Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about the demand for engineers in the manufacturing sector?
We’ve received this question a number of times, so we thought it deserved a blog post.
According to EMSI data, which is based on over 80 state and federal labor market sources, engineers and engineering technicians make up about 8% of the total manufacturing sector (886,000 out of 11,675,000 jobs). For the purposes of this analysis we will primarily consider the specific engineering occupations that staff manufacturing to get a sense of the trends and demand.
Data and analysis for this post comes from Analyst, EMSI’s web-based labor market analysis tool, which can be used to analyze industries and occupations for any region in the nation.
We identified 31 engineering occupations that staff manufacturing. Nine of the 31 are technician occupations that require, on average, associate’s degrees or below. The remaining jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree.
- The top engineering occupation in manufacturing is industrial engineers. There are 145,000 industrial engineer jobs in the manufacturing sector, which is 1.2% of the manufacturing workforce.
- Mechanical engineers is just behind with 114,500 jobs or 1% of the manufacturing sector.
- With 73,000 jobs in manufacturing, computer software engineers, system software is third. Also notice that with 53,000 jobs, the sixth occupation is computer software engineers, applications. That equates to 126,000 software engineer jobs in manufacturing, which speaks to the advanced, highly mechanized nature of domestic operations. Read more about these jobs here.
- The fourth occupation on the list is electrical engineers, with about 52,500 jobs in manufacturing (.5% of the total workforce).
For a more complete look at the staffing pattern, see the table below.
|SOC Code||Occupation||Employed in Industry (2011)||% of the Total Jobs in Industry (2011)|
|SOURCE: EMSI COVERED EMPLOYMENT, 2011.4|
|15-1032||Computer software engineers, systems software||73,129||0.6%|
|15-1031||Computer software engineers, applications||52,486||0.4%|
|17-2199||Engineers, all other||49,931||0.4%|
|17-3023||Electrical and electronic engineering technicians||49,737||0.4%|
|17-3026||Industrial engineering technicians||47,335||0.4%|
|17-2072||Electronics engineers, except computer||43,467||0.4%|
|17-2061||Computer hardware engineers||30,693||0.3%|
|17-3027||Mechanical engineering technicians||19,000||0.2%|
|17-3029||Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other||17,022||0.1%|
|47-2073||Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators||6,173||0.1%|
|51-8021||Stationary engineers and boiler operators||5,760||0.0%|
|17-3021||Aerospace engineering and operations technicians||5,061||0.0%|
|17-2111||Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors||4,623||0.0%|
|17-2121||Marine engineers and naval architects||1,024||0.0%|
|17-3025||Environmental engineering technicians||838||0.0%|
|17-3022||Civil engineering technicians||256||0.0%|
|27-4014||Sound engineering technicians||97||0.0%|
Overall, these 31 occupations account for nearly 3.5 million jobs. This includes workers who are employed across all industries — not just manufacturing. About 25% of all engineers work in manufacturing.
Nationwide these occupations have grown by 1.3% in the past two years and the average pay is $37.60 per hour. Most of the folks who work in this sector are men and about half are between the ages of 25-44. The other half falls in the “aging workforce” category, so some thought should be given to the number of engineers that might be retiring in the coming years.
In 2011, we estimate that there were about 115,000 openings, which is an estimate of the new positions being created and existing positions needing to be filled due to an exiting from the occupation through retirement, career change, etc..
In 2010, 243,000 people completed education and training related to these occupations (note: these completers could have also entered other occupations we are not considering in this analysis).
- Largest Employer – With 483,000 engineering jobs, California employs the most and has the second highest median earnings for engineers ($45.44 per hour). Jobs in the state increased by 1.5% since 2009. After California, Texas (315,000), New York (155,000), Michigan (143,000), Virginia (143,000), and Pennsylvania (134,000) employ the most.
- Highest Concentration – Washington’s location quotient of 1.6 indicates that it has the highest concentration of engineering workers. High LQs tend to be good indicators of specialization, so this is basically saying that Washington tends to specialize in this type of worker. There are currently 125,000 engineering jobs in the state. Average pay is about $41 per hour, and jobs increased by nearly 3% since 2009. Other states with high concentration are Colorado (1.58), Massachusetts (1.50), Virginia (1.44), Maryland (1.36), D.C. (1.36), Michigan (1.35), New Hampshire (1.35), California (1.23), Alaska (1.23), and New Mexico (1.22).
