Here’s an interesting piece of data that deserves some attention. The US currently has about 1.59 million engineers (SOC 17-2000). The median wage of these workers is nearly $40 per hour, which makes engineers the seventh highest-wage occupation category in the nation, at the 3-digit SOC level. For context: at the 5-digit level there are only 40 occupations with wages over $40 per hour – see this for more. From 2001-2011, the “engineers” occupation category declined by 80,000 jobs, or 5%.
Like many other sectors it experienced big declines in the early 2000s and then from 2008-2010. Also, more people graduate with engineering degrees every year. Last year about 121,000 people completed engineering programs, which was greater than the estimated annual openings.
However, it’s also important to take note of the huge number of engineers approaching retirement. National data suggests that over 50% of the workforce is between the ages of 45 and 64, which means our nation could face huge demands for new engineers as a result of retirement.
For perspective — if just 25% of engineers between 45 and 64 retire in the next five years it will create a demand for 200,000 replacement jobs.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
The industries that employ the most engineers are engineering services, federal government, state government, research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences and local government.
Here is a quick look at the major skills sets for mechanical engineers. This data comes from O*NET and is housed within Analyst, EMSI’s labor market analysis tool.
To get more information about engineers, or to see this data for your region, please contact us. Data and analysis for this post comes from EMSI’s web-based software, designed to help professionals better understand local labor markets and economies.