I do my best to search job postings at least once a day, either at listing websites (Monster and the like), individual firms, and State DOT offices. Want to know what they all have in common? None of them are listing entry-level positions.
I recently visited the NC State Engineering Career Fair and I was able to communicate with many firms, all of whom seemed nice and eager to be there. But upon discussing job opportunities, almost every firm replied that they were not hiring entry-level positions. Excuse me sir, but can you tell me who you expected to find at a college career fair?
It seems as though this is a Professional Engineers market at the moment, if you could call the stale air surrounding the piles of engineering resumes being shuffled into a recycling bin “a market”. But exactly how many PE’s are out there unemployed? Or maybe more importantly, how many people are claiming to be a PE and are not so, and does the current market encourage PE fraud? And how many small firms are actually doing background checks on these license numbers?
After reading Trust Me, I’m an (Unlicensed Architect) in ARCHITECT Magazine, Carol Metzner of CivilEngineeringCentral poses the question: who is policing the civil engineering community and their PE violations? It seems as though state chapters and state licensing boards are unsure of their own jurisdictions, and while they receive numerous violation notices, it is unclear what becomes of the perpetrators.
Carol also wonders if desperation in times of lay-offs will increase the level of engineering fraud. I wonder how many people lie about actually having a degree?
What I can tell you is this: in order to be a licensed Professional Engineer, you must pass the State Board examination in your state following a minimum number of years experience working under another PE. This begs the question, if firms aren’t hiring entry-level positions, how will Engineering Interns ever receive the experience needed to take the State Exam?
You cannot reap what you do not sow, and avoiding entry-level positions now worsens the supply of PEs down the road. If firms can’t find PEs now, what will they be doing three, four, five years from now, when the economy has (hopefully) recovered? And what kind of long term effects will this mean for development when investors are finally ready to start building again with fewer engineers to do the work?