Engineering jobs remain strong, financially lucrative
While unemployment remains high, the demand and pay for engineers--especially electrical engineers--remain high.
Engineering jobs are a hot commodity, even in the wake of the Great Recession. Demand for people who can build, engineer, and design infrastructure in major projects all over the country remains very strong.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are more than 2.3 million jobs in the architecture and engineering fields, which often work close together on numerous projects. Electrical engineers, in particular, have 148,770 jobs as of May 2010, making it one of the largest in the field. Only civil and mechanical engineers totaled more in terms of personnel (margin of error 0.4%).
The pay isn’t too bad, either. According to PayScale, the median starting pay for an entry-level worker in electrical engineering field is $60,800. Median overall pay is tied for fourth amongst all listed positions at $104,000 per year. Only aerospace, chemical, and petroleum (tops at $157,000) average more than electrical engineers.
Blue bars represent 'Starting Median Pay' - Silver bars represent 'Mid-Career Median Pay'
Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See full methodology for more.
The chart from PayScale also shows that of the top 10 college majors in terms of pay, seven of them are in the engineering field. All of the top 10 are either in math or science. With an added emphasis in recent years on math and science, especially with the U.S. test scores at an all-time low compared to the rest of the industrialized world, the people who excel in both and have a desire to join the engineering field will likely be rewarded with their hard work.
- Edited by Chris Vavra, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, www.csemag.com