Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers work for consulting firms, power generating utilities and a wide range of manufacturing, processing and transportation industries. They may also be self-employed.

They research, design and develop machinery and systems for heating, ventilating and air conditioning, power generation, transportation, processing and manufacturing. They have duties related to the evaluation, installation, operation and maintenance of mechanical systems. They often work with professionals from other fields, gaining knowledge and skills that may allow them to practise in associated areas of science, sales, marketing and management. They also work closely with civil, electrical, aerospace, chemical, industrial and other engineers, resulting in job mobility between some fields of specialization in these disciplines.

Education, Training and Experience

Mechanical engineers usually require a university degree in mechanical 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 a 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 ...

25,000 people were employed in 1998, an increase of 31.9% from 1988. This reflects an increase of 15.8% from 1988 to 1993 and 13.9% 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. 14% are self-employed, compared to an average of 17% for all occupations. 7% are women, well below the average of 45% for all occupations. the unemployment rate averaged 2.3% from 1996 to 1998, compared to the national average of 6.0%. This rate is among the lowest for occupations in the natural and applied sciences sectors. the average earnings are among the highest for professional occupations but are comparable to those 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 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 growing use of electronics in machinery and process control will lead to an increased overlap between mechanical and electrical and electronic engineering. Many mechanical engineers will need skills in this area. Labour market conditions for mechanical engineers are highly dependent on the success of Canadian manufacturing industries. Manufacturing is a strongly cyclical industry whose results depend on the exchange rate and on the strength of foreign economies, as well as on the strength of Canadian domestic economic conditions. Most of the increase in employment requirements through 2004 for this occupation is expected to occur in the professional services and non-electrical machinery industries.

Where They Work

Professional Services 26.7%
Motor Vehicles - Trailers and Parts Manufacturing 11.9%
Machinery - Except Electrical 8.4%
Metal Fabrication Manufacturing 7.0%
Construction 4.3%
Electric Power Utilities 4.2%
Other Manufacturing 3.9%

Type of Employment

 This OccupationAll Occupations
Full-time 96.7% 81.1%
Part-time 3.3% 18.9%

Distribution by Age

 This OccupationAll Occupations
15 – 29 22.7% 26.5%
30 – 39 35.1% 28.5%
40 – 54 32.5% 35.2%
55 & over 9.7% 9.8%

Work Prospects

Current 2004
Good Good


Age Groups 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 – 49
Highest 20% 48,000 60,600 68,000
Average 39,200 49,800 53,900
Lowest 20% 29,000 36,100 37,500

Unemployment Rate

 This OccupationAll Occupations
1998 1.8% 5.5%
1997 2.0% 5.9%
1996 2.9% 6.5%
1995 2.3% 6.5%
1994 3.4% 7.0%
1993 4.1% 7.9%
1992 3.7% 8.5%
1991 2.9% 8.3%
1990 2.4% 6.7%
1989 1.8% 6.1%
1988 2.2% 6.2%
1987 2.0% 6.9%
1986 3.9% 7.4%
1985 3.4% 7.9%
1984 3.6% 8.4%