New Outlook for Engineering Jobs (& What It Means for Hiring Managers)
The rise in demand for engineers needed to manage emerging technologies, coupled with the lack of engineers available to fill the widening gap, is transforming the landscape of engineering jobs. And with change comes new challenges, which is certainly true for hiring managers in the engineering space.
In fact, the uptick of technological innovation has led to greater (and more complex) obstacles for engineering hiring managers and fiercer competition than ever before.
Employment Change for Engineering Occupations
Engineering job opportunities are rapidly growing, diversifying, and increasing in specialization. Because of the snowballing demand for engineers, the unemployment rate across the breadth of engineering disciplines is much lower than the national average.
What’s more, according to a recent career outlook conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 140,000 new engineering jobs are expected to be added to the market over the next five years. Employment opportunities for civil, mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineers, in particular, are projected to skyrocket by 2026.
In fact, within the next five years, the BLS forecasts that there will be 32,200 new civil engineering jobs, 25,300 more mechanical engineering jobs, 25,100 additional industrial engineering positions, and 16,200 new jobs for electrical engineers. Engineers in the nuclear, mining and geological, materials, and agricultural engineering professions are expected to experience the least amount of job growth by 2026. But across the board, no decline in new employment opportunities is foreseen in any engineering field despite previous BLS projections.
Another noteworthy change is that the employment of environmental engineers and environmental engineering technicians is anticipated to climb 9% and 8% respectively by 2021 according to the Department of Labor (DOL). This comes as no surprise considering concerns about pollution, industrial wastewater quality, waste disposal, and overall public health and safety are mounting.
New Challenges for Engineering Hiring Managers
Locking down an engineer who stays up to date on new and emerging technologies and has a diversity of skill sets is becoming increasingly challenging for hiring managers today. A recent finding suggests that it takes, on average, 2.6 months to fill a non-executive engineering position and 5 months or more to hunt down executives and C-suite engineers.
An aging workforce, fewer engineering graduates, and the rapid rate of innovation and technological advancement are the three primary factors amplifying the present challenge for hiring managers and decision-makers looking for engineers with enough experience to thrive in traditional roles, as well as in new and developing positions.
Impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution
We’re in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution and job opportunities that capitalize on emerging technologies are attracting more and more engineers.
Significant breakthrough technologies that are rapidly advancing and driving demand for talented engineers include:
- Robotics and Automation
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Quantum computing
- Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
- Fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G)
- Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing
- Fully autonomous vehicles
In fact, a recent survey distributed to readers of MachineDesign found that the three most sought out engineering specialists today are electromechanics, software, and mechanical design engineers. The report attributes this new hiring trend to the continuous advancement of IoT systems, electromechanics, 3D printing, and robotics.
Showing no signs of slowing down, these new technological developments are projected to escalate in importance throughout most industry verticals in the near future and well beyond.
Changing Naming Conventions for Engineering Jobs
Another notable challenge for hiring managers is the increase in complexity and evolution of engineering roles, which has led to less consistent and ever-changing job titles. For example, both a mechanical engineer and an automotive manufacturer could have the title Platform Manager, but this specific position may be missing from some engineering data and sourcing platforms out there today.
The Rise in Hiring Partnerships
Because of the changing landscape of engineering jobs and the rapid technological advancements across industry sectors, more and more engineering firms and hiring managers are in search of ways to improve and streamline the process of finding top talent.
How are you planning to tackle new hiring challenges in order to attract, select, and engage exceptional engineering talent?