Civil, Mechanical, Electrical and Chemical Engineers

These engineers work in government; engineering consulting firms; electrical utilities; research and educational institutions; communications companies; the manufacturing, processing and transportation industries; and many other industries.

Civil engineers plan, design, evaluate, research and manage projects for the construction and repair of structures such as buildings, roads, tunnels, airports, rapid transit facilities, bridges, dams, ports and coastal installations, and systems related to highway and transportation services, water distribution and sanitation. Mechanical engineers plan, design, evaluate, research and manage projects related to the operation of machinery and systems for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, power generation, transportation, processing and manufacturing. Electrical and electronics engineers plan, design, evaluate, research and manage projects related to electrical generation and distribution networks, electrical machinery and components, and electronic communications, instrumentation and control systems, equipment and components. Chemical engineers plan, design, evaluate, research and manage projects related to chemical processes and equipment, oversee the operation and maintenance of processing plants, and perform activities related to quality control, environmental protection, biochemical and biotechnical engineering and other areas.

Education, Training and Experience

Engineers in this group require a university degree in the discipline of engineering they represent or in a related discipline. Most recent entrants have an undergraduate university degree. To practise engineering, they usually require registration as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng./ing.) by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers. In Quebec, they must be members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.

In These Occupations ...

95,000 people were employed in 1998, an increase of 22.4% from 1988. After employment gains of 13.8% from 1988 to 1993, employment growth slowed to 7.6% from 1993 to 1998. In comparison, employment in all occupations grew 12.3% over the same ten years, and 8.2% over the last five. 33% are electrical and electronics engineers; 32% are civil engineers; and 26% are mechanical engineers. 4% work part-time, well below the average of 19% for all occupations. 12% are self-employed, compared to an average of 17% for all occupations. 9% are women, well below the average of 45% for all occupations. the unemployment rate averaged 2.5% from 1996 to 1998, compared to the national average of 6.0%. the average earnings are among the highest for professional occupations and for occupations in the natural and applied sciences sectors.

National Outlook to 2004

Currently, chances of finding work in these occupations are rated "Good", since employment opportunities and earnings are both well above average. Over the next five years, this outlook is not expected to change, as the number of job openings is expected to be matched by the number of qualified job seekers. The rapid pace of technological change in engineering means that these professionals must be committed to continually upgrading their skills. Often these will be skills in another area of engineering or in management. Most of the increase in employment requirements through 2004 for these occupations is expected to occur in the professional services and electrical and electronic products industries.

Where They Work

Professional Services 31.6%
Electrical and Electronic Products 9.0%
Construction 5.4%
Electric Power Utilities 5.4%
Motor Vehicles - Trailers and Parts Manufacturing 4.0%
Federal Administration 3.7%
Telecommunication Carriers 3.7%

Type of Employment

This OccupationAll Occupations
Full-time 96.5% 81.1%
Part-time 3.5% 18.9%

Distribution by Age

This OccupationAll Occupations
15 – 29 21.4% 26.5%
30 - 39 35.6% 28.5%
40 - 5433.7% 35.2%
55 & over 9.2% 9.8%

Work Prospects



Age Groups 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 – 49
Highest 20% 47,100 60,500 69,200
Average 39,000 49,300 56,100
Lowest 20% 30,000 36,600 40,600

Unemployment Rate

This OccupationAll Occupations
1998 2.0% 5.5%
1997 2.2% 5.9%
1996 3.2% 6.5%
1995 2.5% 6.5%
1994 3.7% 7.0%
1993 4.5% 7.9%
1992 4.1% 8.5%
1991 3.1% 8.3%
1990 2.7% 6.7%
1989 2.0% 6.1%
1988 2.4% 6.2%
1987 2.2% 6.9%
1986 4.3% 7.4%
1985 3.8% 7.9%
1984 3.9% 8.4%