- Fastest-Growing – The little engine that could continues to be North Dakota. Over the past two years engineering occupations in the state have grown by 12.5%. Also note that North Dakota is second only to South Dakota for the lowest level of employment. So it’s small, and — like almost everything else in that state – expanding. Other states with good growth over the past two years are: Michigan (6.8%), D.C. (6.7%), Vermont (6.4%), and South Carolina (4%).
- Highest-Paying – Not surprisingly, D.C. offers the highest wages. The D.C. metro now has the highest cost of living in the U.S. and these engineering occupations average over $46 per hour in the city boundaries. Other high-paying states are California ($45), Massachusetts ($43), New Jersey ($42), Washington ($41), Virginia ($41), and Maryland ($41).
- Decline – A handful of states shed engineering jobs over the past two years. With a decline of over 2,000 jobs, Florida lost the most. After that come Kansas (-1,900) Missouri (-1,700), Nevada (-1,200), Alabama (-1,100), and Arizona (-1,000). Nevada lost the highest percentage (-6.6%).
See the table for the complete results:
|State Name||2009 Jobs||2011 Jobs||Change||% Change||2011 Median Hourly Wage||2009 National LQ|
|District of Columbia||24,781||26,448||1,667||6.73%||$46.23||1.36|
Here is a closer look at the national data for the occupations. Again, these are all occupations and not just the ones that staff manufacturing.
- Most Jobs & Most New Jobs – The largest category of jobs are computer software engineers, applications (506,000 jobs) and computer software engineers, system software (393,000 jobs). These jobs pay well — between $42 and $45 per hour as a national average, and require a bachelor’s degree. Over the past couple of years growth has been 4%, which translates to about 34,000 new jobs.
- Fastest-Growing – With 11% growth over the past two years, the fastest-growing jobs are petroleum engineers and biomedical engineers. Because the total employment size isn’t as large as the previous example, not as many jobs were actually added (about 3,400 jobs), but it is still worth noting as there appears to be substantial demand. Petroleum engineers are also the highest-paying job on the list.
- Decline – Operating engineers lost over 9,000 jobs since 2009, which is a 3% decline in the total workforce. After that electronic and electrical engineers as well as electrical and electronic engineering technicians lost about 1% of their total workforce. Civil engineering occupations also suffered a bit.
For the complete list, see the table below:
|SOC Code||Description||2009 Jobs||2011 Jobs||Change||% Change||2011 Median Hourly Wage||Education Level|
|Source: EMSI Covered Employment - 2011.4|
|15-1031||Computer software engineers, applications||486,959||506,530||19,571||4%||$42.32||Bachelor's degree|
|15-1032||Computer software engineers, systems software||378,749||392,615||13,866||4%||$45.32||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2112||Industrial engineers||205,428||213,034||7,606||4%||$36.19||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2141||Mechanical engineers||227,807||231,358||3,551||2%||$37.28||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2171||Petroleum engineers||25,203||27,893||2,690||11%||$53.78||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2199||Engineers, all other||156,791||158,604||1,813||1%||$43.27||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2061||Computer hardware engineers||64,202||65,869||1,667||3%||$47.70||Bachelor's degree|
|17-3026||Industrial engineering technicians||64,132||65,787||1,655||3%||$22.65||Associate's degree|
|17-2031||Biomedical engineers||14,517||16,156||1,639||11%||$37.92||Bachelor's degree|
|17-3029||Engineering technicians, except drafters, all other||68,047||69,418||1,371||2%||$27.94||Associate's degree|
|17-2081||Environmental engineers||49,820||50,848||1,028||2%||$36.96||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2131||Materials engineers||22,047||22,642||595||3%||$40.12||Bachelor's degree|
|41-9031||Sales engineers||70,146||70,630||484||1%||$40.45||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2011||Aerospace engineers||69,636||70,032||396||1%||$45.91||Bachelor's degree|
|17-3025||Environmental engineering technicians||20,281||20,650||369||2%||$20.63||Associate's degree|
|17-2161||Nuclear engineers||16,439||16,799||360||2%||$46.90||Bachelor's degree|
