The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the workforce in many different industries, with approximately 43 million Americans now out of work. Compared to pre-coronavirus, the job market is even worse for both graduates and seasoned engineers, and there are even fewer opportunities in what was already a competitive job market. As you're gearing up to apply for jobs post-coronavirus, here are some things to keep in mind regarding the state of the job market for engineers.
COVID-19’s Impact on the Engineering Workforce
Experts say that the industry will be in dire need of engineers after the effects of the pandemic subside. Andy Moss, president and owner of M Force Staffing, believes that recruiters will need to significantly ramp up efforts to recruit talent once restrictions are lifted. Moss asserts that the industry was severely lacking in technical talent even before the effects of the pandemic set in.
Efforts to train new engineers must begin as soon as possible to fill this gap. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2016 and 2026, the industry is expected to open up approximately 140,000 new engineering jobs. Of those professions, the most likely to be hiring are:
- Civil engineers (32,200 available positions)
- Mechanical engineers (25,300 available positions)
- Industrial engineers (25,100 available positions)
- Electrical engineers (16,200 available positions)
The new openings are primarily due to increasing technological developments and applications of artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, robotics, and virtual technology. These technologies will be incorporated into the medical field, transportation, and machinery. This emphasis on domestically produced products and tech will be even greater as the country emerges from pandemic-related restrictions. Moss believes that medical professionals will be working on simulations in anticipation of future viral outbreaks. With these statistical models, engineers will be needed to develop technological defenses as a proactive measure.
How to Get an Engineering Job During and After COVID-19
Due to shelter-in-place and social distancing orders, getting a job is going to be pretty tricky at this exact moment. Here are some steps you can take to make the process work in your favor:
- Network online. Networking remotely is just as effective as doing so in person. Use platforms such as LinkedIn to get your name and portfolio out to potential recruiters.
- Keep in contact with hiring managers. You don’t have to check in every day but maintaining open lines of communication is essential to increasing the employment options available to you post-COVID.
- Maintain an open mind. Your next engineering job doesn’t have to be the one of your dreams. You don’t necessarily have to settle, but don’t be too picky either.
- Visit engineering job boards. Visiting job boards specific to engineers will increase your chances of securing employment. Sites like ieee.org and ihireengineering.com are highly recommended.
Although engineers have been deeply impacted by job loss related to the ongoing pandemic, projected job growth is high. There will be plenty of employment opportunities. You must simply conduct your job search remotely and continue networking with recruiters. Your engineering career awaits, despite how grim things may seem at the moment.