Civil Engineer

Civil engineers work for engineering consulting companies, construction companies, municipal and other levels of government, and many other industries. They may also be self-employed.

They plan, design, develop and manage a variety of major civil egineering projects including the construction and repair of buildings, roads, airports, railways, bridges, dams, ports and water distribution and sanitation systems. They may specialize in foundation analysis, building and structural inspection, surveying and municipal planning. They often work with professionals from other fields, gaining knowledge and skills that allow them to practise in associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing and management.

Education, Training and Experience

Civil engineers require a university degree in civil engineering or in a related field of engineering. Most recent entrants have an undergraduate university degree. They are required to register as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng./ing.) with a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers to secure employment and practise in their field. For those with an undergraduate degree from an accredited program, eligibility requirements for registration as a P.Eng./ing. include four years' supervised experience (two in Quebec) and successful completion of a professional practice examination. For those without a degree from an accredited program, eligibility for registration as a P.Eng./ing. requires a term of supervised employment and successful completion of technical examinations and a professional practice examination. With experience, they can progress to supervisory and senior positions.

In These Occupations ...

30,000 people were employed in 1998, an increase of 19.8% from 1988. After employment gains of 15.4% from 1988 to 1993, employment growth slowed to 3.7% 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. 4% work part-time, well below the average of 19% for all occupations. 15% are self-employed, compared to an average of 17% for all occupations. The proportion of self-employed workers in this occupation has increased significantly over the last ten years. 9% are women, well below the average of 45% for all occupations. the unemployment rate averaged 3.6% from 1996 to 1998, compared to the national average of 6.0%. the average earnings are comparable to those for other professional occupations and for other occupations in the natural and applied sciences sectors.

National Outlook to 2004

Currently, chances of finding work in this occupation are rated "Good", since employment opportunities and earnings are both 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. Continuing economic growth may lead to an increase in large-scale construction projects, boosting the demand for civil engineers. Globalization of civil engineering services may mean that many opportunities in large-scale construction projects will be outside Canada. Most of the increase in employment requirements through 2004 for this occupation is expected to occur in the professional services and construction industries.

Where They Work

Professional Services 46.5%
Local and Other Administration 8.7%
Provincial and Territorial Administration 5.9%
Federal Administration 4.8%
Public Transit and Other Transportation 3.8%
Electric Power Utilities 2.3%

Type of Employment

This OccupationAll Occupations
Full-time 95.7% 81.1%
Part-time 4.3% 18.9%

Distribution by Age

This OccupationAll Occupations
15 - 29 19.5% 26.5%
30 - 39 33.6% 28.5%
40 - 54 35.7% 35.2%
55 & over 11.3% 9.8%

Work Prospects

Current 2004
Good Good


Age Groups 20 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49
Highest 20% 43,500 56,900 66,700
Average 36,900 46,100 54,300
Lowest 20% 28,700 34,700 38,900

Unemployment Rate

This OccupationAll Occupations
1998 2.9% 5.5%
1997 3.2% 5.9%
1996 4.6% 6.5%
1995 3.7% 6.5%
1994 5.3% 7.0%
1993 6.4% 7.9%
1992 5.8% 8.5%
1991 4.5% 8.3%
1990 3.8% 6.7%
1989 2.8% 6.1%
1988 3.4% 6.2%
1987 3.1% 6.9%
1986 6.1% 7.4%
1985 5.4% 7.9%
1984 5.6% 8.4%