Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University

Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University

October 24, 2005 10:00 ET

Engineers Wanted: Ontario Firms Look to Hire Engineers and Graduates

Survey shows Ontario engineering employers planning to hire engineers and engineering graudates Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Education Editor, News Editor, Science Editor HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 24, 2005) - A survey of organizations in Ontario employing engineers found that almost 70 per cent of respondents plan to hire engineers in the coming year and that almost 80 per cent of those plan to hire engineering graduates.

"This will be music to the ears of engineering students and recent graduates," said Mo Elbestawi, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University. "The survey confirms what we know anecdotally. Firms are counting on engineers to lead innovation and stimulate growth by developing new products, advancing product design, and finding technical solutions in a range of fields from manufacturing to computing to the environment to medicine."

More than 47 per cent of survey respondents indicated that they were hiring to meet longer-term growth demands. Over 32 per cent indicated that it was for renewal or to replace existing positions. Eighteen per cent were hiring to respond to changing skill requirements and six per cent to meet short-term needs.*

Sixty-four per cent of respondents indicated that engineering design was an emerging development that would have the most impact on their organization; 46% said software developments; 36% said environmental regulations; and 28% technology transfer. Other responses included: commercialization (17%), computational engineering (17%), public policy (12%), mechatronics (11%), and nanotechnology (6%).

"It's essential that educators, employers and the profession get the word out to students that engineering is redefining the economy and society they live in and that they can make a real difference," said Elbestawi. "There are careers waiting for enterprising men and women in both traditional and emerging areas of engineering such as software, entertainment, the environment, mechatronics and biomedical engineering. We're introducing new programs in all these areas at McMaster."

As to the skills and qualities organizations look for when hiring a graduate, related work experience gained through such programs as co-op and internships ranked 99 per cent. This was followed by soft skills (leadership, teamwork, collaboration) at 94 per cent, specialized knowledge (93%), high marks (84%), and post-graduate education (74%).

More than 79 per cent of respondents said they hired students for co-op or internship work terms.

Of the respondents planning to hire, 79.4 per cent plan to hire recent engineering graduates (i.e. have less than the four years work experience required to qualify as a P.Eng.). 96.4 per cent of these organizations plan to hire graduates with a Bachelor's degree, 35.7% with a Master's degree and 15.2% with a Ph.D.

The survey was conducted by the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University between July 21 and August 26 of this year. The purpose of the study was to better understand the engineering hiring plans of Ontario organizations, and the skills and knowledge they will require in future. Personnel and human resource managers, owners, senior executives, and engineering managers at 760 organizations in Ontario employing engineers were surveyed. The results are considered accurate plus or minus 7.5 per cent 19 out of 20 times.

Survey Highlights:

- 69% of respondents forecasted hiring engineers in the next 12 months; 62% forecast hiring in three years

- 47% of respondents hiring to meet longer-term growth demands; 32% for renewal or replacement; 18% to respond to changing skill requirements; 6% for short-term needs*

- Of the respondents hiring, 79.4% plan to hire recent engineering graduates (i.e. have less than the four years work experience required to qualify as a P.Eng.)

- 96.4% of organizations plan to hire graduates with a Bachelor's degree, 35.7% with a Master's degree and 15.2% with a Ph.D.*

- Organizations forecasted hiring from 1 to 100 engineers in the next 12 months with an average of 6.5 to 7.2 estimated hires per organization

- Engineering employment shows growth: 82% of respondents employed fewer (33%) or the same (49%) number of engineers one year ago, versus 17% employing more. One per cent don't know.

- Types of engineers organizations plan to hire*:
- Mechanical (59.5%)
- Electrical (46.3%)
- Software (27.3%)
- Computer (26.4%)
- Chemical (24.8%)
- Civil (17.4%)
- Materials and metallurgical (15.7%)
- Environmental (11.6%)
- Engineering physics (8.3%)
- Biomedical engineering (3.3%)

- 66.2% indicated that awareness of the societal impact of engineering was important (28.6%), very important (21.8%) or essential (15.8%) in engineers they hired.

* Totals do not always add up to 100 per cent as respondents are allowed to provide multiple answers to some questions.
/For further information: Gene Nakonechny
Manager, Public Relations
Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 26781
genen@mcmaster.ca
/ IN: ECONOMY, EDUCATION, LABOUR, TECHNOLOGY

Contact Information

  • Gene Nakonechny, Manager, Public Relations, Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University
    Primary Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 26781
    E-mail: genen@mcmaster.ca