What Is The Electrical Engineering Job Outlook For Aspiring Engineers?

Wondering about the future outlook and job market for electrical and electronics engineers? Imagine being equipped with the knowledge to advance a career in this field. This article explores the electrical engineering job outlook, providing essential insights into your professional journey.

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What Does An Electrical Engineer Do?

Person Using Power Supply - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

The electrical engineering job outlook emphasizes the varied tasks that an electrical engineer typically undertakes. These professionals design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. This includes a range of devices from:

  • Electric motors
  • Radar
  • Navigation systems
  • Communications systems
  • Power generation equipment
  • Electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft

On a day-to-day basis, electrical engineers are deeply involved in designing new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products. They also perform detailed calculations to:

  • Develop manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Installation standards and specifications

Diverse Expertise

Electrical engineers also manufacture, install, and test electrical equipment, ensuring that products meet specifications and codes. They investigate customer or public complaints, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions. Electronics engineers analyze the requirements and costs of electrical systems, working closely with project managers on production efforts to ensure project completion is satisfactory, on time, and within budget.

Are Electrical Engineers In Demand?

Man Using Laptop - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

Job prospects in electrical engineering can be vibrant opportunities, but the landscape is not as promising as it once was. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a slow growth in the field, it might be wise to examine first whether electrical engineers are in high demand.

Manufacturing Slowdown

The information shows that the growth rate for electrical and electronics engineering occupations has slowed. Most of this stagnation is attributed to slow growth in manufacturing, which is arguably getting much blame for the field’s current state. Nevertheless, some companies claim a massive shortage of skilled electrical engineers, pointing to a decline in investment in U.S. workers and a preference for inexpensive foreign labor.

Engineering Services and Emerging Technologies

According to the BLS, the future outlook for electrical engineers might be brighter in engineering service firms as companies seek to cut costs by contracting. Electrical engineers familiar with emerging technologies in areas that could be best positioned to find jobs, such as:

  • Solar arrays
  • Semiconductors
  • Communications

Understanding the current landscape is vital for those considering a career in this field. By learning the demand for electrical engineers, professionals can decide about their future involvement in the industry.

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Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

People Standing in Tech Lab - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 2% growth in electrical engineering jobs from 2021 to 2031, slightly lower than the average profession growth of 5%. Other employment indicators offer a more optimistic view, suggesting a robust future demand for electrical engineers across various industries.

Rising Demand and Impending Retirements

The field of electronics engineering is anticipated to expand by 6% during the same period, fueled by the rising need for products ranging from smartphones to autonomous vehicles. The BLS also forecasts substantial retirements among older employees, leading to an average of 20,100 annual job openings for electrical and electronics engineers.

Beyond US Borders

A survey conducted in 2022 by Electronic Design revealed that 76% of employers faced challenges in finding suitable candidates for engineering roles, which is attributed to the declining number of electrical engineering students. Emerging markets are expected to bolster the demand for electrical engineers in the coming decade. 

Significant infrastructure investments in regions like Europe and the Americas will create job opportunities in electric generation and transmission, transportation, and internet infrastructure. The expanding superconductor market is also poised to generate numerous global employment opportunities in the manufacturing and procurement of these technologies.

Two recent federal laws could potentially boost the demand for electrical engineers over the next ten years:
1. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs (IIJ) Act of 2021 will inject $1.2 trillion into America’s infrastructure, including:

  • Electric generation and transmission
  • Transportation
  • Internet

2. The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science (CHIPS) Act of 2022 will allocate $280 billion to enhance domestic microchip production.

