what is a maintenance engineer?
As a maintenance engineer, you apply engineering concepts to ensure the smooth running of industrial machinery and equipment. Your activities include installing, repairing and maintaining different types of equipment. Using specialised equipment, maintenance engineers monitor and diagnose machine failures. In case of breakdowns, it is your job to restore faulty equipment and ensure optimal performance.
Typically, maintenance engineers use their specialised training for strategic problem-solving and guiding technicians to repair problems in the system. Depending on your employer and company size, you are likely to deal primarily with significant installations and the maintenance of critical machinery. The rest of the time, you take on managerial tasks. However, you are expected to do hands-on work in smaller companies, like performing generalised repairs and maintenance.
A career as a maintenance engineer allows you to work in mechanical repair workshops or companies dealing with machinery and equipment maintenance. You may choose to work for consultancy companies, or you can work in-house in large factories and manufacturing plants in various industries, including the automotive, oil and gas, and electronics sectors.
Would working as a maintenance engineer suit your analytical and problem-solving skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a maintenance role.maintenance engineer roles
average salary of a maintenance engineer
According to Payscale, the average maintenance engineer salary in India is ₹309,427. In an entry-level position, your base salary starts at around ₹187,000. As you improve your skills and certifications, your salary can increase to over ₹500,000 and close to ₹800,000 with more experience. Your base salary forms most of your compensation package, but maintenance engineers can enjoy additional benefits such as healthcare, transport and housing allowances. Some employers also offer bonuses and profit sharing.
how to increase your salary as a maintenance engineer
Your compensation package depends on the company you work for and the complexity of your tasks. For instance, large manufacturing plants and factories have complex equipment and machinery that require specialised maintenance or installation. Your employer will pay more when you are handling specialist work and have to be on call anytime time of the day in case of system failure.
Your qualifications and experience level also determine your wages. Experienced maintenance engineers earn more due to their additional transferable skills and expertise in dealing with machinery faults and problems. Maintenance engineers with higher qualifications may also take up managerial roles, which pay more than technical and hands-on work.
types of maintenance engineer
Maintenance engineering spans a vast range with various areas of specialisation, including:
- mechanical maintenance engineer: as a mechanical maintenance engineer, your job involves installing and maintaining mechanical systems and equipment used in industrial, commercial and domestic environments. You focus on repairing and maintaining machines' mechanical parts, such as lubricating gears and replacing motors and pumps.
- maintenance technician: as a maintenance technician, you perform hands-on work during the maintenance and repair of machinery. That involves disassembling equipment to remove defective and damaged components and testing whether the repairs were successful.
working as a maintenance engineer
Working conditions and responsibilities for maintenance engineers vary widely depending on your job type, industry sector and specialism. However, you always benefit from familiarity with technical equipment and processes.
duties and responsibilities
Common tasks for maintenance engineers include:
- inspecting machines and equipment: before production commences, a maintenance engineer should inspect the machinery to check for any issues that could lead to a malfunction. Routine inspections ensure problems are discovered and solved on time to avoid production downtimes or delays.
- preventive maintenance: as a maintenance engineer, you carry out scheduled maintenance checks to prevent problems that hinder the proper functioning of equipment and might require the help of electronics technicians or industrial electricians. During preventive maintenance, you may replace worn-out components, change fluids, recalibrate instruments or change filters. You appreciate the importance of conducting preventive maintenance at scheduled times to ensure that worn-out parts are replaced before they expire and cause further problems.
- corrective maintenance: in case of an unexpected failure, it is your job to carry out corrective maintenance, which may include disassembling machinery to remove defective components. You conduct fault analysis to determine the cause of machine failure. You also identify the best procedure for restoring the functionality of the equipment.
- repairs: when a machine breaks down during use, your job is to troubleshoot the problem using diagnostic tools. You decide whether the damaged parts need replacements or repairs. After completing the repairs, you make the necessary upgrades to other components to improve efficiency and prevent future breakdowns.
- installing new equipment: when your employer acquires new equipment or machinery, it is your job to install them. As well as setting up the machinery, you perform the necessary checks and tests to ensure the system is in good working order.
As a maintenance engineer, your work environment depends on your industry and responsibilities. For instance, you may work in rooms that house heavy machinery and equipment in the manufacturing industry, such as CNC turners. During production, you are on call in case of a system failure or machine breakdown.
