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Where in the US to Find Engineering Jobs

Earlier this year, I wrote a summary of IEEE GlobalSpec’s annual “Pulse of Engineering” survey and gave it the subtitle “Where Are the New Engineers?”  Many engineers, both new and experienced, want to look for positions in particular geographic areas; their question is “where are the engineering jobs?”

A simple Google search will not provide an answer. The answer will depend on a number of variables, particularly the specific engineering fields under consideration and the experience level of the job seeker. Crafting the search itself is challenging. For example, different job reports will describe the same kind of job in different terms. Some US and state government statistical reports use the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) rather than job titles to describe employment information.

These sources don’t address the “where are the jobs?” question. A job seeker targeting jobs in specific geographic areas or in his or her desired engineering specialty does have several good options for finding these kinds of information.

Professional Associations

A professional association like IEEE is much closer to the details of the job market for its members’ specialties than a government agency. For those searching for positions in specific engineering specialties, these associations can be an excellent source of job listings and job market information. has an exhaustive list of professional associations, including some on a state or regional level.

Government Data

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes national-level employment data, easily accessible and searchable on the BLS website. The venerable Occupational Outlook Handbook  combines information from many BLS sources to provide reliable data on current and future demand, as well as educational requirements, earnings, and related information.

However, BLS does not provide demand information for specific occupations in specific geographies. Projections Central collates data collected by all 50 state labor departments, providing both long-term (through 2014) and short-term (through 2018) projections. The data are easy to search and download. Occupations are broken down into reasonably specific occupations.

Consulting Firms

General consulting companies, like PriceWaterhouseCooper, and firms specifically involved in labor market activities, like 180 Recruiting + Consulting, often publish labor market information and related job search information on their websites.  Here’s a recent article from the 180 Recruiting + Consulting site that directly addresses the job market for engineers and related technical professionals.

Since these private companies conduct their own research, they frequently restrict access to the details of this research—unless the reader wants to shell out significant amounts of money for it. Summaries often find their way onto the company’s website, or business publications will gain access and publish articles that are generally available. College and university libraries with substantial business collections might also have these resources available.

Job Sites

Big all-purpose job search sites like Monster and Indeed can show a job searcher what is available now, and where. CareerBuilder makes location searching easier by putting a “search by city” option on its homepage, along with “search by category.” The Ladders, a site that specializes in positions with salaries of $100,000 and up, also has “search by city,” with a twist: it lists “top cities” for job seekers.

CareerCast, another national job-search site, focuses on “niche job networks.” Niches include categories like IT and Engineering, and Green.  Geographic searches are simple to do. This service could be especially helpful for engineers seeking jobs in emerging fields or with very particular responsibilities.

Miscellaneous Internet Resources

The biggest problem with finding and using internet resources is getting rid of the weeds among the flowers. Before putting a lot of faith in any source, consider the reputation of the writers/researchers/publishers that put information out for public consumption. Just because a search result is in the top ten returned does not necessarily mean the content is authoritative.

An internet search for a city name and “labor market” or “job market” often turns up local resources, such as newspaper articles or chamber of commerce reports. For example, searching “Seattle” and “job market” yielded several useful resources, including a Seattle Times article specifically about the jobs outlook and a link to a US News real estate guide that also discussed the Seattle job market.

The same search found some on-target articles from Forbes magazine. One singles out the best and worst cities for job hunting in 2017. Another article from April 2017 gives insight on the state of the job market in general and some specific advice on how job seekers can use this information to their own benefit. Other business-oriented publications and newspapers with strong business sections, such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and local or regional business newspapers, are good sources to consider.

Happy Searching!

One caveat, particularly for current undergraduates, concerns information on future demand for particular jobs. When a field gets hot, a lot of people will pursue careers in that field. By the time a freshman receives a BS degree, the situation could change from many job offers per applicant to many applicants chasing the same job. Job seekers should evaluate longer-range predictions for both job type and regional labor markets before deciding on a course of study.

Spending a couple of hours using the resources discussed here, and doing some carefully-targeted internet searching, should yield enough information to get a job search started.