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National Job Market Analysis of Electrical Engineering


for Judith Peabody Technical Writing Instructor Clackamas Community College Clackamas, OR April Planencia Student Association President Oregon Institute of Technology Portland, OR Dr. Mateo Aboy Electrical Engineering Program Director Oregon Institute of Technology Portland, OR

by Michael R. Jones WR227 Student EET Student

August 12, 2009

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Judy Peabody Clackamas Community College 19600 Molalla Avenue Oregon City, Oregon 97045 Michael R. Jones EET Student Oregon Institute of Technology 20175 NW AmberGlen Ct, Suite 100 Beaverton, OR 97006 Dear Ms. Peabody, Here is my report, National Job Market Analysis for Electrical Engineering. I learned a great deal about the industry I my self am about to enter. Every piece of data I uncovered was an eye opener. I believe students in any electrical engineering program throughout the country could benet from the information I have compiled here. This report would have not been written if it had not been a requirement. I would like to thank you for requiring your students to complete tasks that apply to the real world. I have found my fellow electrical engineering students to be inquisitive, intelligent and interesting people. However, like myself, we are in the dark when it comes to knowing what the working world holds for us. In addition, unless working, we have no idea what the job market holds for us upon graduation. These observations have been a major motivation in choosing this topic of investigation and analysis. I found the information contained in the Skills Analysis to be the most interesting. I also believe that this section holds the most benet for students. Engineering education is a life long endeavor. Knowing what skills are valuable in such a competitive industry is invaluable. Again, I!ve enjoyed working on this report. I look forward to hearing your comments, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Sincerely; Michael R. Jones EET Student Oregon Institute of Technology

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FIGURES
Figure 1! Figure 2! Figure 3! State Percentage of Total EEs Employed in U.S ...................... 2 Percentage of Total Working EEs" in Industry ...........................4 Mean Salary vs. Years of Experience for an EE ...................... 7

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ABSTRACT
An analysis of the current state of the job market was conducted for the profession of electrical engineering. The state of this job market analysis is broken down by: geographic location industrial category. In addition, salary statistics skills

This analysis was geared towards the needs of students and entry level job seekers.

CONTENTS

LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ........................................................ ii FIGURES .................................................................................... iii ABSTRACT ................................................................................. iv INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................1 COLLECTED DATA ..................................................................... 2 !
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Geographic Distribution ................................................................. 2 ! Top Ten States for EE Jobs ..................................................... 2 ! State by State Breakdown ...................................................... 2 ! Top 3 Metropolitan Areas for EE Jobs ..................................... 2 Industry Analysis ............................................................................ 4 ! Emerging Industries ................................................................. 5 ! Industry Outlook and Trends .................................................... 5 Salary Analysis ................................................................................ 6 ! Experience Level ......................................................................6 ! Education Level ....................................................................... 6 ! Salary by Industry .................................................................... 7 ! Salary by Job Title ................................................................... 7 Skills Analysis ................................................................................. 8 ! Skills in Demand ...................................................................... 8 ! Skills Gap of EE Graduates ..................................................... 8

CONCLUSION ........................................................................................ 9 ! Summary of Findings ..................................................................... 9


! ! ! Interpretation of Findings ................................................................9 Recommendations .......................................................................... 9 Benets ............................................................................................ 9

WORKS CITED ................................................................................10-11

INTRODUCTION
Many student and faculty know that electrical engineering is a broad eld with many diverse areas of study. Some of the main areas of study are microelectronics, semiconductor devices, power electronics, and analog integrated circuit design. Study, work, and research in these main areas becomes even more specic. Students of electrical engineering are faced with the daunting task of choosing a eld of study that will interest them and provide them with ample job opportunities. The purpose of this analysis is to give electrical engineering students a good understanding of the job market they will be entering and ultimately competing in. This analysis is being conducted for ASOIT and electrical engineering students at OIT. There is currently no such report available at OIT that evaluates the current job market climate for electrical engineers in this country. Information in this report could help students make choices about specic career paths, graduate programs, or undergraduate classes. The information for this analysis will be obtained from online sources, academic journals, and trade publications by IEEE and other reputable sources. Government websites and industry websites regarding salary information will also be used. This analysis of the job market will be broken down to answer the following broad questions. Who is obtaining jobs? What are they doing? Where are they doing it? What is the outlook and future of the industry? What are the skills needed in the industry? The analysis is broken down into the following sections to answer such questions: i. ii. iii. iv. Geographic Analysis Industry Breakdown Analysis Salary Skills

