Engineering Jobs: How Picky Do You Want To Be?

Nancy Anderson
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It's not often in this economy that a jobs board writer can utter the following, but it's true: if you are looking for an engineering job and can't find one, it may be a case of geography, rather than the overall jobs market.

Those with any level of experience in the field are in high demand, in places like Colorado's Front Range, Silicon Valley and in any number of areas like San Diego and upstate New York where greentech programs and alternative energy projects have gotten significant government funding.

Why You Might Not Be Finding Your Dream Engineering Job

It's really a matter of numbers and location. In 2008, the Detroit News notes that 150,000 engineering jobs with great payrates went unfilled because employers couldn't find qualified candidates for jobs paying more than $60,000.

When you consider that recruiters report that 80 percent of applicants are unqualified for the jobs for which they're applying, you may be wondering why you don't have job offers pouring in.

Open Up Your Geographical Boundaries

We don't mean that you have to move. It's certainly recommended if you want career security in fields that have been blessed with a large amount of public and private sector investment. But by keeping your job search to say, an hour of where you live, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

One option to bridge the gap, especially if familial or other factors are keeping you at home, is the possibility of working off site. A number of employers, including those listing engineering jobs on our boards, are willing to consider applicants who have the right expertise, but would be working from home or only occasionally traveling for meetings.

Otherwise, you may need to consider what areas of the country offer you the best benefits outside of work. If sun and sand are appealing, sticking where you are in Middle America is going to harm you two ways. So, too, is staying in a big city if county governments nearby are making the biggest investments in supporting new technology ventures.

Follow Companies That Are Moving

Another tack to take may include following companies that move their bases of operation based on favorable tax incentives. A company in New York might move to New Jersey because of incentives for new office construction.

One great example is for engineers who live in Illinois. Navistar is expected to create 500 engineering jobs in DuPage County after moving from neighboring Indiana. Chicago Breaking Business reports that the company is creating a $110 million facility in the suburban Chicago area.

Key Takeaways: Flexibility

Engineers are in demand and will continue to enjoy that luxury because of the growth in healthcare IT, green technology and other fields. By keeping options open for locations and the possibility of off-site work, engineering job seekers could find a payday unlike those in almost any other sector.

[Image courtesy Alexis Madrigal via Flickr]

By: John Curran
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