, ‘Career Progression’ overtook ‘Salary’ as the top motivator for AM talent to change jobs. When employees feel that they are not able to progress in their current position within a company, they are more likely to jump ship – after all, with career progression we typically expect to see increases in salary too – resulting in a win-win situation for the active jobseeker.

Interestingly enough, beyond ‘Career Progression’ and ‘Salary’, there has been a noticeable shift in sentiment towards the importance of ‘Work-Life Balance’ and ‘Work Environment / Culture’ as a motivator for changing jobs – namely, we have seen a +32% increase in the importance of ‘Work Environment / Culture’ and +15% increase in ‘Work-Life Balance’. Naturally, this shift comes on the back of the pandemic-era of working from home and signals an evolution in what job seekers are accepting from employers when it comes to their work environment.

This is particularly significant for hiring companies looking to grow their teams this year, and equally significant for professionals job seeking this year, considering how changing attitudes in the market could impact what is accepted as an attractive compensation package in 2022.

What Makes a Compensation Package Competitive?

Since 2018, when Alexander Daniels Global started tracking attitudes towards motivators for changing jobs (and likely also before that), ‘Flexible Working Hours/Work From Home’ has been voted the most desirable benefit by employees in the annual AM salary survey. For the first time, in 2021, employers have heeded the call of the talent and we now see flexible working / WFH as the number one offered benefit by employers as we step into 2022 – even if it took a pandemic to see this happen.

AM professionals now feel better able to negotiate compensation packages that include flexible working, and since employers have seen that a flexible working model on a much larger scale can still breed success, they have become more accepting of it as an addition to today’s compensation packages.

In addition, although salary is not considered a top motivator for AM talent in 2022, it is still considered a high priority, and with perception on salary competitiveness dwindling year-on-year in the market – 8% points down from 2020, and 18% points down from 2019 – salaries are still an area of weakness in the industry.

This decrease in the perception of salaries in additive manufacturing as ‘competitive’ likely comes as the saturation of the tech increases, attracting professionals from vertical markets with more established salary thresholds that may cause the pay disparity across disciplines and seniorities in AM to seem non-competitive. Furthermore, with the reported increase in advertisement of additive jobs (as discussed at the start of this article), there is increased opportunity for AM professionals to compare their own salaries to what is currently being offered elsewhere, likely breeding further discontent among the perception of salaries in AM.

An Open Invitation: Join ADG & For an Exclusive Webinar

Alexander Daniels Global, in collaboration with, will be hosting an upcoming webinar on ‘What the Talent Really Wants in 2022’ featuring data from AD Global’s 2022 AM Salary Survey Report and market data from SmarTech to give insight into how market growth will affect the 3D printing jobs market in 2022.

Join Michael Molitch-Hou, Loxley Graham and Sophie Pontoppidan on Wednesday May 25, 2022 as they dive into topics covering:

  • Intentions of Talent to Change Jobs in 2022
  • How to Attract Talent to Your Organization
  • Where to Job Hunt This Year
  • How to Manage Salary Expectations / How to Negotiate a Compensation Package in 2022

Register to join LIVE! The event will be recorded, and a copy sent to all registrants.

We look forward to seeing you for more insights on the AM talent and jobs market with Alexander Daniels Global – your 3D Printing Talent Partner – and – the Voice of 3D Printing.

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