What’s your R&D ratio of QA engineers / software engineers? The industry standard still ranges from 1/3 to 1/4.
This means that an R&D team consisting of 20 members is split to 4/5QA engineers and 16/15 software engineers.
It also means that talking knowledge, methodology and tools, we have about 15 people that master the programming language (probably more than one), the IDE, the architecture, and other relevant aspects of programming.
It also means that if a software engineer leaves the team for any reason, the group stays solid regarding the above parameters.
However, if a QA engineer leaves it will affect the team since he/she is 20-25% of the QA team (regarding a team of 4 or 5 QA engineers).
Now, when it comes to automating your QA scenarios, there are two options: either your development team does the work (which is very good but not always the case) or you have a small team of QA Automation engineers.
Knowing dozens of companies in person, I’ve never seen a company that has more QA Automation engineers than manual QA engineers which means that for a team of 15 developers/ software engineers and 5 QA engineers, a company has either 1 or 2 QA Automation engineers. The risk of an automation engineer leaving with all the knowledge is higher than a manual QA engineer leaving and as mentioned before much higher than a developer/ software engineer leaving.
Here is an option to use an expert company for this issue. The company not only has vast knowledge (you must make sure it is), but it retains your QA Automation knowledge even if having just 1 or 2 engineers.
In most cases, such a company will have a long list of customers which means:
In conclusion if you have a team of great QA automation engineers and you want to retain their knowledge, working with this expert company would be a great option.