While other sectors are dealing with the labour shortage, engineering is expected to see a surplus of potential candidates in the upcoming years. Research predicts that from 2018 to 2028, there’ll be an increase of 11,300 mechanical engineering jobs and a talent pool of 13,200 job seekers. During the same timeframe, the industry will see a rise of 18,900 civil engineering jobs and an influx of 26,500 job seekers.

These statistics put engineering employers in an ideal position regarding hiring. However, emerging engineering job trends may still make it challenging to hire top talent. Evolving trends, such as advancements in technology and shifts in regulatory frameworks, will require employers to hire highly skilled candidates with specialized experience.

Canada’s rapidly changing energy sector is also driving trends in engineering jobs. A major shift toward sustainability, efficiency and emerging power sources is creating new disciplines and increasing the demand for engineers with experience in alternative energy.

Before they can capitalize on these developments and hire qualified workers, employers must first understand the latest trends in engineering jobs. Here’s a look at the top trends in engineering jobs for 2023.

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creation of new engineering disciplines

Evolving technologies will continue to advance the engineering industry for years to come. As in the past, this continuous technological growth will likely create new engineering disciplines that overlap with other professions. Engineers must adapt to new technologies and integrate them into existing workflows.

In 2023, this shift will be particularly strong in the construction sector. As smart cities become more popular, construction companies will need a broader range of engineers who understand urban planning, structural elements and smart technologies. The trend toward green buildings and living materials requires engineers with advanced knowledge of environmental issues.

Canada’s energy sector is also poised to create new engineering disciplines. As the largest companies in the oil sands industry work to reach net zero emissions by 2050, engineers with energy and environmental expertise will be in high demand.

Employers must keep pace by understanding the skills and qualifications that each new discipline requires. Companies must develop a plan to reevaluate current engineering jobs and evolve them to accommodate emerging roles. This step will ensure that businesses continuously seek candidates with the right skill sets.

evolving regulatory landscape

Employers must keep in mind the growing trend of the evolving regulatory landscape. Government agencies at the federal, provincial and territorial levels are consistently changing engineering-related regulations. It’s up to each company to track these changes and ensure compliance with all business practices — or risk hefty fines.

This is one emerging trend that requires highly skilled and experienced engineers. It’s crucial to seek out candidates with experience interpreting and implementing governmental regulations to protect public and business interests.

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adoption of advanced technology

New technologies are transforming workflows for engineers in a range of industries. Businesses are integrating drones, wearable devices, and 4D and 5D simulations in the construction sector. These systems will require engineers who can adapt existing operations, manage the integration process and assist with maintenance and updates. Companies also need engineers who can use AI-based platforms and data analytics to increase project efficiency without compromising safety or structural integrity. 

Technology is also transforming the oil and gas sector as businesses turn to automation and advanced manufacturing processes. To succeed, they’ll need engineers to design and manage these systems. As the global demand for sustainable energy increases, this sector will require engineers with experience in solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biofuel energy.

diminishing pool of licensed engineers

There’s been a surprising trend among younger engineering graduates to forgo earning their engineering licenses. There could be several reasons for this shift. First, many students find the licensing process too cumbersome — especially since each province and territory has its own licensing regulations. Secondly, some students may have career goals that don’t require a certification, giving them little motivation to complete the licensing process.

Many employers need to recognize this transition. Some engineering positions require a professional license, but others don’t. The problem is that some employers only seek licensed engineers even when the certification isn’t necessary.

As employers expand hiring efforts, it’s important to reexamine the skills and qualifications for each engineering position. They must determine which skills are required and which ones are optional. By lowering credentialing expectations to reflect this new trend among younger workers, companies can expand their talent pools and improve hiring outcomes.

growing demand for diversity in the workplace

For decades, engineering roles were predominantly filled by men. Many groups, including women and indigenous people, have been significantly underrepresented in all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors. 

Over the last few decades, however, there’s been a push at the university level and in the workplace to bring more diversity to STEM programs. Engineers Canada aims to increase the number of newly licensed female engineers to 30% by 2030. As of 2022, just 18% of engineers are women.

Diversity programs have lost some ground over the past few years, but the desire remains. According to a 2022 survey, one-third of employees feel their employers aren’t doing enough to support diversity, equity and inclusion.

To satisfy employees’ demand for a diverse workplace, employers will need to develop hiring practices that attract candidates from underrepresented groups. Employers can expand their potential talent pool by creating an inclusive hiring process. As the job market becomes more competitive, a larger pool of candidates can give companies an advantage in finding skilled employees.

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