Employment opportunities for engineering professionals are expected to increase in the 2002-2012 period. Two reasons for low demand for engineers are because previously, engineering professionals were concentrated in the manufacturing segment which is a slow growing industry and because employers were outsourcing engineering services from foreign countries. Despite these conditions, the new job openings will be expected to absorb all engineering graduates during this period. Specialization in engineering fields also causes variation in employment opportunities. According to studies, decline in employment of engineers in mining, geological, petroleum and nuclear fields and an above average growth in environmental fields is projected.
Competition and new technology are forcing companies to upgrade and develop new product designs and to attain optimization and efficiency regarding manufacturing. Thus employers are relying on reengineering professionals to achieve greater productivity, as the amount invested in plant and building will lead to expansion in the output of goods and services. The advances in Information Technology enable engineers to improve product design more quickly and efficiently than before and help them collaborate with engineers overseas. These widespread applications of the computer and communication systems are not likely to limit employment but help engineers to do their job better. Public Facilities like road, bridges, water ways etc as well as methods of pollution control need to be improved and upgraded by engineers.
One factor which is responsible for low growth of engineering job opportunities is the availability of a large quantity of trained English speaking engineers in other countries who work as low salaries as compared to US citizens. These foreign engineers can contact employers in the US due to the rise of internet and communication systems and thus reduce the number of jobs available to native engineers.
In comparison with other workers, a very small proportion of engineering professionals leave their jobs every year. However, new job opening will arise to fulfill replacement needs, which reflects the large size of the engineering profession. Many new jobs will be created by engineering professionals who get transferred to managing, sales and other such occupations; others will be created when engineers leave due to retirement and other personal reasons.
A large number of engineering professionals work in long-term R&D projects or in certain other enterprises which proceed even during economic depressions and slow periods. In electronics and aerospace industries, huge cutbacks in defense, government research and development funds as well as hiring foreign and domestic engineering firms for fulfilling contracts, has lead to a downfall in demand for engineers.
Therefore, it is important for engineering professionals (especially those who work in other technical occupations) to pursue their education throughout their careers because knowledge of new technology is a great boon for employers. Even though the speed of technological innovations depends on engineering specialty and field, technical advances have had a significant affect on every engineering discipline. Engineers involved in technological fields like advanced electronics and the IT industry find out that technical knowledge becomes outdated very quickly. Engineers who pursue their education may also find themselves ousted out of the industry if their specialized technology or product line becomes obsolete. The best solution and the greatest benefit is provided by those engineers who keep up-to-date with technological changes. Those who do not keep abreast of changes in their field are prone to loosing beneficial promotions or jobs. The high- technology fields provide the highest pay while having the greatest challenges and the most interesting work. Thus the choosing a specialty in engineering not only involves an overview of gains that a field provides, but also the risk of becoming obsolete once the technology is upgraded.