2018 in 3d printing reviewed by Nick Pearce

2018 in review by director Nick Pearce

I set Alexander Daniels Global up almost four years ago now. I don’t think I can quite call myself a veteran of the industry yet, but I have watched how the industry is evolving and starting to mature. I think the word ‘mature’ is quite apt to describe how I interpreted Additive Manufacturing in 2018.

There have been a few false dawns before, led primarily by the theory that there would be a 3D Printer in every home. I still believe that will be the case.

I do envision a World where we will be able to print on-demand a spare part for our washing machine that has broken down.

Actually, our smart home, managed by Artificial Intelligence, will automatically tell our 3D Printer to print the part, it knows is about to breakdown and a Service Robot will already have been called to replace it. We won’t have to do anything and the performance of our washing machine will be seamless.

I digress a little with my view of the future, so back to why I feel 2018 saw Additive Manufacturing mature. There seemed to be a reality arising that post processing was an essential and inevitable part of the total process. While this is nothing new, it appeared like, with the proliferation of binder jetting technologies, with new introductions from companies like HP, post processing became more acceptable to achieve the desired application and required part qualities. Organisations started to talk more about production systems and not just printers. The complete manufacturing solution was described by EOS at Formnext where CEO Dr Keppler said, “It’s not just about the hardware…. <>…. knowledge of materials, software, quality and processes.”

Additive Manufacturing has been widely used in R&D within sectors like Aerospace and Medical. For an ever-increasing number of applications, it is now being used in production, but still at reasonably low volumes. However, another reason why Additive Manufacturing ‘matured’ in 2018 is big Automotive OEM’s like Daimler and VW started to talk more seriously about Additive Manufacturing for production. When Automotive gets involved, then high scale, volume production, at the lowest cost is essential. With this intent, the opportunity for Additive Manufacturing is huge both in plastics and metals.

There remain some challenges for the industry though, notably talent. I would say that given I run a recruitment company specialising in hiring talent for the industry. However, the problem remains and it is not one that can be solved by recruitment alone.

I had a conversation with a major Automotive OEM who highlighted their need to retrain at least 1000 engineers if they are to achieve their strategic objectives with additive. There has been a growth of learning and development for the industry but it remains fragmented, difficult to assess and frankly is often delivered in uninspiring formats. For the industry to really achieve it’s potential over the next decade, organisations need to invest heavily into upskilling and training and think differently about how to engage a new audience outside Additive Manufacturing.

2019 is set to be an exciting year. As we release our third annual salary survey, I remain hugely passionate about the evolution of this disruptive technology and the people working hard to change the way we design and manufacture.

I hope you enjoy reading through it and can take something useful away. As always, we welcome your feedback, so please contact me directly with any questions, comments or ideas we might want to think about for next year.

Yours Faithfully

Nick Pearce

Founder & Director

5 questions to ask before engaging with a recruiter

5 questions to ask yourself before engaging with a recruiter

The talent shortage in the 3d printing and advanced manufacturing industry leads companies to collaborate with recruitment partners in order to secure the right talent. But how do you know you’re choosing the right recruitment partner to work with?

These are 5 factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right recruitment partner for you.


This is most likely the most important qualification for a recruitment company.

Today’s workplace demands specialist skills, and recruitment companies that focus on particular skills have access to a vast pool of candidates with the most in-demand skills. The specialised recruitment firms understand your hiring needs which allows you to be confident that the candidates they present meet or exceed the requirements of the role


You can tell a lot about a recruitment partner from which companies they have worked with previously; it will help you get an idea whether the company has experience with clients of your size, type and hiring need.


A good recruiter will add value to your hiring process and handle the heavy lifting for you, while continuously keeping you up to date so they only present candidates who meet your unique needs. Take time to understand their process, and ask questions like how long it will take to have a shortlist; how many professionals will be included; and what evaluations will be performed by the recruiter.


