Engineer jobs are expected to have average growth of about 9 to 17 percent for all occupations over the 2004-14 period.
Engineering jobs have traditionally been concentrated in slow-growing manufacturing industries, in which they will continue to be needed to design, build, test, and improve manufactured products. However, increasing employment of engineers in faster growing service industries should generate most of the employment growth.
Overall, the outlook for engineering jobs is expected to be favorable because the number of engineering graduates should be in rough balance with the number of job openings over this period. However, job outlook varies greatly by specialty and you should carefully research the industries most of need of engineers.
There are many well-trained, often English-speaking engineers available around the world willing to work at much lower salaries than are U.S. engineers. The rise of the Internet has made it relatively easy for much 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, the need for onsite engineers to interact with other employees and with clients will remain.
Many 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, has had the same result.
It is important for engineers 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areas, such as advanced electronics or information technology, may find that technical knowledge can become outdated rapidly. Engineers who have not kept current in their field may find themselves passed over for promotions or vulnerable to layoffs.
The engineer jobs most in demand through 2014 will be Biomedical Engineers and Environmental Engineers. These specialties are expected to grow at a rate of 25% or more.
The engineer jobs least in demand will be Mining, Geological and Petroleum Engineers. These specialties are expected to actually decline in the number of jobs through 2014.
Here are the top five online job sites for engineer jobs, as measured by the Alexa rating (the lower the rating, the more popular the site. See our Online Job Search page for a detailed explanation of Alexa ratings.