|27-4014||Sound engineering technicians||15,266||15,498||232||2%||$22.19||Postsecondary vocational award|
|17-2121||Marine engineers and naval architects||5,228||5,341||113||2%||$36.53||Bachelor's degree|
|17-3027||Mechanical engineering technicians||42,689||42,729||40||0%||$23.50||Associate's degree|
|17-2021||Agricultural engineers||2,582||2,599||17||1%||$34.76||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2111||Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors||23,654||23,523||(131)||(1%)||$35.72||Bachelor's degree|
|51-8021||Stationary engineers and boiler operators||36,693||36,547||(146)||0%||$24.54||Long-term on-the-job training|
|17-3021||Aerospace engineering and operations technicians||7,868||7,720||(148)||(2%)||$27.20||Associate's degree|
|17-2041||Chemical engineers||28,506||28,221||(285)||(1%)||$42.45||Bachelor's degree|
|11-9041||Engineering managers||174,707||174,217||(490)||0%||$56.47||Degree plus work experience|
|17-3022||Civil engineering technicians||81,375||80,870||(505)||(1%)||$22.28||Associate's degree|
|17-2051||Civil engineers||254,971||254,358||(613)||0%||$36.98||Bachelor's degree|
|17-3023||Electrical and electronic engineering technicians||151,351||150,210||(1,141)||(1%)||$26.44||Associate's degree|
|17-2071||Electrical engineers||148,853||147,396||(1,457)||(1%)||$40.27||Bachelor's degree|
|17-2072||Electronics engineers, except computer||133,541||131,921||(1,620)||(1%)||$43.33||Bachelor's degree|
|47-2073||Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators||362,151||353,091||(9,060)||(3%)||$20.44||Moderate-term on-the-job training|
We’ve seen lots of interest in the performance of the technician positions — so we’ve broken them out and included them in this analysis. Nine of the 31 occupation we selected are technicians. There are 490,000 of these jobs and all but two require associate’s degrees. The average pay is about $25 per hour. As a group, these occupations experienced no real growth over the past two years.
- Largest Employer – Electrical and electronic engineering technicians is the largest in terms of jobs (about 150,000) and has seen the steepest decline (more than 1,100 in the last two years).
- Fastest-Growing – Industrial engineering technicians gained 3% and added 1,655 jobs. Engineering technicians (except drafters) gained 1,371 jobs and is also the highest-paying job on the list.
Here is a closer look at the industries that employ these technicians. Note: This is not the complete list.
|NAICS Code||Industry||Occupation Group Jobs in Industry (2011)||% of Occupation Group in Industry (2011)||% of Total Jobs in Industry (2011)|
|SOURCE: EMSI COVERED EMPLOYMENT, 2011.4|
|911000||Federal government, civilian, except postal service||32,560||6.7%||1.4%|
|334413||Semiconductor and Related Device Manufacturing||13,708||2.8%||7.3%|
|541712||Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)||12,313||2.5%||2.8%|
|561320||Temporary Help Services||10,324||2.1%||0.5%|
|517110||Wired Telecommunications Carriers||7,895||1.6%||1.4%|
|334511||Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing||7,288||1.5%||5.0%|
|551114||Corporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices||6,857||1.4%||0.4%|
|221122||Electric Power Distribution||5,843||1.2%||2.9%|
|622110||General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||5,701||1.2%||0.1%|
|512110||Motion Picture and Video Production||5,424||1.1%||2.7%|
|334419||Other Electronic Component Manufacturing||4,294||0.9%||6.9%|
Some quick observations:
- Nearly 13% (or 61,500) of all engineering techs – not surprisingly – work in the engineering services sector.
- Nearly 10% of the testing laboratory industry is composed of engineering techs.
- Local, state and federal governments employ 110,000 engineering techs, which is 22.4% of the total engineering tech workforce.
Here is a look at the top programs that train engineering techs.
Engineering clearly offers a wide array of intriguing employment and training options in the United States. It was particularly interesting to see how many computer software engineers are being employed in domestic manufacturing. Jobs related to anything that has to do with the domestic oil and gas boom are also thriving.
Lots of data has been presented here, so as always, if you have questions, comments, or would like to dig in deeper, please let us know. Also, follow us on Twitter @DesktopEcon to stay up with our data posts.
Illustration by Mark Beauchamp.