Top Industries For Electronics And Electrical Engineering Jobs

Person Analyzing Notes - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

In the top industries for electrical engineering jobs, you can find a diverse range of options to explore. Engineering services are at the forefront, employing about 21% of electrical engineers, which include:

  • Designers
  • Contractors
  • Consultants

Suppose you have a passion for making things work. In that case, you might also consider exploring jobs that have approximately 9% of employment in this field; these are:

  • Electric power generation
  • Transmission
  • Distribution 

Suppose you’re looking for a dynamic environment where innovation is the order of the day. In that case, you should check out opportunities which employ around 7% of electrical engineers in:

  • Medical
  • Navigational, measurement
  • Control devices

Or perhaps you’re intrigued by the idea of working on groundbreaking technologies. In that case, a job in semiconductor manufacturing, which employs about 4% of electrical engineers, might be just the thing for you.

Top Employment Sectors for Electronics Engineering Jobs

For electronics engineers, the leading employers are just as diverse. 

Telecommunications

In telecommunications, where innovation and connectivity are driving forces, you can work with cutting-edge technologies shaping how we communicate. This sector employs around 18% of electronics engineers, making it a top choice for those who want to make an impact. 

Federal Government

If you’re fascinated by the idea of working on projects that have national significance, consider exploring opportunities in the federal government, which employs approximately 15% of electronics engineers. 

Semiconductor Manufacturing

Perhaps you’re interested in the fast-paced world of semiconductor manufacturing, which employs about 10% of electronics engineers and offers many growth opportunities. 

Medical and Related Fields

If you’re looking for a field where you can contribute to developing life-saving devices, medical, navigational, measurement, and control devices could be the perfect fit for you. They employ around 6% of electronics engineers.

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What Are Common Electrical Engineering Careers?

Person Using Laptop - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

Electrical engineering is a dynamic field with a variety of career options. Each role offers unique opportunities and challenges, allowing professionals to find a role that aligns with their interests and strengths.

Electrical or Electronics Engineer

As an electrical or electronics engineer, you will work on:

  • Designing
  • Developing
  • Testing
  • Supervising the production of electrical equipment. 

This role often requires a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or a related field. An ABET-accredited program is essential for many positions in this field. Electrical and electronics engineers can expect to earn a median annual salary of $104,610, with a projected 5% growth rate in demand from 2022 to 2032.

Controls Engineer

Control engineers are responsible for handling multifunctional systems and machines. These professionals typically work in various industries, such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Aerospace
  • Energy
  • Automotive

Control engineers design, install, and manage electrical equipment. With an average annual salary of $82,500, they play a crucial role in ensuring the seamless operation of complex systems.

Project Engineer

Project engineers leverage their engineering expertise and strong communication, leadership, project management, and budgeting skills to keep projects on track across diverse engineering sectors, including electrical engineering. This role requires a bachelor’s degree, with some employers preferring a graduate degree. Project engineers can expect to earn an average annual salary of approximately $74,200.

Test Engineer

Test engineers focus on designing testing processes for hardware and software products, often in the computer industry. Test engineers collaborate with other engineers but complete much of their work independently. Some roles may require a master’s degree or a doctorate. Test engineers earn an average annual salary of about $79,700.

Electrical Design Engineer

Electrical design engineers work on designing and improving products in sectors like semiconductor and electronics manufacturing. These professionals need to:

  • Create blueprints
  • Schematics
  • Prototypes

To excel in this role, you will need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, design skills, and knowledge of industry standards. Electrical design engineers earn an average annual salary of around $82,800.

Electrical engineering offers many exciting and rewarding career paths, equipping to diverse interests and skill sets. Whether you are interested in design, testing, project management, or controls, there is a role that will allow you to leverage your strengths and contribute to the vibrant world of electrical engineering.

The Future Of Electrical Engineering Innovations

Woman Having a Meeting with Man - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

Electric Vehicles: The Future of Transportation

Electric vehicles (EVs) are crucial in revolutionizing the transportation industry. The surge in EV sales is driven by the need to cut climate-warming emissions, making EVs a significant solution for achieving sustainability. As automakers increase production, 

EVs are poised to dominate the market, with projections showing they could make up 40% of new vehicle sales by 2030. Electrical engineers are essential in designing and developing EVs for this innovation-driving industry, including engines, batteries, and electrical systems.

