The Job Outlook For Mechanical, Civil And Chemical Engineering Graduates


No matter which area of engineering you’re in – mechanical, civil or chemical – there is a growing number of job opportunities for new graduates.

Some of these areas took a hit in the late 90s, but engineering jobs in many sectors have already made a triumphant comeback. According to Statistics Canada, the forecast is looking pretty good for the next few cohorts of engineering graduates.

While all engineering jobs require at least an undergraduate degree, Stats Can says engineers looking to get ahead in their careers should consider a graduate degree and maybe even PhD-level qualifications.

To help ensure that you engineer yourself a great career, here is information on the big trio of engineering degrees and where they can take you:

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical Engineers are involved with the research, design and development of machinery. This field includes an array of jobs ranging from building the next generation of super cool robots, to figuring out how to conserve energy before we run out of it, to leading the next series of innovations in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Hot industries for Mechanical Engineers include manufacturing, technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and aeronautics.

Job outlook: Good

In-demand skills: Outside of the technical knowledge of machines and their parts, employers look for candidates with imaginative and good critical judgment skills. Versatility, self-reliance, communication, problem solving, teamwork and computer skills are also high in demand. Being multilingual can also be an asset.

Civil Engineers

If building bridges is your thing, then Civil Engineering should be your degree. Civil Engineers plan, design, develop and manage projects ranging from traffic to transportation to water to construction and everything in between. This sector went through a bit of a rough patch in the late 90s, but has seen a major increase in employment since y2K. This growth is attributed to the number of senior Civil Engineers trading in their tools for some off-time as they head into retirement. As a result, there is a large number of opportunities opening up to new grads.

Job outlook: Good 

In-demand skills: About half of Civil Engineers work in engineering firms, and employers look for candidates with technological knowledge, specific software packages and knowledge of the profession. Statistics Canada highlights the need for students to stay on top of the new innovations in the industry and learn how to apply their knowledge to work. Co-op positions are also particularly helpful for breaking into the growing sector of Civil Engineering.

Chemical Engineers

Our society is full of chemicals. Some good, some bad, but all need to be researched, designed and developed, and for that, Canada calls on its Chemical Engineers. Jobs for Chemical Engineering graduates include biochemical, industrial hygiene, liquid fuels and even adhesive engineering positions. The majority of Chemical Engineers work in manufacturing. Additionally, almost one third of Chemical Engineers work in professional, scientific and technical services.

Job outlook: Fair

Opportunities for Chemical Engineers took a hit during the recession due to oil prices, and the decline in the construction industry and pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors. However, things have since turned around and this sector is now growing again, albeit slowly, and the placement rate for new graduates is excellent according to Statistics Canada. Chemical Engineers are particularly in demand in the green industry where companies are working on creating less pollution and more energy efficient products. Though the job outlook isn’t as rosy as the other two engineering sectors, Statistics Canada says that there are still enough opportunities to support the continuous wave of new grads.

In-demand skills: Chemical Engineers require a scientific and methodical mind, an aptitude for analysis, synthesis and problem solving, and solid teamwork and communications skills. Employers also value candidates who have innovative ideas and a versatile set of skills.

Engineering Week: Visit the Engineering Career Guide to learn more about careers in engineering, and find student and entry level jobs from top engineering employers

Photo credit: 01:52 – Engineer by That Guy Who’s Going Places on Flickr


About the author

Ishani Nath is a proud McMaster alum, aspiring writer and current journalism grad student at Ryerson University. When she's not hammering out articles, she can usually be found on a patio or nestled on a couch trying to keep up with those crazy Kardashians. She hopes to one day have a job that makes her excited to get up each morning, or at least one that gives her free food. Intrigued? Enthralled? Learn more by following her on @ishaninath.