Engineering employment outlook

The longstanding lament among engineers for many years, especially in the U.S., has been that jobs for engineers are disappearing at an alarming rate. I have personally heard many engineers say that they would do whatever they could to discourage their children from following in their engineering footsteps.

03/01/2010


The longstanding lament among engineers for many years, especially in the U.S., has been that jobs for engineers are disappearing at an alarming rate. I have personally heard many engineers say that they would do whatever they could to discourage their children from following in their engineering footsteps. It’s undeniable that job contraction among engineers has certainly been evident, and the consolidation of manufacturing companies in North America during the past two decades, as well the growth in offshoring of production activities, hasn’t helped. Still, the reality appears to be that things are not all that bad for engineering employment prospects.

I was led to look into this situation based on the regular high levels of activity evident on the Automation & Control Engineering job board on LinkedIn ( tinyurl.com/y8tckah ). This site regularly has more than 30 jobs posted at any given time and, although some are global, most are based in the U.S. Some of the more recent posts were seeking an electrical field engineer in Illinois, a process controls engineer in North Carolina, a PLC/HMI/SCADA project leader in California, and an electrical controls engineering in the Southeast U.S., just to name a few.

Checking Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2010-2011 ( tinyurl.com/ycpqx7z ) shows that engineering employment is “projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, and that overall job opportunities for engineers are expected to be good.” BLS also confirms that starting salaries for engineers remain among the highest of all college graduates.

Other data on the BLS site indicate that overall engineering employment is expected to grow by 11% between 2008 and 2018. The fastest growing engineering occupations are expected to be found in biomedical, environmental, industrial, mining/geological, nuclear, and petroleum areas.

The BLS site does acknowledge that although “engineers traditionally have been concentrated in slower growing or declining manufacturing industries,” it says that most of the increasing employment for engineers in the next decade will be in engineering, R&D, and consulting services—a large amount of which will be tied to the manufacturing industries.

“Competitive pressures and advancing technology will force companies to improve and update product designs and to optimize their manufacturing processes. Employers will rely on engineers to increase productivity and expand output of goods and services,” says the BLS report.

Control Engineering will be conducting its own research this year on career and salary issues for mechanical and process engineers as well as system integrators. Look for the results from the mechanical engineering survey in April, the integrator survey in July, and the process engineering survey in September.

david.greenfield@reedbusiness.com

 





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.