Engineering Graduate Trends in for 2019

Josh Bays

Josh Bays | November 18, 2019

As the labor market continues to tighten, especially for high-skilled labor, domestic manufacturers find themselves in the intense battle to hire and retain an adequate workforce. Technological advances influence production processes across all industries, and manufacturers are seeing a fundamental shift in their workforce profile. This workforce profile is starting to place more of a focus on engineering positions, over traditional production and assembly positions. Therefore, as manufacturers commence their site selection projects, analyzing the presence and pipeline of engineering talent is important.

Site Selection Group, a global location advisory, economic incentive and corporate real estate services firm, conducts a multitude of workforce analytics for our manufacturing clients. Based on our clients’ business needs, we have identified the following disciplines as critical for most of manufacturing projects: mechanical, electrical & electronics, industrial, aerospace and materials engineering.

Site Selection Group researched the most recent data from the Department of Education to compare the graduates of this engineering cluster by state. In addition, Site Selection Group also researched if these states with high engineering graduate volumes were consistent with engineering job growth.

Cluster engineering graduates follow overall population

The interactive map below shows the number of graduates from the identified engineering cluster for the 2018 academic year by state (hover over or select a state for more detail). As can be expected from overall population levels, the top producer of these specific engineering graduates is California with over 11,000. Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan round out the Top 5.

Source: IPEDS via EMSI, 2018 completions

Locations with high engineering job growth and graduates are not always consistent

Site Selection Group evaluated the engineering cluster job growth by state. The data indicates that several states in the West and Southeast United States will have the highest job growth over the next five years. No states are expected to have a decline in engineering jobs. The interactive map below shows states by five-year projected occupation growth.

Source: EMSI, 2019-2024

Capitalizing on ‘brain drain’ is an attractive opportunity for manufacturers

The data suggests that many graduating engineers in the near future will be forced to relocate, in some instances great distances, for employment. In a hyper-competitive economy, manufacturers can find unique opportunities to attract and retain engineering talent by capitalizing on communities that have traditionally experienced brain drain. As a part of workforce analytics for manufacturing site selection projects, Site Selection Group recommends that companies invest the resources to truly understand engineering graduate migration patterns before making final location decisions.  

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