What is the Job Growth Outlook for a Career in Engineering?

EngineeringThe recent recession has changed many things for people in engineering and technological jobs, and many may be wondering about the job growth outlook for a career in engineering. In addition, the question concerning the complexion of engineering demand differs according to who is giving the answer.

Why Are There Differing Interpretations?

Engineering is a multidisciplinary profession. In short, that means there are many types of engineering and they are very different. Whether or not a kind of engineering is in demand depends upon how people look at the profession. For example, according to Monster Career Advice, a corporate recruiter looks at what his industry needs. He is seeing a high demand for electrical engineers and physics majors who have advanced degrees in engineering. Civil engineering, however, is not a top industry need currently. Neither is chemical, mechanical or manufacturing engineering. In the guarded atmosphere of the post-recession, even aerospace engineering is not expected to show much growth in the next period. After the scale-downs and lay-offs of that economic disaster, there are a lot of engineers out of work, and in the job market, according to Stanford Rose’s Jack Smith. For the same reason, the rough economy, employers want to hire engineers with business skills and knowledge. That narrows the field considerably, but understandably, these businessmen need people who understand strategy and budgets as well as their engineering fields. Right now, there is a need for environmental engineers because of the emphasis on “green business” and global warming. Finally, from a community developer’s standpoint, the greatest need is for electrical and petroleum engineers. Colleges are seeing more people pursuing degrees in mechanical and computer engineering.

What Does the Government Say about the Job Growth Outlook for Engineering

Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about engineering comprise many pages. The figures, including median salary and job growth projection, for some of the specialties we have discussed in this article are listed below

  • Manufacturing Engineers / $51,980/ job growth projection – 5 percent
  • Industrial Engineers/ $79,340/ job growth projection – 5 percent
  • Mechanical Engineers/ $80, 580/ job growth projection – 5 percent
  • Electrical Engineers/ $89,630/ job growth projection – 4 percent
  • Aerospace Engineers/ $103,720/ job growth projection – 7 percent
  • Environmental Engineers/ $80,890/ job growth projection – 15 percent
  • Civil Engineers/ $79,340/ job growth projection – 20 percent
  • Petroleum Engineers/ $130,200/ job growth projection – 26 percent

While this list is by no means complete, it does show many kinds of engineering to be at a flat growth rate. The key to getting an engineering position in a high-growth area seems to be in specialization in education. Students should remember that the face of engineering job growth will change as the economic environment changes. The best way to hedge employment bets would be to get a solid foundation in basic engineering and a specialty, realizing that you may have to change or add specialties to stay marketable.

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The up-and-down-turns in the economy affect the demand for different kinds of engineers. There are strategies for staying marketable. People who want careers as engineers should get a good foundational engineering degree and select concentrations keeping an eye on the job growth outlook in engineering.