Civil Engineering: A Solid Job Market

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The US engineering sector is one of the most vibrant sectors in the country with about 1.6 million jobs currently available to qualified candidates. What’s more, the number of available jobs is likely to rise as the civil engineering sector is expected to experience healthy growth in the future.

This infographic was created by Ohio University’s Online Masters in Civil Engineering program.

Civil Engineering: A Solid Job Market infographic

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The Current State of the US Engineering Job Market

With 274,000 jobs available in the civil engineering niche, civil engineers are currently the most sought after professionals in any engineering field. In comparison, the number of mechanical and industrial engineering jobs currently stands at 264,000 and 229,000 respectively. Overall, the engineering job market grew by 7% from 2010 to 2014.

Industries that Employ the Highest Number of Civil Engineers

The architectural, engineering and related services sector has employed 137,560 civil engineers accounting for 10.10% of the total employment in the engineering sector. State governments have hired 34,560 civil engineers accounting for 1.59% of sector-specific employment. The number of civil engineers working for local governments stands at 28,130 accounting for 0.53% of the total industry employment. Players in the non-residential building construction sector have employed 14,470 civil engineers or 2.10% of total industry employment. The federal executive branch is the fifth largest employer of civil engineers in the US with figures of 9,650 or 0.49% of total industry employment. In general, more than 27% of all the gainfully employed civil engineers worked in the public sector for federal, local, or state governments as of September 2014. Nevertheless, the public sector is not the best paying. This honor goes to the oil and gas extraction, specialized design services and pipeline transportation of crude oil sectors.

Civil Engineering Job Market

From January 2012 to July 2014, the civil engineering employment market registered 13,657 monthly hires. This is more than double the number of job postings, which stood at 6,025 over the same period. On the other hand, civil engineering job openings grew by 13% from October 2014 to February 2015.

States Where Demand for Civil Engineers is High

The states with the highest employment rates for civil engineers include California (38,050), Texas (23,730), Florida (12,720), Pennsylvania (12,650), and New York (13,620). In addition, the states of Washington, Alaska, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Montana have the highest concentration of civil engineering job opportunities. States, where employers pay top dollar to hire civil engineers, include Alaska, Texas, California, and Rhode Island. A closer examination of these states shows that they have substantial oil deposits, robust real estate markets, or employers with the financial muscle to pay high wages.

Civil Engineer Demographics

A civil engineer in the US earns about $41.89 per hour, which translates to a mean annual salary of $87,130. In terms of gender, men account for 87.9% of the workforce. On the ethnicity front, Caucasians constitute 75.6% of the civil engineering workforce. Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans account for 11.6%, 7.2%, and 3.8% respectively of all civil engineers. These figures show that the civil engineering sector has huge gender and ethnic imbalances. Another major challenge is an aging workforce with more than 50% of all engineers aged 45 years or older.

Future Employment Opportunities for Civil Engineers

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the civil engineering sector will grow by 20% from 2012 to 2022. Furthermore, figures from the employment consulting firm Kelly Services, Inc. show that the US will require about 250,000 engineers in the next 10 years. This includes 46,000 civil engineers who will fill positions left vacant by retirees within the same period. At the same time, civil engineers will be required to help upgrade the US’s aging infrastructure such as roads, bridges, dams, levees, and ocean embankments built to prevent storm flooding.

Growth Forecast for the Top 5 Engineering Niches through 2023

Out of all engineering occupations, the civil engineering niche will experience the highest job growth rate with employers hiring 45,745 qualified candidates through 2023. During the same period, American employers will recruit 25,485 mechanical engineers, 19,650 architectural and engineering managers, 17,660 industrial engineers, and 16,561 electrical engineers. Although the majority of civil engineers will end up at companies that undertake traditional civil engineering projects (such as building and road construction), players in the renewable energy sector will absorb a fair share of these professionals.

Conclusion

The engineering employment market in the US is growing at a fast pace and will continue to do so in the near future. Out of the available job openings, the civil engineering niche is the most vibrant and lucrative with qualified candidates earning an average of $87,130 per year. The demand for civil engineers will not relent as the relevant employers seek qualified individuals to help upgrade an aging infrastructure as well as fill job openings in the renewable energy sector.