A low internal turnover is a strong signal that the recruiters in the company are in it for the long run, and has earned a deep knowledge of the industry and the trends – crucial for being able to recruit top professionals.


You will want to partner with a recruitment company that knows the trends and recruiting issues in the industry. They should be enlightened in all aspects of the industry to be able to provide you with the best possible candidates and address the issues at hand, while guiding your HR in strategic hiring.

Let us help and guide you

At Alexander Daniels Global, we are specialized in recruitment for the additive manufacturing industry. If you have any questions or if there is anything you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help!

Recruitment Additive Manufacturing 3D printing

2017 yearly review by nick pearce

As I review the past 12 months, since we published the inaugural salary survey at the beginning of 2017, it feels as though a lot has changed in the additive manufacturing industry. The industry continues to grow but I would say that this past year it seems to have matured. The conversation has moved from 3D Printing, Prototyping and R&D to Industrial Production. This shift started in 2016 with both HP and GE Additive very vocal about their intentions, but in 2017 almost everybody I speak to is talking about the industrialisation of Additive Manufacturing.

I gave a presentation earlier this year to one of the leading Metal 3D Printer OEMs where I discussed this. A number of the key drivers I highlighted included the increase of more Integrated Solution Providers and the emergence of more Collaborations and Partnerships. I was fortunate enough to attend the first Munich Technology Conference organised by Oerlikon. They spoke passionately about the need for different stakeholders in the AM value chain to work together not against each other for true industrialisation and innovation to take hold. The deal that was struck between Oerlikon and GE Additive is one such example of this. GKN Additive emerged as a good example of an Integrated Solution Provider. A very established global engineering company with deep knowledge in aerospace and automotive, they combined their powder metallurgy experience with their process knowledge to offer contract manufacturing solution for additive.

Another topic that I have spoken a lot about is Industrie 4.0. Large OEMs in Aerospace, Automotive and Medical are not looking at the adoption of AM in isolation, they are looking at the implementation of SMART Factories. The Digital Factory of the Future as demonstrated by EOS, Daimler and Premium Aerotec, is a Data rich environment where technology is connected by Industrial IoT and driven by Artificial Intelligence. The importance of this cannot be overlooked. The revolution that is taking place is not an additive manufacturing revolution but instead is the Digital Manufacturing Revolution.

The industry continues to see high levels of investment and the emergence of new players. At Rapid in 2017 Desktop Metal launched, and further showcased new technologies at Formnext. They have received significant levels of funding from companies like GE and BMW which provides further validation for the maturity level of the industry. Markforged are another company who are expanding rapidly, following a recent influx of capital from companies including Siemens, Microsoft and Porsche.

The importance of Material Companies has increased and the role they are now playing in the industrialisation of AM is now far more critical. BASF 3D Printing Solutions recognised the importance of separating out a new business unit to focus on the market and build a deeper infrastructure to support ambitious growth. Companies like Henkel, who announced a multi-million euro investment into the development of an R&D facility focused on additive manufacturing, are taking seriously the opportunity that now exists in AM.

The industry still faces some challenges. While companies like Siemens, Autodesk and Dassault are all working towards an integrated software solution for AM, the people I speak to still identify problems with the software available. These present challenges effecting the ease with which true industrialisation can take place.

What is also evident however, is how important the role talent plays within the industry. It is becoming harder and harder to identify and engage the right professionals with experience. The pace of growth in the industry is accelerating. Companies are competing for the same talent within a limited talent pool that is not growing in line with the demands of the industry. Some skill sets such as Materials Science and R&D focused roles have seen huge levels of demand which has raised the salary levels considerably as the ‘War for Talent’ intensifies.

We have also seen this year of lot of evidence of candidates having multiple offers to consider, even as many as four, in the case of one candidate we were working with. This presents a significant challenge to businesses, but I see it as an opportunity. Money, in most cases, will not be the driver for a decision; the variety of work, intrinsic challenges, long term opportunities for progression and development, are far more sought after. Candidates will also base their decision on how they feel through the interview process. Are you open and allow the candidate to ask lots of questions? Do you provide feedback quickly after each interview? Is your process efficient? We have seen a number of examples this year where companies have lost out on their preferred candidates, simply because they delayed decision making and took too long to move through the interview process.

