The author enjoys researching the job market to report on the latest salaries, opportunities, and employment trends.
Engineering Jobs of the Future
Engineers apply theoretical knowledge of math and the physical sciences to create practical solutions for everyday problems. For example, they can plan roads and bridges, create new technology, design aircraft, or develop more efficient methods for extracting oil.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor data released in 2020, the total number of engineers in the USA will increase by 85,000 from 1.78 million to 1.86 million from 2018 to 2028. This represents a change of 4.8%. The growth rate for all jobs will be 5.2% for the same period, an increase of 8.4 million jobs from 161.03 million to 169.43 million.
The following is a list of the top 10 engineering disciplines that will grow the most in terms of available jobs, arranged in descending order. The figures in parentheses after the job titles are the projected number of new jobs. Employment figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
1. Industrial Engineers (23,800)
Industrial engineers develop systems to make industrial processes more efficient and profitable. These include management control systems, distribution services, and job evaluation programs. Health and safety engineers ensure the safety of workers and machinery by developing injury prevention procedures and loss prevention controls.
- They will gain 23,800 new jobs, increasing from 284,600 to 308,400 or 8.3%.
- Transportation equipment manufacturing will add the most jobs at 7,900 or 15.3%.
- Engineering services will increase by 4,600 jobs or 33.4 percent.
2. Civil Engineers (20,500)
Civil engineers plan and oversee the development of infrastructure projects such as airports, freeways, bridges, sewer systems, government centers, and dams.
- They will receive 20,500 jobs, an increase of 6.3% from 326,800 to 347,300.
- Engineering services will deliver most of the opportunities with about 10,800 positions, an increase of 6.7%.
- Nonresidential building construction will offer 2,300 new jobs for an increase of 12.4%.
3. Mechanical Engineers (12,800)
Mechanical engineers design mechanical devices such as car engines, power plants, machine tools, and ventilation equipment.
- Jobs will grow by 12,800, or from 312,900 to 325,700, which is an increase of 4.1%.
- Engineering services will provide about 3,600 new jobs for an increase of 6.7%,
- This is followed by motor vehicle parts manufacturing with 3,000 jobs or 24.5%.
4. Electrical Engineers (9,200)
Electrical engineers develop electrical equipment such as power systems, aircraft control systems, and building wiring. This category does not include computer hardware engineers.
- They will grow from 191,900 to 201,100, which is equal to 9,200 new positions or 4.8%.
- Engineering services bring 6,500 jobs or 17.4%.
- Computer systems design and related services are next with 1,800 jobs or 24.3%.
5. Computer Hardware Engineers (4,000)
Computer hardware engineers research and develop computer systems' physical components, including circuit boards, chips, keyboards, and controllers.
- They will add 4,000 jobs to grow by 6.1% from 64,400 to 68,400.
- Computer systems design and related services will grow by 4,000 jobs or 24.3%.
- Next is research and development in physical, engineering, and life science with an increase of 400 jobs or 6.4%.
6. Environmental Engineers (2,900)
Environmental engineers use chemistry and biology to manage environmental issues such as water and air pollution, land resources, recycling, public health, and sustainability.
- Positions will grow from 55,400 to 58,300, an increase of 2,900 or 5.1%.
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services will see an increase of 1,800 jobs or 15.4%.
- This is followed by local government, excluding hospitals and education, with 300 jobs or 5.6%.
7. Chemical Engineers (2,100)
Chemical engineers rely on the scientific principles in chemistry, physics, math, and biology to work with the chemicals in fuel, food, drugs, and other products.
- The profession will grow by 2,100 jobs or 6.3% from 33,900 to 36,000.
- Chemical manufacturing will have the most job increases at 800 or 8.2 percent.
- Engineering services will add 500 jobs or 17.4 percent.
8. Health and Safety Engineers (1,400)
Petroleum engineers create systems and equipment for extracting oil and gas from under the earth. They also develop methods for increasing recovery and reducing the costs of production. This category does not include mining safety and engineers and inspectors.
- Their positions will increase by 5.1% or 5,100 jobs, which is from 27,000 to 28,400.
- Non-residential building construction will provide the greatest increase at 200 jobs or 12.4%.
- Engineering services come next with 200 jobs or 6.7%.
9. Aerospace Engineers (1,100)
Aerospace engineers design vehicles and devices that travel through air and space such as airplanes, helicopters, rockets, and missiles.
- Jobs will grow by 1,100 or 1.1% from 67,200 to 68,300.
- Engineering services will add 700 jobs, which represents 6.7%.
- Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences will grow by 400 or 6.4%.
10. Marine Engineers and Naval Architects (1,000)
Marine engineers and naval architects design, construct, and maintain naval vessels that range from submarines to passenger ferries. Marine engineers also plan and build internal ship systems such as population, steering, refrigeration, and electrical. Naval architects care for the overall ship design, such as the structure, form, and hull.
- Jobs will increase by 1,000 or 1 percent from 11,700 to 12,700.
- Engineering services will show an increase of 500 jobs or 17.4%.
- Other professional, scientific, and technical services will increase by 300 jobs or 29.7 percent.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Which engineering field will have maximum growth in 2024?
Answer: In terms of percentage, biomedical engineering will increase by nearly 25 percent from 2014 to 2024 but that only amounts to 5,100 positions. In absolute numbers, civil engineering will add 23,600 jobs during the same period but this only represents an increase of 8.4 percent.
Question: What is the job growth for automotive engineers?
Answer: The Dako Group sees job growth for automotive engineers growing at 5 percent until 2022, which is lower than average.
Question: What is the job growth of petroleum engineers?
Answer: The projected growth from 2018 to 2028 is three percent.
Question: What is the job growth for computer science engineering?