Like any market, the job market is subject to drastic changes. Therefore, the relevancy of the information contained in this report is subject to change. This report provides a summary of a large job market. The topics of analysis were chosen such that the report would be neither too broad or too narrow to be useful. The topics chosen are deemed to be relevant to most students. The ndings in this report conclude that there is not enough information given by the ASOIT to assist students in nding employment. Furthermore, there is no information published by the school regarding the state of the industry, or emerging opportunities available. It is recommended that an report be published every 2-3 years that summarizes up to date information in regards to these matters.

COLLECTED DATA
Geographic Distribution Analysis
Data regarding the distribution of electrical engineering jobs throughout the United States will be examined. This sections aims to answer a common question new graduates of any program has; Where are the jobs? Students who are willing to move after graduating would benet from knowing what states contain the most jobs. Students who are not willing to move would benet from knowing how their state measures up.

Top Ten States for EE Jobs


The top ten states with the highest number of EE jobs as reported ranked highest to lowest (U.S. Department of Bureau of Labor and Statistics). California Texas New York Massachusetts Virginia Florida Pennsylvania Michigan Illinois Ohio

The top three states listed above are geographically the top three largest states in the United States. The overall higher population in these states may be the cause for them having the highest number of EE jobs. Similar reasoning cannot be used for smaller states, such as Massachusetts. In these cases, it is suggested that students investigate the reasons numbers are high. High employment numbers could be due to large companies, government contractors or large universities.

State by State Breakdown for EE Jobs


Data regarding EE employment as a percentage of the total number of EE jobs held nationally for each state is presented in gure 1. The total number of EE jobs held in the United States for the year 2008 was 139,930 (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 37). This data is presented to allow students to see how the concentration of jobs for EEs! are distributed nationally. Trends in this data will be discussed.

Top 3 Metropolitan Areas for EE Jobs


Santa Clara, CA Boulder, CO Huntsville, AL

These metropolitan areas have the highest number of employed electrical engineers in the nation (Bureau of Labor and Statistics). No specic reasons are listed.

2.4%

0.27% 1.1% 1.2%

0.17% 2.5% 2.49% 3.9% 7.1%

0.9%

5.2% 1.5%

0.15% 0.2% 0.9%

0.4% 0.4% 13.8% 0.8% 2.54% 1.28%

3.9% 3.4% 3.6% 1.9% 0.3% 5.2% 2.8% 3%

1.73% 0.75% 1.4% 1.98%

3.28% 0.26%

0.74%

1.03%

0.55% 2.18% 2.16%

1.9% 0.9%

10%

0.9%

5.04% 0.48%

Figure 1! " "

State Percentage of Total Electrical Engineers Employed in U.S. (U.S. Department of Bureau of Labor and Statistics)

The data in gure 1 can be summarized into the following regions: 30% of electrical engineers work in the North & Mid-Atlantic 27% of electrical engineers work in the Pacic 21.5% of electrical engineers work in the North Central 21.5% of electrical engineers work in the Southern

It is clear from the data above that the highest density of working electrical engineers exists in the North and Mid-Atlantic regions. The lowest density of working electrical engineers exist in the Southern and North Central regions. The data presented could be useful in directing one!s job search. First, the desire to stay or move to a location could be weighed against the probability of employment. Second, the focus of a job search throughout the U.S. could be greatly narrowed by choosing locations with a higher chance of employment. Lastly, it is worthwhile for a student job seeker to investigate why certain states and regions have a higher number of electrical engineers.

Industry Analysis
Electrical engineering is practiced in many industries such as utilities, consumer electronics, communications, and semi-conductor development and manufacturing. The main industries of employment for electrical engineering as reported by the U.S. Department of Bureau of Labor and Statistics in 2006 can be seen in figure 2.

