What You Need to Know about Current Engineering Demographics

Jonathan HuydaJonathan Huyda | Fri, Aug 04, 2017

If you’re responsible for hiring engineers, you need to keep up with demographics in the industry. When you’re aware of the demographics, you can recruit the engineers you need more easily. Here’s what you need to know about some of the current engineering demographics in Canada.

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Engineers Are Retiring en Masse

As you may have heard, Canada’s population is greying. There are now more seniors than children in the country, and that’s a problem for hiring managers in many sectors. As the population gets older, the average age of people in the engineering field increases. As time goes on, more and more engineers will retire. You’ll need to scramble to replace your highly talented engineers as they retire.

In Canada, engineers are typically between 30 and 55 years old, though this varies based on the field and the province. Civil engineers, for example, have a higher average age in Canada. In British Columbia, these engineers are an average of 50 years old, while in Manitoba, they’re an average of 48 years old. In Ontario, civil engineers are a comparatively youthful 42 years old.

Engineering managers are essential for your operations, but they have a high average age, too. In Ontario, engineering managers are an average of 49 years old, while they’re 48 years old in British Columbia. The youngest engineering managers are found in Newfoundland and Labrador, but they’re still 45 years old. The average age of engineering managers is expected to increase in all provinces over the next ten years. By 2025, they’ll be an average of 49 to 50 years old, depending on the province.

Demand for Engineers Will Outstrip Supply

Many engineers will be retiring in the coming years, but there aren’t enough younger engineers to replace them. In the next decade, Canada will be short 100,000 engineers. Canadian universities are trying to keep up. In 2015, there were 81,287 engineering students enrolled in undergraduate programs. That’s an increase of 32 percent from 2010.

Still, there won’t be enough engineers to go around. Companies will need to work even harder to recruit top engineers. To attract top talent, you may need to promise higher salaries or more diversified benefits. Or, you may need to offer a culture of career advancement to entice new engineers to choose your company over your competitors.

Some Skills Will Be Hard to Find

By the time the members of your engineering team retire, they’ll have accumulated many skills. These skills were learned through years of on-the-job experience. When these professionals retire, you may have trouble finding engineers with those same skillsets. While young engineers are qualified to start work after receiving their university degrees, it’s impossible for them to have all the experience retirees have. Of course, they’ll gain the experience and skills over the course of their careers, but that doesn’t help hiring managers now.

To find the specialized skills you need, you may have to widen your search for engineering candidates. This could include turning to candidates from other provinces or even other countries. If you’re used to recruiting locally, having to widen your search can be a big change. The methods you currently use to find engineers, like asking for referrals or going to local networking events, may not work as well.

To gain access to a wider network of candidates, consider turning to an engineering recruiting agency. Recruiters work tirelessly to find talented engineers, and they can find professionals you can’t. For example, they could have a network of engineers from across Canada, while you’re more limited to your local area. With this larger network, it’s easier for recruiters to locate engineers with hard-to-find skills.

The Essential Guide to Hiring Engineers

Jonathan Huyda

Jonathan is the Managing Director at Ian Martin. His goal at work is to take clients’ staffing problems and find ways to make them go ‘poof’. When not recruiting that next great hire, he can be found working on jigsaw puzzles or checking the scores in his fantasy pools.

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