Forbes offers us some tantalizing data that helps answer that question. Always a font of information for the business world, Forbes has combed labor market data and job postings to identify trends in the engineering world. Here are some of the key takeaways for your business:
- The number of engineers is growing, but so is demand – In general, the pool of engineering talent in the U.S. is growing rapidly. The number of new engineers entering the workforce annually has increased by a third since the mid-2000s, and four different specializations have seen double-digit growth (petroleum engineers, mining/geological engineers, biomedical engineers, and industrial engineers). That's promising in terms of the pool of talent available. But bear in mind that these sectors' growth is fueled in part by increased demand, so competition for the best engineers in these fields will still be fierce.
- Some types of engineering face looming skill shortages – A number of engineering sectors have an older workforce, which means that retirement over the coming ten years will deplete the pool of the most experienced workers. This is a particular problem in two aging sectors, petroleum and industrial engineering, despite the growth mentioned above; these are among the most in-demand specializations and over a fourth of the engineers in both fields are 55 or older.
- Others have an influx of young talent – Perhaps unsurprisingly, computer hardware engineering has plenty of young talent coming in, with a young workforce overall. Agricultural engineering is the same.
- Employers have a hard time matching the right engineers to their openings – One fact looming behind that data is particularly relevant to businesses: growth of engineering fields is uneven, and the fastest growing fields (like petroleum engineering) feature disproportionately high salaries – meaning that companies are still fighting for the best talent.
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