5% 15% 7% 9% 5% 24%

24%

10%

Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing Semi-Conductor and Electronic Component Manufacturing Professional, Scientic and Technical Services, i.e. Consulting Utilities Government Telecommunications Other Management/Administration Figure 2 ! " " Percentage of Total Working EEs! by Industry in 2006 (U.S. Department of Bureau of Labor and Statistics)

Over half of working electrical engineers work in manufacturing or service related industries, with the remaining percentages scattered throughout the remaining categories. Students and job seeking graduates can choose amongst these to identify which are the best ts in terms of skills and interest. Students could also use this information to nd out what further education they may require to gain entry-level employment in a particular industry of interest. Caution: The data presented here should not be used by a student as an indicator of industry growth, decline or development.

Emerging Industries
Students isolated within academic environments can easily fall out of touch with new developments in their elds of study. As most students focus on learning the fundamentals of engineering, new technologies and ideas are constantly being developed. Data for the growth of several emerging elds/industries will now be presented.

Renewable Energy
Currently, the main renewable energy sources in the U.S. are solar, wind, and geothermal power. The photovoltaic solar electricity market has increased by 33% as of 1997; it is expected to be a 100 billion dollar industry by 2020 (Hoffman 3285-3311). The U.S. Department of Energy suggests wind power could contribute up to 20% of the Nation!s electricity by 2030 (Bastian 38). It is reported that there will be up to 1.4 million new jobs in renewable energy, research, and engineering by 2038 (Get a Green Job). In fact, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, pledged to double the amount of wind, solar and geothermal generating capacity of the nation (Meckler and Power A4). Clearly, this is a rapidly growing industry. Smart Grid / Power Industry The power generation industry expects that over 300,000 utility workers and power plant professionals will retire over the next 15 years (Wagman 5). In addition, the nation!s power grid is due to be replaced with newer Smart Grid technology. A new generation of power industry professionals will be needed (Wagman 5).

Biomedical Engineeering
This area is so new that in 2006 the IEEE did not have a society committed to this new discipline (Selinger 59). Biomedical engineering is concerned with the development of medical devices and equipment; it is expected to have a 21% employment growth over the next decade (Occupational Outlook Handbook 39). The industries listed above are a small sample of those emerging. Students can nd data on emerging industries at IEEE!s website: <www.ieee.org/web/emergingtech/home/index.html>

Industry Outlook and Trends


The American job market for electrical engineering is affected by employment and business trends within the industry. Data for electrical engineer job growth, and the effect of off-shoring are presented. Job Outlook The number of new electrical and mechanical engineering job positions will only rise by 4% in the next decade (Teschler 8). However, data from 2006 claims that the number of electronics engineers jobs will increase by 9.7% by 2014 (Schneiderman 48). Also, in March of 2009 there was a 29% increase in the number of job openings available to electrical engineers (Kimes 14).

6 Off-Shoring Off-shoring is dened as the movement of specic jobs or tasks to overseas companies; it is usually an economically based business decision, as labor or tax laws in another country can reduce the costs a company ensues. This trend has a large impact on the job market. The chip manufacturing industry in Oregon has seen a steady decline over the past decade; continuing this trend, chip manufacturers IDT and Radisys are shutting down their manufacturing facilities in Hillsboro and moving them overseas to Asia (Hsuan A4). The major impact of this trend can be summarized by IEEE USA!s March 2004 position statement on off shore outsourcing:
The offshoring of high wage jobs from the United States to lower cost overseas loca-

tions is currently contributing to unprecedented levels of unemployment among American electrical, electronics and computer engineers. Offshoring also poses a very serious, long term challenge to the nation's leadership in technology and innovation, its economic prosperity, and its military and homeland security. Job outlook data exhibits a high variance when viewed in the short-term. Long term outlooks published by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, BLS, state lower rates of growth. The data from these 10-year outlooks must also be viewed with caution. The current job growth predicted in 2008 for EEs by the BLS is 4%. However, data from 2006 states the job growth at 10%. This is evidence of the rapid fluctuations in the industry. This data combined with the effects of off shoring lead to the conclusions that there are a decrease in the number of jobs available to EEs. These conditions will increase competition for jobs amongst graduating EE students.

Salary Analysis
The amount of money received for employment can be based on many factors; such as experience level, skills, or job type. A salary analysis can be used to help a job seeker evaluate how much they should be getting paid and determine what skills, experience, and education they need to obtain a desired salary. Salary data based on the experience level, industry, and job title is presented below.

