Unlike many job sectors, engineering is expected to see a surplus of potential candidates in the upcoming years. Recent research predicts that from 2018 to 2028, there will be an increase of 11,300 mechanical engineering jobs in the market and a talent pool of 13,200 prospective job seekers. During this same timeframe, there will also be an increase of 18,900 civil engineering jobs as well as an influx of 26,500 potential job seekers.

These statistics put engineering employers in an ideal hiring position. While this job sector is not expected to experience a labour shortage in the upcoming years, emerging engineering job trends may still make hiring top talent candidates challenging. These evolving trends, such as advancements in technology and shifts to regulatory frameworks, make it extremely important for employers to hire not just high-qualified candidates but to select the right candidate for the job.

To make this happen, employers must first understand what the latest trends in engineering jobs are. Here’s a look at the top trends in engineering jobs for 2021.

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creation of new engineering disciplines

There is little doubt that the evolving technologies will advance the engineering industry for years to come. As seen in the past, this continuous growth in technology will prompt the need for new engineering disciplines with the increased potential for overlap into other professions. Not only will engineers need to be adaptable enough to adopt this new technology and integrate it into current business processes, but employers must fully understand what skills and qualifications will be needed as the new disciplines arise.

It’s critical for companies to develop a set plan for re-evaluating current engineering job roles and to evolve these positions as these new disciplines emerge. Employers should also determine what skills, including transferable skills, are needed to be successful in these new engineering roles. This step will ensure your company is preparing for the future and that it is continuously seeking out candidates with the right skill sets.

evolving regulatory landscape

As if recovering from a global pandemic was not enough, 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 individual company to track these changes and ensure compliance within 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 that have experience interpreting and implementing governmental regulations to protect the public and business interests.

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diminishing pool of licensed engineers

There has been a surprising trend among younger engineering graduates to forgo earning their engineering license. There could be several reasons for this shift. First, many students may find the licensing process too cumbersome, especially since each province and territory has its own set of licensing regulations. Secondly, some students may have career goals that don’t require a license. If this is the case, these students may feel that there’s no need to make the extra effort to become licensed.

While each individual engineering student is capable of determining which career path is right for them, many employers have failed to recognize this transition. Certainly, some engineering positions require a professional license, while others have no such requirement. The problem is that some employers are still seeking only licensed engineers even though this certification is not necessary.

To expand your hiring efforts, it’s important to re-examine the skills and qualifications needed for each engineering position and to take the time to determine which skills are must-have and which ones are want-to-have. By lowering your credentialing expectations to reflect this new trend among younger workers, your company can expand its talent pool and improve its hiring outcomes.

growing demand for diversity in the workplace

For decades, engineering roles were predominantly filled by men. Many marginalized groups, including women as well as indigenous and racialized people, have been significantly underrepresented in all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors. Over the last few decades, however, there has been a push at both the university level and workplace to bring more diversity to STEM programs and some level of success has been realized. For example, experts predict that by 2030, at least 30% of all licensed engineers will be women.

Unfortunately, much of the progress made with these programs may have been lost due to the pandemic. The problem is that many of these marginalized groups were hit the hardest during the pandemic. Despite losing ground, the global push for more diversity and inclusion in the workplace can help.

Employers, however, will need to make a concerted effort to develop hiring practices that attract candidates from these marginalized groups. The good news is that by creating an inclusive hiring process, employers actually expand their prospective talent pool. In a busy job market that is only going to become more competitive in the upcoming years, a larger talent pool can make the difference between finding skilled candidates or not.

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