FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. — Population growth and an overhaul of existing infrastructure are making the civil engineering profession popular, said American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) President-elect Andy Hermann, echoing a national survey that predicts strong growth in the profession.
“One of the reasons the civil engineering professions are listed in the Best Jobs in America report is the satisfaction received from seeing civil engineers’ work become reality and actually improve our social, environmental and economic condition and protect the public,” Hermann told The Zweig Letter, ZweigWhite’s weekly management publication. “The median income of a civil engineer is $85,000, according to BLS. The anticipated growth also is a reflection of the backlog of demand in the infrastructure sector based upon the economic slowdown and the focus on residential and commercial sectors.”
The report by MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com used Bureau of Labor Statistics growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs, identified industries with the biggest increases in jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees, and ranked them by 2008-18 growth and pay.
Civil engineers are expected to have employment growth of 24 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the report.
Environmental engineers are also expected to have growth higher than the average for all occupations, 31 percent during the next decade, according to BLS figures. Environmental engineers ranked number five on the report.
Jeremy Clarke, ZweigWhite’s director of executive search consulting, feels the environmental engineering profession is seeing significant momentum worldwide because companies want to be branded as good stewards of the environment.
“Sustainability is today what dot-com was in the late ‘90s, and the job market reflects that,” he said.
Hermann said ASCE’s internal data also suggested the increasing need for engineers. The ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, an assessment by professional engineers of the status of the nation’s infrastructure, assigned an average grade of “D” for 11 of 15 categories of infrastructure.
“Civil engineers are needed in all 15 categories…. With 11 “Ds” and four “Cs,” there is a lot of room for improvement,” Hermann told The Zweig Letter. “In addition to water and the environment, transportation and energy are also categories that need improvement.
“Many civil engineers work in the public infrastructure area — designing, building, and maintaining roads, rail, pipelines, water and sewer treatment, et cetera,” he added. “With our growing population and considering that much of our infrastructure is aging and overused, there is a demand to repair and replace this infrastructure. This will be accelerated in the near future as the economy recovers (because our economy is fueled by our ability to move goods and people and provide adequate water). Over the past two years, with tax revenue down, infrastructure projects have been put on hold in many places, so there is also a latent demand. Once revenues start picking up, so will the infrastructure work.”
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