Confidence Among Engineering Professionals Dips in Mid-year 2015
ATLANTA, Oct. 22, 2015
— The Randstad Engineering
Employee Confidence Index (ECI), a measure of overall confidence among U.S. engineers, declined in mid-year 2015 to 56.9, a six-point decrease from 62.9 at the end of 2014. The online survey, conducted by Harris Poll, finds only 3 in 10 engineering professionals (30%) believe the economy is getting stronger, while 44 percent feel it is getting weaker.
When it comes to the overall job market, less than one-third (27%) of engineering workers say they believe more jobs available in mid-year 2015, while just over half (57%) indicate they are confident in their ability to find a new job. However, in regards to personal job security, the engineering workforce remains very confident. Nearly 8 in 10 engineering professionals (78%) say it is unlikely they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months, with only eight percent saying the opposite.
The national employment landscape for the engineering sector is tepid and may be contributing to engineers’ waning confidence. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September 2015 Employment Situation Summary
, engineering job growth remained relatively flat with a 0.2 percent decline from August 2015. Another industry report from TechServe Alliance, the trade association of the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry, reports that engineering jobs edged up 0.02 percent in September from August and 0.7 percent year-over-year, adding 18,500 engineering workers since September 2014 and totaling more than 2.5 million U.S. engineering jobs.
“The results of our mid-year Engineering Employee Confidence Index are a mixed bag. While engineers’ overall confidence levels are dipping, their feelings about job security and the future of their current employers remain quite strong,” said Richard Zambacca, president of Randstad Engineering. “These divergent sentiments reflect the landscape of the engineering sector thus far in 2015, which shows some engineering skills are in very high demand and others in decline based on macroeconomic trends and emerging manufacturing technologies.”
Zambacca continued, “For example, while engineering jobs as a whole have grown 7 percent from 2010 to 2014, several specialized engineering occupations experienced double-digit growth during that time. This includes mining and geological engineers (12%), biomedical engineers (10%) and industrial engineers (10%). Mechanical engineering has added the most jobs among all occupations, gaining 21,500 new positions since 2010. Additionally, advanced-manufacturing technologies are fueling higher growth for engineers with robotics skills. Boston Consulting Group estimates the portion of tasks performed by robots in manufacturing will increase from 10 percent to 25 percent worldwide by 2025. Demand for skilled robotics workers in manufacturing increased 43 percent from February 2014 to February 2015, and industrial and mechanical engineers were the highest in demand in that category.
“In other engineering occupations, demand has weakened. For petroleum engineering, one of the fastest-growing engineering fields over the past few years, the oil slump has caused employment within the sector to slow. The price of oil is down by more than 40 percent since June of last year, resulting in decreased employment at U.S. energy companies by 6,800 jobs and by more than 30,000 jobs at energy-services companies so far this year.”
Mid-year 2015 Survey Highlights:
Engineers’ confidence in strength of economy low
• In mid-year 2015, only 30 percent of engineers say they believe the economy is getting stronger, while 44 percent say they believe it’s getting weaker.
Few engineers believe there are more jobs available
• Only 27 percent of engineers say they believe there are more jobs available, and 57 percent say they are confident in their ability to find a new job.
Confidence in employers’ futures remains steady
• While overall ECI declined in mid-year 2015 from year-end 2014, 55 percent of engineers still say they are confident in the future of their current employer.
Majority of engineers intend to remain at current job
• The vast majority of engineers (78%) say it is unlikely they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad Engineering from January 13-15, March 11-13, April 15-17 and June 9-11, 2015 among 3,978 participants ages 18 and older, of which 113 are employed in engineering. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Industry-level ECI estimates referenced prior to 2015 were based on six monthly waves of aggregated data. The mid-year and year-end industry ECI estimates in 2015 are computed using four waves of periodic data collected across the indicated time frame. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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