Experience Level
Figure 3 shows the average salary based on experience of an electrical engineer. It stands to reason that the more experience an engineer has, the greater their income would be. The average salary increase per year over a ten year career period is $5,937. However, this is not a linear trend. The greatest salary gains are made in the rst ve years of an engineers career, after that the salary rate increases at a slower rate.

Education Level
Employers will hire an entry level person with a master!s degree at a higher salary than a bachelors degree (Shadwell 6). An engineer with a masters degree makes $20,000 more than one with a bachelors; while a doctorate earns $6,000 more than the masters (McSherry 24).

7 $120,000.00 $90,000.00 $60,000.00 $30,000.00 $0

0-2

2-4

4-6

6-8

8 - 10

Years of Experience
Figure 3! " " Mean Salary vs. Years of Experience for an Electrical Engineer <http://swz.salary.com>

Salaries by Industry
The top 5 industries for average base salary earnings are listed below (McSherry 21): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. ICs and semi-conductors........................................$117,945 Computer systems/boards/peripherals/software....$110,320 Software.................................................................$107,354 Avionics/Marine/Space...........................................$100,849 Communications systems/equipment.......................$98,246

Salary by Job Title


A list of common electrical engineering job titles and their average base salaries are listed below (McSherry 20): Manufacturing/Production Engineer.........................$61,363 Test Engineer............................................................$73,435 Design Engineer........................................................$85,461 Applications/Systems Engineer.................................$97,424 Lead Engineer.........................................................$107,284

The job titles that earn a higher salary are associated with positions that presumably require more years of experience. However, that is not to say that all entry level EEs will work as manufacturing or production engineers. The entry level engineer should expect to earn a little less than half of the most senior engineer and possibly be put into job titles with less responsibility

Skills Analysis
Knowing the skills employers are looking for and attaining them is a key element in gaining employment. These skills are identied as being in demand by the industries of electrical engineering. It is clear that industry demands engineering graduates who know how to organize and carry out real-world design efforts (Sommers, Engbretson 1). Also, engineers can boost their employability by focusing on in-demand skills in areas that tend to be overlooked (Edwards 1). Information in this analysis can be used by job seekers to evaluate their skills prole.

Skills in Demand
The following have been identied as the top ve skills tolerant to volatile job market uctuations (Edwards 1-4). 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Analog Design Radiation Hardening Programming: C, C++, C#, .NET, Java, Linux (Hsu) Radio Frequency Engineering Digital Signal Processing

Most undergraduate electrical engineering educations only touch upon the topics and skills listed above. Although a student may favor one area of specialty, it is to their benet to acquire skills they can fall back on when no jobs they want are available.

Skills Gap of EE Graduates


Undergraduate electrical engineering curriculums are focused on teaching fundamental skills to student; there exists a gap between these skills and those required by the industry. For example, such a gap exists in the eld of RF engineering, where there is a shortage of industry ready graduates (Choo 180). Skills where a gap exists are listed below. Design It has been found at Syracuse University that senior level engineering students are confused by the design process (Sommers and Enbgbretson 1). Schools cannot teach specic design methods. It is largely up to the individual to stay current with design work and new technologies (Jankowski 7). One method for acquiring skills is by integrating the knowledge you are learning in school to design projects that result in a nished product (Shadwell 5). Business Skills, Leadership and Management There is a gap between engineering curriculums and industry management and leadership skills (Ferreras). Additional skills lacking in this are from graduates are budgeting, time management, team leadership, and communication skills (Jankowski 7). Project management and marketing research are skills that engineers can benet from having (Hsu)

CONCLUSION
Summary of Findings
Geographic data states that the highest concentration of EE jobs are on the East and West coastal regions of the United States in states such as California and New York. The computer and electronics manufacturing industry hires the most EEs. The job growth outlook is below the national average (Bureau of Labor and Statistics). However, there are emerging industries, such as renewable energy engineering, that are growing at a faster rate. The highest paid EEs work in the semiconductor industry. Data was found that supports the idea that most students lack essential industry skills; such as product design and general business management.

