Career Path Forecast
to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
employment of engineers is expected to grow about as fast as the average
for all occupations over the next decade, but growth will vary by
specialty. Biomedical engineers should experience the fastest growth,
while civil engineers should see the largest employment increase.
Overall job opportunities in engineering are expected to be good.
employment is expected to grow by 11 percent over the 2008-18 decade,
about as fast as the average for all occupations.
traditionally have been concentrated in slower growing or declining
manufacturing industries, in which they will continue to be needed to
design, build, test, and improve manufactured products. However,
increasing employment of engineers in engineering, research and
development, and consulting services industries should generate most of
the employment growth. The job outlook varies by engineering specialty,
as discussed later.
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. New technologies continue to improve the
design process, enabling engineers to produce and analyze various
product designs much more rapidly than in the past. Unlike the situation
in some other occupations, however, technological advances are not
expected to substantially limit employment opportunities in engineering,
because engineers are needed to provide the ideas that lead to improved
products and more productive processes.
continued globalization of engineering work will likely dampen domestic
employment growth to some degree. There are many well-trained, often
English-speaking, engineers available around the world who are willing
to work at much lower salaries than U.S. engineers. The rise of the
Internet has made it relatively easy for part of the engineering work
previously done by engineers in this country to be done by engineers in
other countries, a factor that will tend to hold down employment growth.
Even so, there will always be a need for onsite engineers to interact
with other employees and clients.
Overall job opportunities in engineering are expected to be good, and,
indeed, prospects will be excellent in certain specialties. In addition
to openings from job growth, many openings will be created by the need
to replace current engineers who retire; transfer to management, sales,
or other occupations; or leave engineering for other reasons.
engineers work on long-term research and development projects or in
other activities that continue even during economic slowdowns. In
industries such as electronics and aerospace, however, large cutbacks in
defense expenditures and in government funding for research and
development have resulted in significant layoffs of engineers in the
past. The trend toward contracting for engineering work with engineering
services firms, both domestic and foreign, also has made engineers more
vulnerable to layoffs during periods of lower demand.
It is important for
engineers, as it is for workers in other technical and scientific
occupations, to continue their education throughout their careers,
because much of their value to their employer depends on their knowledge
of the latest technology. Engineers in high-technology areas, such as
biotechnology or information technology, may find that their technical
knowledge will become outdated rapidly. By keeping current in their
field, engineers will be able to deliver the best solutions and greatest
value to their employers. Engineers who have not kept current in their
field may find themselves at a disadvantage when seeking promotions or
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.