College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

National workforce needs in engineering

Last year at this time, I blogged about how high-tech industries are experiencing significant growth, particularly in sectors at the boundaries of traditional engineering disciplines and fields such as biology, medicine, and product design. Coupled with that surge of career opportunities is an approaching demographic crunch in the engineering workforce as more baby boomers retire.

Larry Hanneman, the engineering college’s career services director, was recently interviewed in an article on that exact issue. He spoke about the shortage of engineers, and the creative approaches that companies need to take to recruit and retain top engineering professionals.

In today’s economy, virtually every governor across the nation evokes education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as critical to innovation, job growth, and economic development.

For engineering students, the future is encouraging. According to the latest PayScale College Salary Report, seven of the top 10 careers in high paying job areas are in engineering fields. And, Cyclone engineers are in high demand. This fall’s College of Engineering Career Fair is sold out, and more than 225 companies will be recruiting our students and alumni on September 27.

Students see the opportunities in engineering, not only as a career choice but also as a profession that enables them to improve lives and livelihoods through technology. I believe those are the two key factors behind our increasing enrollment. Our students know the important role that engineering plays in society. In a 2009 article in The Economist about green technology, Oliver Morton wrote: “The best thing a bright young person can do to help rid civilization of fossil fuels is to get an education in engineering.” I think he’s right, and he’s helping to get the message out about the social value of engineering.