More Engineers Prepare to Enter the Workforce – The Good (and Not So Good) News for Employers

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on March 27, 2014

Colleges and universities throughout the United States are seeing an increase in the number of students enrolling in engineering programs, with a correlating decrease in the number of students enrolling in business, humanities, and science programs.  The looming increase in engineering graduates expected as a result of this trend will change the playing field for engineering employers throughout the country.

A recent study of enrollment trends by Gonzaga University found that the number of degree-earning students who had majored in the humanities had dropped by 6.8 percent between fall 2008 and fall 2013.  During the same time period, the number of students who had earned an engineering degree increased 17.6 percent.

Recent fears that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers will be understaffed have driven educators, employers, and the government to encourage enrollment in these fields – a campaign that appears to be paying off.  But what does it mean for employers?

First, employers can expect to have an easier time finding candidates with engineering degrees – and a tougher time finding candidates in other fields.  A report by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) notes that, currently, about 227,000 new engineering graduates are needed in the U.S. each year.  However, the IEEE estimates that nearly 11.4 million people currently hold engineering degrees, but work in fields outside engineering.

While the increase in engineering graduates expands the pool of engineering candidates, it also makes it tougher to find the “perfect fit.”  While hiring managers have more options, they may find it more difficult to sift out the best talent from a pile of resumes.  Working with a recruiter can improve any organization’s chances of finding the best person for the job.

Finally, while the candidate pool for engineers expands, candidate pools for other positions shrink.  According to the Gonzaga University study, this problem may become especially dire for positions that require superb critical thinking and communication skills – the very abilities honed in humanities programs.  Here, a staffing partner can also be indispensable in building a strong candidate pool.

At TERRA Staffing, our experienced engineering recruiters are experts at matching candidates to ideal career opportunities.  Contact us to learn more about our recruiting process, or browse our job opportunities in the Pacific Northwest today!

Categories: HR and Management Advice

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