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Industrial engineers develop and implement organizational and management systems. They're closely related to manufacturing engineers, who design production systems like computer networks, robots, machine tools and materials-handling equipment. The two disciplines often work closely together with considerable mobility between them.
In either of these engineering jobs, you will conduct studies, and develop and supervise programs that optimize efficiency. Through intelligent use of equipment, human resources, technology, materials and procedures, you optimize your employer's productivity.
While most industrial engineer jobs are found in manufacturing, a significant number of industrial engineers also work in professional, scientific and technical services. Your work environment is generally a manufacturing plant or industrial facility, though you may also have an office or workstation. You work schedule is most likely full-time, and you may occasionally be required to work extra hours or weekends.
There is a demand for industrial and manufacturing engineers is steady across Canada, particularly in cities with strong manufacturing industries such as Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Industrial engineer salaries in these cities are consistently high, starting in the high $60,000s. The one notable exception is in Quebec. As with most engineering professions, industrial engineer salaries are significantly lower than in most other provinces.
Manufacturing engineer salaries are closely tied to the demand in oil, gas and industrial sectors. When these industries are performing well, opportunities for industrial and manufacturing engineers are plentiful.
As an industrial engineer, you work with machinery daily. You're excellent with both theoretical and hands-on work, and able to optimize manufacturing processes. Your workday will include:
While the majority of industrial engineers work in the manufacturing sector, industrial engineering jobs can also be found in professional, scientific and technical services. You most likely work for a manufacturing company, though you may also work for an engineering firm that consults on various projects for manufacturers.
In Canada, manufacturing is strong across the country. In cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary, you should have no trouble finding industrial engineer jobs with salaries in the high $60,000 range, even with limited prior experience.
To be a successful industrial engineer, you are an expert in manufacturing processes. You're comfortable with both machines and technology, and interested in maximizing production efficiency using a combination of the two. In addition to your technical skills, employers will also be looking for:
Employers usually require a university degree in industrial engineering or a related discipline. Some jobs will require specialization in a specific field such as computer-integrated manufacturing, quality control, or logistics. A post-graduate degree may also help widen your employment opportunities.
To work as an industrial engineer, you'll also need to be licensed in your province. To obtain your P.Eng certification, you'll need to graduate from an accredited program, complete 3-4 years of work experience and pass a professional examination. The good news is once you complete this lengthy program, your employment prospects are incredibly bright!
While your employment as an industrial engineer is tied directly to market conditions in the manufacturing sector, manufacturing continues to be one of Canada's strongest industries and there's no reason to believe that will change any time in the near future.
Your skills as an industrial engineer are needed to implement new technologies that will enable manufacturers to increase their production efficiency. Employment opportunities for industrial engineers vary from industry to industry, but the outlook is strong in cities with strong manufacturing presence such as Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.