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Engineering demand in N.America?

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  • Engineering demand in N.America?

    Hello all,

    I am interested in knowing the demand of following engineering fields in Canada and since my understanding is that not many Canadians are on this board, I would appreciate American stats since Canada is the same.

    . Electrical Engineering.
    . Industrial Engineering.
    . Civil Engineering.

    I am currently studying Electrical but find it too complex and the amount of electrical engineers scare me since I don't want to end up in a saturated job market.

    Industrial on the other hand seems attractive but it is too dependant on the manufacturing sector and it seems that the job oppurtunities are basically limited to Industrial or Manufacturing engineering only.

    Civil is something I like. I like the job description, doesn't seem too complex and I will have many types of engineering fields to look into for work purposes. Also, I will be able to get Land surveying certificate upon graduation and the geomatics industry is rapidly expanding. The only thing I don't know is the job demand and future outlook.

    Please tell me the advantages/disadvantages of the 3 engineerings mentioned and the future outlook and the average salaries.

    Thank you.
    You only have one life...

    Make wise decisions and live freely.

  • #2
    Look into becoming a Farrier.

    Excellent pay, your own hours, high demand.


    • #3
      Hi. I have a good friend working in the electrical engineering field in Canada, so I might be able to help you a bit with your question, especially since we actually talk about job prospects quite a bit.

      My buddy works for the Government of Canada as an electrical engineer. He says he would rather move into the private sector (more because he wants to leave Edmonton and move to Vancouver or Seattle), but the demand is not there and his job is ďstableĒ for now. I use quotation marks because some of his colleagues were laid-off (which is almost unheard of in a civil service job) and he says they are expecting a few more. But he is not all that concerned about losing his job.

      All other engineers I know who have worked for private firms have been laid-off at one time or another.

      He forecasts that demand will not be all that high for the foreseeable future and that a lot of private firms (and this is also true in the US) are outsourcing their engineering units to other countries like India and the Philippines, where labor costs are infinitesimally lower compared to North America.

      Also, remember that prospects vary from place to place, really. Vancouver is not doing well, but Alberta is booming, especially in petroleum engineering. Toronto is doing so-so. And if you want to move to Montreal, you have to speak French.

      In terms of salaries, in Canada, itís generally better to be an engineer for the Government (and I wonít go into what he makes, but he does pretty well) because they usually start off higher. In the US, itís the opposite and private firms pay much more. Actually, he was telling me that two engineering colleagues of his who left the Government to work in the private sector regretted their moves because the salaries were actually lower and they were working a lot longer hours.

      Remember, the engineering boom is pretty much over in North America. Itís nothing compared to how it was, say, five years ago. When I was in college (waaay back when), I was considering switching into engineering because the prospects and pay were unbeatable. Itís not the case today and the demand just isnít there. Starting salaries have gone down too.

      Bottom line, if you want to get an engineering job in Canada, I would consider petroleum and look in Edmonton and especially Calgary. Low cost of living in both cities, taxes are the lowest in the country, they are clean and the job prospects are better there.

      Where would you be moving from?


      • #4
        Hello aic1985, The jobs in engineering here are not much, My brother is doing Aerospace Engineering but he has heard from alot of people that finding a job in that field is rare. Also he needs security clearence to get in, which is also hard since he is from Pakistan. I don't know about Canada though, but over here the companies will profile you if your from out of the country, and probably pick someone over you. As for my brother he is going to Apply for a job in NASA or Boeing or Lockheed Martin.

        ***My Blog***


        • #5
          What is farrier? From what I know, it is the art of putting horse shoes on horses. If that is the case, Jeff, I would like to do something more up-to-date and technical.

          iceman and PIAA310, thank you for input on the demands. Well, I was browsing this Canadian govt. job future site and it gave forecast for 2007 according to which, Mechanical had a good rating, while Electrical also had good but it stated that the electronics/electrical product market was already saturated and it also provided good rating for civil engineers.

