2018 Engineering Career Trends

2018 Engineering Career Trends
  • Opening Intro -

    With so many engineering fields in which to choose a career from, the options can become overwhelming.

    For individuals considering a career in engineering, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on the employment outlook for engineering occupations is a useful tool to narrow down their expertise.

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Are your skills and personality a better fit as a biomedical or civil engineer? Let’s explore the occupational outlook of some of the most common fields to help decide.

Engineering Management

Engineering managers have a median pay of $134,730, which is considerably higher than the $100,790 median for all other management occupations. The engineering management field is one that is projected to exhibit modest growth during this ten year period. BLS has projected a 2 percent increase in the field, though some industries are projected to see higher growth of engineering management employment. More specifically, the employment of engineering managers in the engineering services industry is projected to grow 12 percent.

The engineering management field is one that is expected to remain competitive, so work experience or a graduate degree in engineering management can help candidates remain competitive. The top industries in which engineering managers work are:

  • Scientific research and development services
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • Manufacturing
  • Architectural and engineering services

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is a field that pays higher than the engineering industry median. The median pay is $94,210, an increase of over $3,000 above the engineering industry median. Electrical engineering is one of the largest engineering disciplines in terms of number of jobs, but is not expected to see much growth in the near future.

The number of electrical engineering jobs is only expected to increase by 1,800 over the 10 year period. Though this is modest growth, there are still expected to be a high number of job opportunities in the field. Jobs for electrical engineers typically exist in these industries:

  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
  • Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing
  • Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineers can expect lower pay than the rest of the engineering field, with a median annual wage of $91,010 which is over $7,000 lower than the median wage for the engineering field. Though pay is relatively low, civil engineering is expected to yield 8 percent growth before 2024.

This growth is likely due to the continuing need for infrastructure improvements as existing infrastructure continues to age over time. Civil engineers will also continue to play a role in the growing industry of renewable energy. Civil engineers tend to work in these industries:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • Engineering services
  • Nonresidential building construction

Biomedical Engineering

At $85,620, biomedical engineering median pay is almost $6,000 lower than the median for engineering, though the field is expected to experience the highest growth in the engineering sector. By 2024, employment in the field is expected to grow by 23 percent.

This growth can be attributed to the increasing role of new technology in the medical industry. Furthermore, the increased public awareness of medical advances has led to an increase in demand for biomedical treatments. Biomedical engineers usually hold positions in these industries:

  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
  • Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing

Mining and Geological Engineering

The median annual wage for mining and geological engineers is $93,720, which is about the same as the median pay for all engineering professions. The mining and geological engineering field is one that is projected to experience significant growth. Projections currently predict employment growth of 6 percent over the 10 year period.

Growth in this sector will be affected by recent changes in policy concerning clean air. The amount of schools that offer degree programs in mining and geological engineering is relatively low, but a degree in the field can make a candidate more attractive. Mining and geological engineering degree holders typically work in these industries:

  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Support activities for mining
  • Metal ore mining
  • Coal mining

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineering is another field that is expected to grow significantly, with a predicted 12 percent growth by 2024. Though the occupational growth is high, pay is relatively low. The median salary is slightly lower than the industry median, at $84,890.

Environmental engineers typically lead efforts to increase the efficiency of water use or manage the treatment of wastewater. Increases of pollution have contributed to the projected growth of the occupation. Environmental engineers usually have jobs in these industries:

  • Federal, state, and local governments
  • Engineering services
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting

Mechanical Engineering

The mechanical engineering occupation is set to grow by 5 percent, which is about as fast as average. Though the median pay is slightly lower than the industry median at $84,190, the highest 10 percent can earn more than $131,350.

The growth projections are expected largely because of new technology. Nanotechnology, alternative energy, and remanufacturing are all experiencing a tech boom. Mechanical engineers can expect to work in these industries:

  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing
  • Machinery manufacturing

The engineering job market as a whole is going to experience significant growth in the near future. But as with any growing industry, competitiveness will grow along with it. It will be increasingly important for potential job candidates in the engineering industry to distinguish themselves from the pack.

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