Aerospace, aviation and automotive get all the attention when mechanical engineers are looking to build their careers. But there’s ample opportunity outside of the big three. We know this because Aerotek has placed more mechanical engineers than any other recruiting company in North America.
For example, if you’re looking to grow your career quickly, you can find the most opportunity in eight industries. Do you know if your industry is one of them?
We spoke with our recruiting experts across 13 different industries to see what you should know when plotting your next career move.
In aerospace and defense, you get to work on projects that take people to new worlds, open up the next step in a scientific study, shape humanity and contribute to the safety of our nation.
The aerospace industry has a lot of crossover with aviation, but many skills from the automotive industry can transfer to aerospace, too. Why? Robotics. Basically, everything being sent to space is a robot, and automotive engineers have this experience.
Not everything about this industry involves going to space. Many engineers are attracted to defense jobs because they want to protect our country. Companies in this industry like to include military veterans in their pipeline because many of their skills translate well in the civilian sector.
This is the most exciting time in the automotive industry since the invention of the car. With electrification and autonomous vehicles, there’s a lot of money going into product development. From startups to big tech, everyone wants a piece of the pie, which means more demand for talented engineers.
The automotive industry is ever-changing and fast-faced, with tight deadlines. The vehicles being produced now must be powerful, efficient, aesthetically pleasing and, of course, they must sell.
Engineers who go into this field usually already have a passion for cars. If that sounds like you — there’s no better time to than now to make your mark.
The only thing cooler than flying on an airplane is designing one. You get to create something that leaves the ground, goes from zero to Mach 2, and travels thousands of miles, landing safely in a whole new location. If that gets your blood pumping, make sure your Catia skills are sharp because the aviation industry is where you need to be.
Aviation is a challenging and complex industry, and the competitive pay reflects that. The work keeps you sharp and you’ll always be pushing yourself to surpass previous limitations. You’ll never utter the phrase “I’m bored” in an aviation job.
Another draw to aviation is the job stability: There’s always a market for airplanes. And imagine, you could look up and possibly see something you designed flying above.
Mechanical engineers in the biotech and pharma industry go to work and impact people’s lives for the better. It’s that simple — and that powerful.Biotech and pharma mechanical engineers are the support mechanism to ensure everything goes right in the manufacturing, facility, quality, functionality and automation processes of gene therapies, drugs and medicines. Choosing this industry means you get to leave work every day knowing your work helped save or enhance people’s lives
What do paint, pills and pesticide have in common? A lot. They’re all created in chemical manufacturing plants, and they all require specific conditions and high safety standards. Mechanical engineers play a big role in developing processes and maintaining conditions to get these products made efficiently and correctly.
The chemical manufacturing industry is great if you’re excited by process and flow and you possess high attention to detail. If you’ve been nodding your head along with those attributes, this is an industry to explore.
Construction is fast-paced, with hard deadlines and tight budgets. So, before you read any more, see if you are comfortable answering these two questions: Can you get projects done on time? And, do you enjoy figuring out how to save or make your money for your company? If these questions didn’t give you pause, then you’ll go far in this industry.
There’s more good news — there are no shortage of construction jobs for qualified engineers. When was the last time you were in a major city and didn’t see a crane?
If you were to walk on to the construction site, you’d find mechanical engineers. They do all the testing and designing of the equipment to make sure it operates properly. For example, a mechanical engineer for a building could be dealing with the HVAC or duct work to make sure airflow is moving correctly. The best part is being able to see something rise out of the ground and know you had a hand in making that happen.
Imagine working on technology so cutting-edge, you can’t tell your friends about it. Consumer electronics is all about working behind the scenes to develop concepts into game systems, computers, smartphones and wearable technology. And to keep up with the releases of new products, sometimes you’re working on the next big thing — years ahead of its release.
The future-focus is what makes consumer electronics so fast-paced and exciting. People who like to innovate, think big and solve problems should take a good look at this industry.
The consumer products industry — comprising everything from refrigerators to clothing — is a great place to gain a variety of transferable skills, especially if you’re just starting your engineering career.
Where you might spend years perfecting a single bolt in an industry like aerospace, working in consumer products often allows you to work on a whole product. Meaning you can put your stamp on the final product and see the results. Plus, working in this consumer products allows you a lot of opportunity to collaborate with other engineers during development and design.
Did you know that every time you flip a light switch, you’re benefitting from the work of a mechanical engineer? That’s right, it takes the skills of engineers to run a power plant. What does that mean for you? A ton of available jobs.
There are lots of opportunities in energy and utilities. Segments like sustainable energy, fossil fuels and nuclear power all need talented engineers to make them more efficient.But why does the industry urgently need mechanical engineers? Higher education students don’t typically favor energy engineering — it’s hard to compete with newer and flashier industries. Therefore, supply is low and demand is high, making energy and utilities a lucrative field with lots of opportunity.
When you go to the grocery store, do you ever think about all the processes that have to be in place to get the food on the shelf? Or all the machines that have to be designed to make sure it all happens efficiently? The options available in the food and beverage industry are as unique and diverse as the products in your cart.
This industry is so much more than the end product. It’s the facilities that process food and beverage. The refrigeration, HVACs, conveyor belts, large scale mixers and food processing equipment all have to be carefully designed and placed to ensure food safety and maximum efficiency. That’s why expansive-thinking, multi-disciplinary engineers thrive in this field.
You might be a candidate for the heavy equipment manufacturing industry and not even know it — many of the principles you picked up in the automotive or aerospace industries apply. If you have experience working on mechanical systems, you might want to consider a move to heavy equipment manufacturing.
The coolest part about your work is that it literally moves mountains. You’ll find heavy equipment in the deepest mines, on construction sites and at almost every farm. Mechanical engineers working in this field are building the world around us.
Since you’re here exploring the industrial products industry, we’ll let you in on a little secret: Engineers in this industry are always in high demand. Those who specialize in industrial products can always find jobs — everything from facilitating mass production of car batteries to helping create computer chips. Essentially, industrial products are the machines companies use to manufacture their products.
Customers buy industrial goods based on rational need as opposed to emotional desire, so product demand is steady. You can expect to work for an organization that specializes in a specific type of machinery. Creating industrial products also provides complex challenges that are rewarding to take on. No two ways about it: This field offers industrial-strength benefits, compensation and intellectual satisfaction.
Did you know the original pacemaker was the size of a desk? Now, getting a pacemaker happens in an outpatient procedure — and the device is the size of a fingernail. How? Mechanical engineers.
If you’re searching for an industry that dramatically changes lives and is at the forefront of innovation, your search is over. Why? Because almost every medical device has a mechanical element to it. It’s also one of the most collaborative industries to work in. You’ll collaborate closely with other highly talented engineers with specialties like electrical or biomedical.
Finally, the medical device industry offers fantastic job security as people will always need the next medical innovation. Will you be the one to create it?