Engineering is a weak profession

Career prospects for engineers

In recent years, engineers have been able to look forward to a good job market with a large number of jobs. Despite the growing number of graduates, the unemployment rate is lower than in almost any other occupational group. The consequence of the sustained positive economic development in the high-tech and science sectors, as well as the shortage of skilled workers, results in rosy career prospects for the searching engineer.

The number of job advertisements requesting an engineering degree also continued to rise. Due to these prospects, places in engineering disciplines are much more in demand. As a result, the number of new enrollments at technical colleges and universities rose sharply.

The job market for engineers

In addition to the classic jobs for engineering areas such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering, there are also many jobs for engineers in environmental, safety, medical and materials technology as well as industrial engineers on the job market. If you look at the job advertisements according to their regional breakdown, the western federal states are particularly often searched for. The majority of engineers work in the industrial sector. Only around 4% work in the public sector.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge of the respective engineering subject, graduates need a particularly broad technical basic knowledge, which can be further developed in the company through individual and specific further training to the respective requirements and products of the company. In addition to technical skills, knowledge in the economic field is particularly welcome. The main task of engineers in their job is to find solutions to technical problems that are as efficient as possible. This requires technical understanding, detailed knowledge of the application area and creativity in order to develop innovative solutions.

The question of whether the study reform with regard to Bachelor and Master degrees compared to the long-established Dipl.-Ing. has now prevailed on the labor market, is difficult to answer, as 70% of Bachelor graduates directly follow the Master’s course. According to the Association of German Engineers (VDI), Bachelor graduates are welcome on the job market.

Classic branches in engineering

Classic industries in which engineers have a job are e.g. B. Vehicle construction, tool technology, civil engineering and materials technology. When they hear the word engineer, many people first think of mechanical engineers. This is not surprising, because mechanical and plant engineering currently employs the greatest number of engineers and is therefore Germany's number one engineering employer.

mechanical engineering

In 2019, the machine and system builders received an average annual salary of around € 65,000. Classic areas in the job are the design and production of machines of all kinds. Be it in drive and conveyor technology, in agriculture or energy or in mining. The fields of activity in the job of mechanical engineers have become a lot more diverse in the last few decades. Optical technologies, robotics, microsystem technology, measurement and control technology as well as aerospace technology are just a few examples of many. Graduates from the field of mechanical engineering have a wide range of options - it is worthwhile to find out about all career paths at an early stage and to set the course in the desired direction during your studies.

Electrical engineering

Electrical engineering is considered the engineering discipline with the greatest interdisciplinarity. Whether information and communication technology, electricity industry, mechanical engineering, process, vehicle, environmental and medical technology, or aerospace technology - electrical engineering is a key technology and is indispensable in order to keep pace with the progress and requirements of today . Innovations such as electromobility, smart grids, microtechnology and embedded systems are inconceivable without today's well-trained electrical engineers. Due to the cooperation with the numerous other departments, locations and countries, the ability to work in a team is not an obsolete buzzword for electrical engineers, but is essential in the job. Electrical engineers have the best chances on the job market when they appear as team players specializing in future technologies and are interested in creative problem solving. According to VDI, engineers were able to achieve an average annual income of € 64,700 in 2019.

process technology

Process engineering is the engineering subject most closely related to natural sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology. Process engineering originally comes from the chemical industry. Therefore there is a lot of overlap with the fields of activity of a chemical engineer. The classic fields of activity in the job of a process engineer include all areas of the mechanical engineering industry, but also pharmaceutical, chemical, food, medical, energy and environmental technology. High-growth high-tech areas such as bio- and nanotechnology are particularly innovative. Process engineering is ideally suited for problem solvers who want to apply both scientific and technical knowledge.

Vehicle technology

The automotive industry is one of the classic engineering industries. The job description has changed a lot in recent years and clearly stands out from pure vehicle construction. The construction of vehicles is increasingly taking place on the PC and no longer on the drawing board, and the passenger cells are now miniature computers, the development of which requires engineering knowledge at the highest level. In vehicle technology, typical employers are automobile manufacturers, agricultural and construction vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, but also all companies involved in ship and rail vehicle construction. Graduates of the automotive courses are therefore increasingly open to positions in which economic issues have a very high priority. These include B. engineering service providers, consulting companies, insurance companies as well as testing and approval bodies. Regardless of the position, according to VDI, engineers in the automotive industry will have an average annual income of € 72,000 in 2018.

Industries of the future

Innovations are the future of the industrial and high-tech sectors. According to VDE z. B. Biomedical engineering as future technology. Innovations in this area are based on the creativity and performance of excellently trained specialists in the field of biomedical technology, engineering and natural sciences as well as medical professionals. So if you like to work in an interdisciplinary way and want to focus your innovative spirit on health care, you should consider biomedical technology as a field of work.

Therefore, in addition to the classic industries, it is also worth taking a look at industries in the field of chemical technology, pharmaceutical technology, environmental technology, plant construction and biotechnology. These industrial sectors provide an exciting job market for engineers who would like to think and work in an interdisciplinary manner.

The big innovation questions of today also provide career prospects for engineers: Whether it is about securing the energy supply while taking climate change into account through renewable energies or intelligent power distribution and storage. Another interesting topic is the demographic development and the associated requirements in the healthcare sector - also in robotics. You could also worry about how cybercrime can be defeated in the future. These are just a few examples of what new technology requires. This is where the innovative strength of the engineers is required.

Applications for engineers

The areas of application for engineers in a company are diverse and run through all areas of the company. The decision in which division of the company the career should start is the first step in setting the course for the future in the job and the specific career path. If you already have a good idea of ​​your professional career, you should try to join the relevant department such as research & development, production, construction, purchasing, assembly, quality management, sales, or product or project management. For others, the entry via the coveted trainee position is an opportunity to get to know different areas of the company right at the beginning of their career path.

Income for engineers

According to the VDI, the salaries of engineers have developed positively in the past year despite the weak economy. In 2019, the average engineering income rose by around 0.8% to € 64,550 per year. The starting salary for graduates remained stable at around € 48,000 per year.

In addition, according to the VDI, the starting salaries of engineers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries are the highest. In 2019, graduates in this industry earned an average of € 76,700.

When it comes to engineers, the differences in income between women and men are no longer serious these days. While the salary difference across all occupational groups is around 21%, according to the VDI, men in the engineering professions earned only around 4.6% more than their female colleagues with comparable qualifications.

Engineers often ask about the earning potential in their own industry. To this end, we have put together extensive information, salary figures and developments for you in the article "Remuneration in the industry".

Specialized job exchanges such as jobvector are available to find out about current job advertisements. Recruiting and industry fairs can also offer exciting career prospects. Use specialist portals and trade fairs such as the jobvector career days, which specialize in your degree program and the desired industry.

Engineers who are currently or in the near future looking for a job can look to the future with optimism. The job market offers you many interesting career prospects and entry opportunities.

From a regional perspective, engineers in the Nuremberg metropolitan area earn the most with an average of € 64,600. This is mainly due to the fact that some large companies such as Deutsche Bahn, Continental and Siemens are based in Nuremberg.

Summary of the career prospects for engineers:

  • The career prospects for engineers are currently very good
  • ƒExciting development opportunities in sectors such as: medical technology, chemical technology, environmental technology, plant engineering and pharmaceuticals
  • Engineer salaries continued to rise
  • Expertise from engineers in research and development is in demand, but also in production, sales and quality assurance
  • Innovation questions provide new career prospects for engineers