Interpretation of Findings
Electrical engineering students that understand the state of the industry are at a competitive advantage over those that do not. A thorough understanding of the skills required by the industry and what industry requires them is essential to competing for entry level positions in companies. Although many students will have to take it upon themselves to learn these skills; those that do will have an advantage over their peers.

Recommendations
It is believed that the information contained in this analysis would be of great interest to most students pursuing an electrical engineering degree. The following steps are recommended to make this information available to the student body and faculty:

1. Publish a job market analysis for EE students every three years containing
similar categories to this report and possibly additional ones. This report could be accessible via. OIT!s student website or summarized in pamphlet format.

2. A monthly seminar or workshop series sponsored by ASOIT or local industry.


These monthly sessions would host working electrical engineers in various elds. These sessions would allow students to ask questions and learn real world skills in an informal and friendly setting.

3. Independent study courses that give student!s credit for completing design
projects. These courses would be available apart from the senior capstone project. In addition, a credit system for internships could be initiated.

Benets
The recommendations listed above have the potential to increase the skills and industry readiness of electrical engineers graduating from OIT. Residual benets are increased reputation of Oregon Institute of Technology as a leader in producing industry ready graduates and increased enrollment of students into its engineering programs.

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WORKS CITED
Bastian, Phillip. On the grid: Careers in energy. " Occupational Outlook Quarterly 52.2 (2008): 33-41. Choo, W.H.; Kawasaki, M.; Kung, F. RF and Microwave Conference, 2008. RFM 2008. IEEE International Volume , Issue , 2-4 Dec. 2008 Page(s):180 - 183 Edwards, John. Top Ten Design Skills for Tough Times. " Electronic Design 19 Nov. 2008 Ferreras, A.; Crumpton-Young, L.; Rabelo, L.; Williams, K.; Furterer, S., "Work in Pro" " gress: Developing a Curriculum that Teaches Engineering Leadership & " " " Management Principles to High Performing Students," " Frontiers in Education Conference, 36th Annual, p.7-8, 27-31 Oct. 2006 Hoffman, Winfried. "PV solar electricity industry: Market growth and perspective." Solar " " Energy Materials & Solar Cells 90.18/19 (23 Nov 2006): 3285-3311. Hsu, D.K., "Retraining Engineers for New Skills and Getting Jobs in a Modern World," " " Meeting the Growing Demand for Engineers and Their Educators 2010-2020 " International Summit, 2007 IEEE , vol.50 p.1-11, 9-11 Nov. 2007 Hsuan, Amy, Ted Sickinger. IDT soon to make it!s chips in Taiwan. " The Oregonian 11 Aug. 2009., A1, A4. IEEE USA Position: Offshore Outsourcing. Mar. 2004. " <http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/POSITIONS/offshoring.html> Jankowski, Cecilia. Engineering as a profession: expectations and realities. " IEEE Potentials May./June. 2006: 5,6,17. Kimes, Mina. Now Hiring(Seriously). Fortune. 3/2/209, Vol. 159 Issue 4, p.14 McSherry, Jay. EEs Join The Six-Figure Club. " Electronic Design 19 Oct. 2007, p. 19-30. Meckler, Laura, and Stephen Power. "Obama Ties Energy to Prosperity." " Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition 253.14 (17 Jan. 2009): A4 U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan 2008

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U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment "" " Statistics.17-2072 Electronics Engineers, Except Computer May 2008 " <http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172072.htm> Schneiderman, Ron. The Future of Engineering. Electronic Design 10 Oct. 2006, " p. 45-54. " Selinger, Carl. Learning Where the Jobs Are. IEEE Spectrum Feb. 2006: 59-61. Shadwell, Butch. EE Career Strategies Begin With Education. " IEEE Potentials. Nov./Dec. 2006: 5,6,17. Sommers, D.R.; Engbretson, G., "Teaching "Real-World" Design in the Classroom," " " Meeting the Growing Demand for Engineers and Their Educators " 2010-2020 International Summit, 2007 IEEE , vol.50 Papers, no., pp. 1-8, 9-11 " " Nov. 2007 Teschler, Leland. Good News Bad News: A labor shortage, but not for engineers " " Machine Design; 7/23/2009, Vol. 81 Issue 14, p8 Wagman, David. A Challenge to Our Industry Power Engineering " June 2006: 5.