Hunter Hamilton
Engineering Recruiters

Hiring contract engineers

Virtually every company, in every industry, has needed contract employees at some time. For positions as wide-ranging as receptionist, marketing assistant, or corporate vice president, there are numerous reasons to consider hiring a contractor. And engineering positions are no exception.

In-demand engineers, in every discipline, from petroleum to electronics to manufacturing and software, are now finding work as contractors in a variety of capacities:

TEAM MEMBER: When hired on a short term basis to fill a designated role, a contract engineer typically fills a slot in the company’s organization chart and works alongside permanent team members as a retained resource, usually onsite, with company email access, etc.

BLENDED ROLE: The second level is a blended model that allows for outsourcing of selected tasks pertaining to specific projects and responsibilities, while working in conjunction with existing client staff. Under this model, the contract engineer becomes a resource to fill any gaps and may work on specific project based assignments.

SOLUTION PROVIDER: Finally, the third level is truly one with ala carte services. In this version, the company has specific needs and the contract engineer creates and implements targeted solutions.


According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, hiring contractors allows companies to manage their finances and adjust their workforce during times of boom or bust. Also, frequent advancements in technology allow companies to add ‘in the know’ engineering contractors to their employee mix. Many employers appreciate the ability to pay for skills they may only need for a short period of time, on a specific project.

The U.S. Small Business Association says there are several additional reasons companies turn to hiring contract engineers:

LABOR COST SAVINGS: Companies needing an engineer with a certain skill set for a specific amount of time don’t
have to pay for these skills on a full-time, permanent basis. There are added cost efficiencies realized because company benefits are not paid to contractors.

REDUCED RISK: For some companies, using contract engineers allows them to “try before they buy.” A contractor’s
abilities and fit in the organization can be evaluated on the job before an extended contract or permanent position is offered. The contract engineer also can determine whether the position is a good fit before accepting an offer.

FLEXIBLE STAFF-LEVELS: If a company has scheduling or deadline constraints, hiring a contract engineer allows it to meet that schedule and retain the ability to eliminate the role easily when there is no longer a pressing need.


Many employers find that using contract engineers on a project-specific basis is advantageous because a contractor can concentrate on project requirements and deadlines and provide better focus than in house engineers, who may be working on multiple projects at once.

Companies with just a few or even hundreds of employees can see the advantages contract engineers and technical staff offer them. Not only can contractors supplement current staff, but they bring in-demand skills, resources and insight that businesses need and many small businesses may ordinarily find beyond their scope and/or budget.

At first, some business owners, particularly those who have operated a traditional employee structure for years, may feel uncomfortable with the idea of bringing contract engineers on staff, but the many benefits of hiring contractors make it worth trying.

American Engineering Association
US Small Business Administration