The US engineering services industry comprises approximately 50,000 companies with combined annual revenue of about $178 billion, according to Hoovers. Some of the largest organizations offering engineering jobs are URS and Jacobs Engineering, as well as the engineering divisions of major construction companies such as Fluor and Bechtel. The industry is fragmented: The 50 largest firms bring in about 40 percent of industry revenue.
Engineering Job Market
There were 243,200 mechanical engineers in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); that number is projected to increase 9 percent between 2010 and 2020, slower than the average occupation. Electrical and electronics engineers numbered 294,000, with growth of 6 percent expected for the decade. Civil engineers held 262,800 jobs, and their ranks are projected to increase by 19 percent by 2020.
Although there are good numbers of open jobs in engineering, the profession is still recovering from the 2007-2009 recession. Some of the stronger niches in engineering employment after the recession are aerospace, biomedical, computer hardware and mechanical engineering. Employers are still coping with a long-term shortage of engineers; fewer students are earning academic credentials now than 25 years ago. For the well-qualified, this tight supply means plentiful work opportunities in engineering.
Common engineering careers include engineering technician, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, civil engineer, industrial engineer, biomedical engineer, chemical engineer, materials engineer, environmental engineer, engineering project manager, test engineering manager and director of engineering.
Mechanical engineers earned median wages of $79,230 in May 2011, according to the BLS, with the top 10 percent earning nearly $120,000. Median pay for electronics engineers (not including computer engineers) was substantially higher at $91,500, with the top 10 percent earning a median of $139,500. Civil engineers' median wages were $77,990, with the top 10 percent making $119,620.