Robotics, Automation, and AI: The Future of Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is rapidly evolving by integrating robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies have significantly improved efficiency and precision in manufacturing processes. 

AI empowers robots to learn and perform complex tasks, enhancing overall performance. Electrical engineers are vital in designing algorithms and electrical systems that drive automation and AI, leading to safer and more efficient manufacturing processes.

Wearable Technology: The Future of Health and Lifestyle

Wearable technology has evolved significantly in recent years, offering various health, fitness, and lifestyle applications. These wearable devices incorporate electronics engineering in their designs to:

  • Monitor health indicators
  • Track physical activity
  • Provide personalized services to users

Global sales of wearable technology are expected to reach $184 billion by 2031, reflecting the immense potential of this industry. Electrical engineers are instrumental in developing wearable technology, ensuring seamless integration of electronic components for optimal performance.

Internet of Things (IoT) Devices: The Future of Connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way devices communicate and interact with each other. IoT devices, embedded with sensors and computer chips, can be controlled remotely over the internet, offering enhanced convenience and efficiency. 

Electrical engineers are at the forefront of designing IoT devices, ensuring seamless connectivity and optimal performance. The global IoT market is projected to reach $2.5 trillion by 2029, indicating the vast opportunities in this evolving industry.

Smart Grids: The Future of Energy Management

Smart grids represent the future of energy management, enabling users to optimize electricity consumption based on demand and availability. By connecting with the electric grid, users can reduce energy costs and minimize the need for additional power plants. Electrical engineers play a crucial role in designing smart grid systems, integrating technologies such as:

  • Solar photovoltaic cells
  • Electric battery storage
  • Advanced control measures

The continuous investment in smart grids is poised to transform the energy landscape, promoting sustainability and efficiency.

This is just a glimpse of the groundbreaking innovations shaping the future of electrical engineering. As the industry continues to evolve, electrical engineers will play a pivotal role in driving technological advancements across various sectors, revolutionizing our way of life and creating a more sustainable and efficient future.

Maximizing Your Employability in Electrical Engineering

Woman Standing in the Lab - Electrical Engineering Job Outlook

Earn a Degree

To become a qualified electrical engineer, you must have a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. These opportunities can be found at ABET-accredited universities. Completing a post-secondary education beyond high school is essential, as 97% of electrical and electronics engineers have pursued higher education.

Land an Internship

Internships are crucial for gaining experience beyond the classroom and helping aspiring engineers make connections within the field. Companies like Boeing, Chevron, and Google provide internship opportunities that can be a stepping stone to securing a full-time job. 

Some companies, in fact, hire their own interns. But to land an internship, you need to:

  • Showcase your skills
  • Have good grades and test scores
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for the Professional Engineer (PE) credential

Join a Professional Association

Joining a professional association like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) can broaden your network. IEEE offers student memberships, connecting you with over 400,000 fellow members. Being part of a professional organization can help you stay updated with industry trends and developments.

Specialize Your Degree

Specializing in your degree can help you stand out in the job market. By focusing on a particular area of electrical engineering, such as electronics engineering or biomedical engineering, you can position yourself for quicker job placements after graduation. 

With around 25% of the current electrical engineering workforce being 55 and older, the future looks promising for aspiring electrical engineers. Specializing in your degree can give you an edge in the competitive job market and increase your employability.

Related Reading

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  • Electrical Engineering Recruitment Agencies
  • Best Electrical Engineering Books
  • Job Responsibilities Of Electrical Engineer
  • How To Make More Money As An Engineer
  • Future Of Electrical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering Degree Cost
  • Electrical Engineering Terms
  • Electronics Engineering vs Electrical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering Training Courses
  • Electronics Engineering Certifications
  • Best Electrical Engineering Graduate Schools

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wasim-smal

Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas (PE), Florida (PE) and Ontario (P. Eng) with consulting experience in design, commissioning and plant engineering for clients in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure.