Electrical Engineers

These engineers work in electrical utilities; communications companies; firms manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment; consulting firms; a wide range of manufacturing, processing and transportation industries; and government.

They design, plan, research, evaluate and test the operation and performance of electrical and electronic equipment and systems.

They may specialize in a number of areas including electrical design for residential, commercial or industrial installations; electrical power generation and transmission; communications systems; instrumentation and control systems; analog and digital signal processing; integrated circuits; microwave technology; film optics; computers; lasers; microprocessors and radio astronomy.

They often work with professionals from other fields, gaining knowledge and skills that may allow them to practise in associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.

Electrical and electronics engineers need a university degree in electrical or electronics 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 to secure work in their field.

For those with an undergraduate degree from an accredited program, eligibility requirements for registration as a professional engineer include at least 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 professional engineer requires a term of supervised employment and the successful completion of technical examinations and a professional practice examination.

With experience, they can progress to supervisory and senior positions.

32,000 people were employed in 1998, an increase of 20.5% from 1988. After employment gains of 16.2% 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. 3% work part-time, well below the average of 19% for all occupations. 10% 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 1.6% from 1996 to 1998, compared to the national average of 6.0%. This rate is among the lowest for professional occupations and for occupations in the natural and applied sciences sectors. 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 this occupation 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. Firms in this area face intense international competition, requiring their engineers to be at the leading edge of their field, with a need to continually update their skills. There are likely to be significant new opportunities for these engineers in setting up computerized production systems. This may increasingly require electrical and electronics engineers to work with mechanical engineers. Most of the increase in employment requirements through 2004 for this occupation is expected to occur in the electrical and electronics products and professional services industries.

Where They Work

Professional Services22.9%
Electrical and Electronic Products22.4%
Telecommunication Carriers10.1%
Electric Power Utilities9.9%
Wholesale Trade4.4%
Federal Administration3.8%
Business Services3.0%

Type of Employment

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Distribution by Age

AgeThis OccupationAll Occupations
15 - 2921.0%26.5%
30 - 3938.4%28.5%
40 - 5433.3%35.2%
55 & over7.4%9.8%


Age Groups20 - 2930 - 3940 - 49
Highest 20%50,40062,20069,700
Lowest 20%30,90038,70044,200

Unemployment Rate

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