          So, I guess I would see how results of my current courses turn out or else, after this semester, I would switch into Civil.

          Iceman, chemical (petroleum) engineering was something I was looking into but PIAA310 provided a good point that just like in aerospace, chemical industry especially high posts, are limited to stereotypical worker of pure White descent. I know a Iranian friend of mines whose dad was a PHD in chemistry and was fired from a leading chemical company in Canada a few days after 9/11 while that company was still making profits.
          You only have one life...

          Make wise decisions and live freely.


          • #6
            Hi. I'm currently studying in Civil Engineering and I find it really interesting. It puts you away from those abstract and complex theories of Electrical or Mechanical, and back to more basic laws of physics and chemistry. Civil is in itself a very vast field and divides into many different branches, like Structural, Transportation, Environmental, Geotechnical, etc.

            I don't know too well about the job market out there, but from what I heard, Civil jobs are out there, but they are sort of "hidden", so you might need to establish more connections to get yourself to the jobs. As for the Electricals and Mechanicals, well the jobs are everywhere, but so as the engineers, so I think it's not as easy to find a job as it was say a couple of years back (when IT and all were still booming).

            Then there's also Mining and Metallurgical Engineering. There's not a lot of people in these fields, a lot of companies give money to these programs as they need the people, so you almost get paid to study (bursaries, scholarships,....) and many jobs await the graduates. The only thing you have to like to work in mines and all to do this, because they are really like "apart" from the rest of the Engineering.

            Just my $0.02, hope this helps.


            • #7
              What is your background? And how do you know these posts are limited to just white people? A lot of people of Indian decent are working as engineers in petroleum.

              And if you want to work for the Canadian Government, you have to at least be a permanent resident.


              • #8
                Originally posted by aic1985
                What is farrier? From what I know, it is the art of putting horse shoes on horses. If that is the case, Jeff, I would like to do something more up-to-date and technical.
                laugh all you want... while you stand in line with the thousands of engineers who got laid off after making $15 bucks an hour, while paying off their college loans. Technology comes and goes. Horseshoes can be replaced. :P

                They had a farrier convention at a hotel near here a few weeks ago.. More H2's, Escalades, Jags, Porches, and Mercedes in the parking lot then at the Dr's parking area at the hospital.

                They all had a neat little horseshoe sticker on the back window.


                • #9
                  One more thing I forgot to mention -- and YUL-HKG alluded to it somewhat in his post -- internships are very, very important in engineering (and just about anything else these days) if you want to land a good job right out of college. My friend was not a particularly good student in college (though back then, it was not so important as the jobs were more plentiful), but he was lucky enough to know someone working fore the Canadian Government in one of his classes and they hit it off. This guy offered him an internship for the summer, and it ended up becoming a full-time job.

                  Now, you mentioned that you were thinking of working for the Canadian Government. Like I mentioned before, you absolutely MUST be a permanent resident. They wonít even look at you otherwise. Furthermore, most professional positions require you to write some aptitude test. You write the same test for just about any position you apply for. Itís easy. I wrote it when I graduated college. I was even offered a job by StatCan. But, you will probably have no say as to where you want to work. The job they offered me was in Ottawa, which was not even one of my choices.


                  • #10
                    iceman, you are right, I don't know the complete facts behind the guy who got fired and that is why, I must not have said that it is hard for a person of non white descent to find jobs in petroleum sector. Sorry about that.

                    I am of South Asian background. Anyhow, I think that I will see how it goes this semester than I will decide because even if I was to change it to civil now, I would still be losing a year, so it is a lose-lose situation for me.

                    Last year, I tried so hard to fail the freakin physics exam in high school and made such a hard effort on not achiveing the required mark in calculus so I would be chosen for Industrial engineering instead of electrical but maybe it just wasn't my lucky day
                    You only have one life...

                    Make wise decisions and live freely.