By and Joe Opaleski

Industrial organizations return to in-person work and stability

The industrial sector drives our economy – literally.

From coordinating sophisticated supply chains to operating the day-to-day processes behind consumer durables, professionals in this industry are the sturdy foundation supporting a variety of marketplaces.

But these same professionals witnessed a tumultuous three years with supply chain disruptions, a highly competitive talent market and challenges in remote work. Now, as the talent market appears to be settling down, these trends are shaping the future:

A return to in-person work:

Throughout the last three years, many executive-level positions within industrial organizations shifted to either hybrid or remote status. Some of the more hands-on positions also shifted to remote work in 2020 and 2021, but most professionals returned to in-person work in 2022.

One common reason organizations give for being in the office is that travel requirements for important meetings or presentations are too cumbersome. The coordination it takes to fly executives into the office throughout the year isn’t worth it when most other positions within this space have already shifted to being in-person.

Another argument we’ve heard is that one-on-one mentorship between executives and their direct reports is too important to miss out on. Even if new hires can’t relocate 10 minutes away from the office, organizations increasingly favor candidates who can live close enough to utilize at least a hybrid schedule.

Stability in the talent market?

Many experts predicted an influx of job movement in the industrial talent market during 2023. So far, we’ve seen the opposite. In our career conversations with professionals in the engineering, operations and supply chain industries, most individuals who are currently in a role have no plan to leave. In fact, the most active candidates are those who have recently left their organization to pursue better opportunities.

While every individual evaluates their career based on unique circumstances, we believe the high rate of job movement this industry experienced throughout the last two years influenced a large portion of these professionals to settle into their current roles. This reads true from a hiring perspective as well. Since the talent market was red hot throughout 2021 and 2022, organizations would rather focus on staying fully staffed and developing their current teams than risk over hiring.

The takeaway:

At Charles Aris, we’ve seen a return to in-person work across functions and industries, and it’s often for the same reasons. Leadership and employee development models were designed for office environments, and both professionals and their organizations see the value in face-to-face work. This is also in line with the push for stability in the talent market. After the turbulence of 2021 and 2022, professionals are content in their positions and organizations would rather develop the right people than over hire.

Want to learn more about our Engineering, Operations & Supply Chain Practice? Contact Greg Harper at (336) 217-9123 / or Bryce Koonts at (336) 217-9137 /