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Career fair reflects strong engineering job market

Keith Flaherty of the California Department of Transportation discussed job openings during the fall CoE career fair with Emily Klima, a senior in civil engineering. Photo by Melinda Sheffler

It’s a good time to be an engineer.

Employers want to hire more new graduates and are willing to pay them more than in previous years, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) job outlook summary. The engineering job market is strong, with competition among recruiters for the best new graduates, the NACE report said.

The MU College of Engineering’s annual fall career fair bore out that assessment. The Sept. 26 event boasted 93 companies interviewing students for full–time, co–op and intern positions—more than the fall career fair has included since 1999.

“I’d say engineers have a bright future,” said Lezlie McCarty, a human resources manager at Boonville, Mo.–based Glen Martin Inc. who participated in the fair. “The field’s growing.”

Even as the number of jobs calling for science and engineering skills increases, the number of students across the nation who choose engineering as their field is declining. Freshman enrollment at ABET–accredited engineering colleges hit a national five–year low in fall 2005, according to the American Society for Engineering Education’s “Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Colleges, 2005 edition.”

All of which may prove to be good news for engineering majors pursuing their first jobs.

New graduates can expect a starting salary of about $50,000 per year, and may receive several job offers, NACE statistics show. Some can expect to receive signing bonuses.

“It’s a great job market for graduating engineers beginning their career,” said Sue Hamilton, MU College of Engineering career specialist.