The demand for engineers is huge and growing, but it isn’t uniform. Overall job growth for engineering professions has been in the double digits for the last five years. In some sectors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts, that already rapid expansion will mushroom as senior engineers age out of the work force and retire. With the increasing number of engineering graduates, being informed about growth areas in STEM fields is critical to preparing for your next big leap. Here are some of the engineering professions projected to need the most support between now and 2025.
Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
While most engineering positions tend to be filled with older workers than other jobs due to the years an engineer must spend in school, the age gap is largest with naval architects and marine engineers. Nearly 30 percent of these workers are above age 55, which suggests many will likely consider retirement within the next decade. Although this sector represents a smaller total number of job openings with about 10,000 positions nationally, many of these vacancies may soon be available. As these positions offer strong job security, they could be worth a look for younger engineers.
The past five years have shown a major expansion in petroleum engineering jobs, particularly in the central and north-central parts of the country and along the Gulf Coast. Projections suggest this growth will continue or even accelerate, making petroleum engineering a hot prospect for younger engineers who want to be at the forefront of a growth industry. Because older petroleum engineers tend to retire or move on to independent consultancies, this field offers a wealth of opportunity for younger engineers and recent graduates.
An aging work force and recent declines in government spending in the aerospace sector had made aerospace engineering a less high-profile choice for recent graduates, but changes are on the horizon in this sector. An upswing in demand for drone technology, the need to maintain satellite infrastructure, and plans for significant exploration missions over the next decade are revitalizing one of the most exciting fields for engineers, one that analysts expect will need new personnel soon.
Like marine engineers, electrical engineers tend to be older than their peers in other fields, yet the demand for electrical engineering graduates has only grown over the past ten years. The gap between what’s needed and who’s available to fill these positions is large and growing wider. This field is also a varied one, offering a wide range of possibilities to younger engineers who are looking for opportunities to branch out in the future.
In an increasingly mechanized and automated world, it stands to reason that industrial engineers would be in high demand. The scale of that demand is what makes industrial engineering an exciting proposition right now and over the next five years. On average, more than three times as many industrial engineering positions are listed than are filled, according to independent surveys of national job-search sites. That differential clearly spells opportunity for engineering students who want to focus on industrial engineering.