Answer: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for computer science engineers from 2016 to 2026 is predicted to be five percent or an additional 4,000 jobs.
Question: What will the growth rates be for Materials Science and Engineering?
Answer: Materials engineers will show little to no growth in jobs from 2018 to 2028.
Question: Can one enroll in undergraduate engineering if one has finished a bachelor's degree in another field?
Answer: Yes, as long as you meet the prerequisites for the engineering course of study.
© 2012 Aurelio Locsin
AHAK on August 26, 2019:
Which state has most demand for Mechanical Engineers?
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2019:
We have many engineers living here in Houston due to the petrochemical industries based here. Of course, there are a good many others as well. Children of today have many choices when it comes to careers. They are not as stereotyped as it was when I was a child.
Muhammad Raheel on September 09, 2017:
Petroleum is the best job
Madhumita on August 02, 2017:
What about Biotechnology Engineering?
mintlysocial on December 21, 2016:
The engineers are really great. I didnt even think about it
mintlysocial on December 19, 2016:
. Data analysts will be in demand.
According to the report, data analysts will become increasingly more important in all industries by 2020.
Survey respondents said they expect to have a greater demand for data analysts because they will need help making sense of all of the data generated by technological disruptions.
2. In fact, computer and mathematical jobs as a whole will also continue to get a boost.
Jobs that fall under the computer and mathematical occupations will grow.
These occupations include computer programmers, software developers, information security analysts, and more.
3. Architects and engineering jobs will remain stable.
During the next four years, the demand for those skilled in architecture and engineering will continue to increase.
Specifically, the report states there will be growth for engineers focused on biochemicals, nanotechnology, robotics, and materials.
By 2020, 2 million jobs will be created worldwide that fall under computer and mathematical and architecture and engineering related fields, according to the report.
4. More specialized sales people will also be needed.
As technological advancements continue to disrupt industries, there will be a growing need for specialized sales people who can explain the company's offerings to a wide range of clients, including businesses, governments, consumers, as well as to new clients that the company has never worked with before.
For example, as content is increasingly consumed on mobile, a digital media company would want to hire sales people who are knowledgeable with the ins and outs of mobile advertising.
5. Senior managers will be needed in industries across the board to lead companies through periods of transformations.
Industries ripe for disruption will also need a new type of senior manager to help companies navigate the rough waters of change, the report states.
Industries that will need these new type of senior managers include media, entertainment, and information, according to the report.
6. Product designers aren't going anywhere.
One of the top skills that will be in demand by 2020 is creativity, according to the report. This will occur because while a lot of monotonous jobs can be automated, creative jobs still require a human.
One occupation survey respondents said will be increasingly needed with this skillset will be designers, specifically commercial and industrial designers.
These are the people that design and develop products like cars, appliances, gadgets, and other manufactured goods.
7. Human resources and organizational development specialists will also be needed to help reskill workers.
While technological and socio-economic changes will cause some jobs to disappear completely, there will also be a new jobs created and people needed to fill them.
One way companies are planning on dealing with finding the talent needed for new jobs is by training existing employees with new skill sets.
In fact, according to the report, 65% of respondents said that they are investing in reskilling current employees.
So development specialists and human resource professionals will be needed not only for hiring in a competitive market, but they will also be needed to help employees develop new skill sets.
8. Demand for regulatory and government relations experts will continue to increase as companies embrace new technologies.
As companies adopt and develop emerging technologies, they will also be looking to hire those familiar with how to navigate the legal side of things.
For example, as traditional automakers and tech companies both develop driverless cars, they are also hiring people to understand the relevant laws and to work with government regulators in figuring out the best way to implement the technology.
email@example.com on December 19, 2016:
Not pre-med. Not business. Not computer science. The most popular college major choice for high school seniors surveyed by CareerBuilder---the majority of whom already have a career in mind---is engineering.
We can debate how many of these students will stick with engineering when they get their first homework assignments in college. But let's assume most of them don't move to less rigorous majors. Which engineering field should they choose? What are the most in-demand engineering jobs in the U.S. based on job growth, hires, and job posting activity? And which ones have the oldest workforces that will need to be replaced sometime in the next five to 10 years?
To answer these questions, we looked at labor market data and job postings analytics from EMSI for all 18 engineering occupations classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and all eight engineering technicians occupations (which are primarily middle-skill positions). Both categories, despite the difference in educational requirements and median pay, are adding a bunch of jobs post-recession and are key STEM occupation groups. But they tell a different story when comparing job postings from employers and hiring that's taken place.
First, a few big-picture data trends:
The U.S. has approximately 1.6 million engineering jobs that pay $42 per hour in median wages. Civil engineers account for the most jobs of any engineering field (274,000 in 2014), followed closely by mechanical engineers (264,000) and industrial engineers (229,000). Those three engineering jobs, plus electrical engineers and electronics engineers, make up two-thirds of the American engineering workforce.
Tamara Wilhite from Fort Worth, Texas on June 14, 2013:
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers' salary report just came out - and petroleum engineers are receiving the highest starting salaries by far, in the 80,000 range to start. This is in part due to the high demand relative to the few graduates in the field.
D. Wilson on April 05, 2012:
Mining makes all of these jobs possible. How can you leave a them off the list. When most are nearing retirement.
Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on March 16, 2012:
Your son has great job prospects, tammyswallow.
Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on March 16, 2012:
I hope you're finding good job prospects.
Tammy from North Carolina on March 15, 2012:
Great Hub! I am sharing this with my son who is currently in college majoring in mechanical engineering. Well written and researched.
Kristine Manley from Atlanta, GA on March 15, 2012:
Thanks for highlighting Engineers. I have my B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Great Hub. Voted up!
Tams R from Missouri on February 02, 2012:
I never realized there were so many engineers. It's amazing what it takes to run a world. Useful hub.