Another Civil Engineering Shortage

Here we go again?  During the recession of the 1990’s, college students turned away from civil engineering and entered markets that assurred them jobs following graduation.  Again after 9/11 civil engineering programs showed a decline in students. Both of those points in time brought us to a shortage of civil engineers during this decade. Are we heading there again?

As of March of 2008  civil engineering student enrollment was up across the states. With the failing US infrastructure, it appeared that students flocked to civil engineering undergraduate programs. One would think they would have been guaranteed a job. However, with our recession, civil engineering graduates report low employer turnout on college interviewing days. The overall job market is touted as the worst since the Great Depression. One student in the Civil Engineering Central group on LINKEDIN even offered to work for free!

Will incoming freshman students opt for other engineering discipline studies? Ten years from now will the civil engineering community find a gap in experienced engineers with 6-8 years of experience? I don’t think so.

Employers are slowly increasing their staffing outlook. Civil engineers are needed now more than ever. Transportation, water, environmental and federal programs continue to climb to the top of the contract ladder.

To quote from my favorite video from the UK Institute of Civil Engineers:

“Throughout history, it is civil engineers that have shaped and improved our lives and our environment.”

Creative, thoughtful students interested in “building a better world” will find a career awaiting them.

By Carol Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

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One Comment

  1. Well I do agree about the shortage of engineers. We also have a problem with graduate engineers not being up to par with other engineers that have come out of higher ranking centers of learning. Then throw in the fact that those standards here are not the same ones adopted in other countries. My son who is in the medical provider field asked me this question and he answered it too. “What do you call a doctor that graduated at the bottom of his class.?” Doctor was the answer. Well I think that about says it all. If something is going to happen that I am not supportive of like a world economy, standards are going to have to be proposed in everything and that includes education. We also have to knock down those that get multi million dollar bonuses for doing next to nothing and raise up those that shape the world with ideas, creations and actual projects. They deserve better and that means more. I’m saying this from the standpoint of not being an engineer but one that helps to shape future engineers as a SolidWorks Instructor at college. I’m also supposed to be retired.

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