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Engineering Graduate Trends to Consider During the Site Selection Process

by Allison Boden, on Jun 25, 2021 9:55:45 AM

With graduation season in full swing over the past month, there is a new crop of engineering talent hitting the marketplace. Given continued industrial growth projected for this year, the labor market will likely continue to tighten, especially for high-skilled labor.

This leaves domestic manufacturers finding themselves in an 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. As this workforce profile focuses more on engineering positions over traditional production and assembly positions, analyzing the presence and pipeline of engineering talent is important for those considering site selection projects in the coming years.

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 manufacturing projects: mechanical, electrical and 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 latest published 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 11,500. Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts round out the Top 5. These are the same top five states as from the previous year.

Source: IPEDS via EMSI, 2019 completions

Locations with high engineering job growth and graduating engineering students are not always consistent

Site Selection Group evaluated the engineering cluster job growth by state. The data indicates that several states in the Western United States including Nevada, Utah, and Arizona 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, 2020-2025

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.  

Topics:Economic IncentivesSite Selection GroupSite Selection

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