This year we have received twice as much data from both individual contributors and companies. It is also the second year we have collected information, so we have two data sets to analyse. It means that what follows is the most comprehensive survey of salaries in the additive manufacturing industry. It will provide you insight and information that can help shape your remuneration offerings as a company, or compare your market worth as an employee.

We are very excited for the future of the industry. As we grow as a business by doubling in size our US office, opening a new office in Munich and increasing our headcount in Barcelona, we hope we can help you to grow as well. If you are a company planning on hiring then talk to us about your plans and we can provide much more in depth advice and guidance. If you are thinking about making your next career move then likewise reach out to us confidentially and let us support you.

Yours Faithfully,

Nick Pearce

Director & Founder

Closing the 3D printing talent gap? Here's why we need a revolution

It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

closing the 3d printing additive manufacturing talent gap why we need a revolution

In an industry with severe skill shortage, as the 3D printing / Additive Manufacturing industry, does the HR organisation need a revolution?

Let’s first break down how traditional HR departments work when recruiting:

  • First, HR is approached by a department looking to open and fill a new position.
  • Secondly, HR creates a job posting online and/or hires a recruitment company to assist them.
  • Thirdly, HR waits for the talent to come to them.

Now this approach is good in industries with high unemployment rates and where companies can pick talent as easily as picking food off the shelves in the supermarket. But for the additive manufacturing industry, there is a significant problem with this model; in particular with point number three. Because what if that talent does not exist? What if that talent is not available at that specific moment? What if the available talent does not meet the often very strict requirements? Therefore HR and recruitment need a revolution.

Instead of this company-centered approach, where the objective is to fill some holes (employed in the traditional HR model), HR departments should strive towards a more talent-centered model, where the company adapts to the talent. This model focuses on continuously identifying and introducing talent to the clients, on a regular basis. And based on this talent, the company develop its organisation, opening jobs that are perfect for specific candidates. This is opposed to fluctuated work with the client, where talent is only searched for and identified when the client has a position to fill. The new model means that the client will be fed with top tier talent even if they are not currently scouting for it. This makes for a much higher degree of flexibility and success rate, as the client can choose to open a job for that specific person, to avoid the talent winding up in the tight grasp of the competitor. This is absolute key in this industry, because of the severe skill shortage.

Now you might think ‘but no matter the model, there is still a talent and experience shortage – how does any new model deal with that?’.  This new model deals with that issue as it provides an opportunity for recruiters to identify and transform talent from industries with synergies to additive manufacturing. Take for example a candidate that has years of experience with engineering and industrial manufacturing, to be discarded by a company because they absolutely need a person with additive manufacturing experience. This is a clear-cut waste of talent, that can be avoided if the clients agree to this more flexible recruitment and organisation model, and in addition provide a bit of additive manufacturing training to that candidate.

Alexander Daniels Global has invented and implemented this talent-centered model in our partnership model, because we believe this is the way to close the talent gap and to enable the fourth industrial revolution through talent.

alexander daniels global is a recruitment company specialized in additive manufacturing

At Alexander Daniels Global, we have a simple vision:
‘To enable the Industrial Revolution in Additive Manufacturing through talent.’  We support organisations in the additive manufacturing industry to achieve their strategic objectives by partnering with them to identify, attract, engage and recruit high calibre professionals globally. We also work with talented individuals to source opportunities which will add value to their career.

How will GE overcome the 3d printing skills gap?

GE’s commitment to apply the full potential of additive manufacturing technologies into the aerospace, energy and medical fields, is unquestionable and it’s not new.

Having the expertise and the resources of the world’s digital industrial company actively involved in the development of AM is undoubtedly very positive. We are definitely closer to enable the new industrial revolution!