In consultancy firms and government agencies, you are more likely to work in the office drafting procedures for technicians to use in repairs and maintenance. However, you may also visit client installation sites on occasion to provide expert assistance, as well as provide first-line support and work with service desk analysts.
who are your colleagues?
In larger companies, you may work with other maintenance engineers, each with particular specialities. Where you are alone in your role, your work contacts include production engineers, machine operators and managerial or supervisory staff.
Most maintenance engineers in production facilities and manufacturing plants work 40 to 48 hours a week. While you may work the regular 9 to 5 office hours, some manufacturing plants run 24 hours a day. That means a maintenance engineer can be on call 24/7 in case of a system failure or mechanical breakdown. You may cover night and weekend shifts from time to time. Part-time opportunities are rare for maintenance engineers, but some employers hire on short-term contracts or for temporary positions. Your work often involves travelling if you work away from your client's manufacturing plant. Overseas travel is also common for maintenance engineers with expert knowledge in a particular sector.
As a maintenance engineer, you have plenty of opportunities for career progression. You can specialise in a specific sector or increase your skills to boost your career. For instance, if you are employed in the manufacturing sector, years of working in the industry give you the expert knowledge to become a specialist or technical expert. Engineering has had the highest hiring rate in India in recent years, at 31% in 2020.
Your experience also gives you a chance to become an industry consultant. Alternatively, you can become a maintenance manager and move on to operations manager or facilities manager roles. Some maintenance engineers increase their qualifications and become mechanical engineers before moving on to managerial positions.
advantages of finding a maintenance engineer job through randstad
Finding your maintenance engineer job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:
- a wide variety of training and development opportunities
- an experienced contact person to provide help if needed
- a range of opportunities in your area
- get paid on a monthly basis
- temporary and permanent contracts
Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as a maintenance engineer is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad too!
education and skills
If you want to become a maintenance engineer, relevant academic qualifications include:
- university degree: a first degree is the preferred route for most maintenance engineers. Choose a degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. Depending on your strengths and interests, you can choose to specialise at this stage in the industry of your choice. For some highly specialised technical areas of engineering, you may also benefit from a master's level qualification.
- apprenticeship: if you prefer to pursue a more hands-on route, you may also qualify through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships combine course training with on-the-job experience and can result in a B-tech degree or diploma.
skills and competencies
Experience and knowledge of machines in maintenance engineering are important. The following transferrable skills enhance your career success, too:
- leadership skills: as a maintenance engineer, you may be in charge of a technical team, and leadership skills help you integrate with other staff. Motivating team members and bringing them together to accomplish a task is useful during equipment failure. Your leadership skills enable you to manage stress levels during unfavourable conditions and promote accountability for mistakes made during inspections.
- problem-solving skills: multiple problems arise when operating equipment and machines. Despite creating procedures for dealing with problems, you cannot exhaust all possible system failure scenarios. You benefit from creative problem-solving skills when tackling issues outside the standard maintenance procedures.
- attention to detail: becoming a good maintenance engineer depends on your ability to pay attention to small details. An error or miscalculation can have serious consequences; an enthusiasm for diagnosing faults in equipment is invaluable.
- aptitude for physics: to learn how machines and equipment work, maths and physics skills are essential. Sometimes, complex calculations are required to identify faults in a system. An aptitude for physics helps you understand machines' schematics from their blueprints and plan to fix the problems.
FAQs about working as a maintenance engineer
FAQs about working as a maintenance engineer:
what makes a good maintenance engineer?
To succeed as a maintenance engineer, it is advantageous to be organised and logical during maintenance procedures. Creative problem-solving skills and attention to detail also help you to deal with issues effectively.
what qualifications do you need to become a maintenance engineer?
You can become a maintenance engineer with a university degree or diploma. You can also train through an apprenticeship.
what is a maintenance engineer?
A maintenance engineer uses engineering concepts to optimise equipment efficiency. They also maintain and inspect machines to ensure repairs are done on time.
what is the role of a maintenance engineer?
The main responsibility of a maintenance engineer is to repair equipment and machinery. They also install, maintain and troubleshoot issues that arise during equipment use.
is maintenance engineering a good career?
Becoming a maintenance engineer is an exciting career that presents you with new problems to solve daily. It can also be a well-paid profession with healthy compensation packages.
how do I apply for a maintenance engineer vacancy?
Applying for a maintenance engineer job is easy: create a Randstad profile and search our job offers for vacancies in your area. Then simply send us your CV and cover letter. Need help with your application? Check out all our job search tips here!