Scientific and engineering jobs on the rebound across the country


Scientific and engineering jobs on the rebound across the country
Scientific and engineering jobs on the rebound across the country

After suffering from the financial downturn a few years ago, many scientific and engineering fields are rebounding, bringing with them plenty of jobs focused in a wide variety of regions across the country.

After a few uncertain years following the financial downturn, the industry is in its recovery stages, according to Chemical and Engineering News. While Boston, San Francisco, San Diego and New York City all remain as bioscience employment hubs, new figures point to employment trends expanding through the center of the country. Almost half of all emerging life sciences firms are springing up in the Midwest, bringing newfound demand to Chicago, Cleveland, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indianapolis, among others. With them comes new hiring demand - chemists and chemical engineers are highly sought-after in new industries including clean technology, biofuels and green chemistry, according to the Department of Energy.

Hiring is becoming more divested across the entire nation, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council Tom Still told the news source. From 2007 to 2010, biosciences jobs grew by 5 percent in the state of Wisconsin, for example. Chemistry positions comprise a large portion of these jobs, from bachelor's-level local chemists to Ph.D-level workers around the country. Similar success stories are cropping up around the nation, from Wisconsin to Montana to South Dakota.

California still tops for engineering
Despite the growth in nationwide engineering and scientific employment, California remains most prominent when considering the entire country, according to the Los Angeles Times. The state has represented nearly 14 percent of all jobs for the national engineering and science workforce in 2011, with more than 786,000 employees total in the state. In comparison, two states that rank close - Texas and New York - could not quite combine to reach that total.

Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Diego, combined, provide at least one in ten of the nation's total employees, to push things further. Individual disciplines all worked to back up these figures - in biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, computer sciences and engineering, the state of California ranked high in all cases. Los Angeles, in particular, saw significant levels of employment across the entire industry.

Much of this region's prominence of employment comes from being seen as a desirable location for workers to advance in the industry, as a recent National Science Foundation report notes.

"The availability of a skilled workforce is an important predictor of a region's population, productivity, and technological growth," the NSF report's authors wrote. "Workers with S&E expertise are an integral part of a region's innovative capacities because of their high levels of skill, creative ideas, and contributions to scientific knowledge and R&D."

Additional bright science spots
In addition to engineering and bioscience jobs, there are a select few other disciplines also seeing great demand and job growth. Geoscientists, especially petroleum engineers, are one such field, according to Science Magazine. Citing a 2011 report on the status of geoscience workers, there will likely be heavy demand for as many as 30,000 geoscientists by 2018, many of them being in the oil and gas industries. Many current workers are expected to retire in the next ten to twenty years. Quality candidates in the geosciences will soon be highly regarded by employers - academia will see a slightly smaller amount of demand, though the field is soon to see new opportunities as current workers begin retiring.

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