That being said, GE will still face the same challenges than the rest of the AM industry:

  • Skills Shortage
  • Print Quality
  • Materials
  • Speed and Cost of the 3D printers
  • Applications
  • Software

Alexander Daniels Global has been +5 years helping AM companies in the US, Europe and APAC, to overcome the different challenges highlighted above.

That’s the reason why we can say that having the right talented professionals on-board is the key to succeed in additive manufacturing.

Although GE is already doing a good job on talent acquisition in other engineering fields, how could they articulate a solution to overcome this structural skills gap in Additive Manufacturing?



Taking a look at GE’s careers website, we see that they are currently recruiting professionals with Additive Manufacturing experiences for:

  • Product Management Director,
  • DMLS Machine Operators/ Engineers,
  • Materials Engineers and
  • Interns to participate in the Edison Engineering Development Program for Aero Systems/ Medical.

Let’s try to explain why the current AM skills shortage could make the talent search for these positions challenging.

Product Management Director:

GE requires a professional capable of forming and leading an emerging product incubation team for Additive Manufacturing. So, a professional with strong experience in 3D printing.

The reason behind the difficulty of hiring experienced AM professionals is simple: “In the past there was a limited access to Additive Manufacturing which means that now there are not so many professionals with AM experience suitable for senior and strategic positions”.

In addition to that, the global 3D printing industry is expected to grow from $4.1 billion in revenue in 2014 to $12.8 billion by 2018, and its worldwide revenue to exceed $21 billion by 2020.

Therefore, the whole AM industry is recruiting and GE is competing with other big/interesting AM players for a limited pool of senior AM candidates.


DMLS Operators:

The generation of DMLS Operators depends on how accessible this technology owned by EOS is and, in addition to that, the interest of professionals for AM, manufacturing and starting operating/playing with these AM systems.

GE has of course an excellent in-house training program, but does GE have access to universities/ research centers/ educational and training institutions using DMLS systems?

That’s critical for bringing professionals with already valuable expertise as DMLS Operators.

That being said, after GE acquires Arcam and Concept Laser, how easy/difficult will be for GE to have access to EOS’ technology and expertise?


Edison Engineering Development Program – Aero Systems/ Medical:

The second point highlighted above is a little bit more tricky and complicated and it requires an educational effort from the whole AM industry:

“Taking into account the limited interest of young professionals in manufacturing and their genuine interest in industries like IoT, big data, VR, drones and smart homes… How could GE engage top young professionals with additive manufacturing, the new industrial revolution and the Edison Engineering Development Progams?”

If we want to engage top talent with AM, we all should change this negative perception of manufacturing for the young workforce.

“Besides the obvious issues related to print quality, materials, software and development of new applications, GE will also find challenging to bring top young/senior Additive Manufacturing talents to achieve their ambitious AM plan”



In addition to understanding why there is a skills shortage in the AM industry, why the AM industry will keep increasing headcounts and salaries, and how all of that will affect GE Additive Manufacturing, we also think that it’s important to learn about:

  • The 3 Key Points That GE Should Focus on to Overcome any Related Issue to AM Talent
  • Practical Tips on Talent Acquisition in AM
  • Why Are Soft Skills So Important for GE Next Hires in AM?
  • The Importance of Retaining GE current 3DP Talent, or why they could lose them?
  • 2 Training Strategies to Evolve and Succeed in AM

That together with being aware of the average salaries in AM by disciplines, seniority and locations, will definitely help GE to excel in recruiting, training and retaining AM professionals.

alexander daniels global is a recruitment company specialized in additive manufacturing

At Alexander Daniels Global, we have a simple vision:
‘To enable the Industrial Revolution in Additive Manufacturing through talent.’  We support organisations in the additive manufacturing industry to achieve their strategic objectives by partnering with them to identify, attract, engage and recruit high calibre professionals globally. We also work with talented individuals to source opportunities which will add value to their career.