Why engineers are jobless? Many reasons contribute to jobless engineers. Some reasons are the fault of engineers, while others are from outside influences.
Now, I’m going to go over the five main reasons I see most often. This will show it’s not a black and white answer to why some engineers are jobless.
At the same time, by understanding these reasons, you can learn how to improve your chances of landing a job. Of course, if that’s your goal.
#1 Poor interview skills
First impressions matter a lot.
If you can’t properly interview, you’ll never land a job. It doesn’t matter if you apply to 500 jobs and get 500 interviews. You’ll just simply fail 500 interviews.
You need to be able to properly present yourself to an employer. Especially when you’re competing with so many talented engineers who are job hunting.
To increase your chance of passing an interview, you need to master the following:
- Great communication
- Solid technical understanding of subjects in the jobs you’re interviewing for
- Confidence in how you speak and present yourself
To help in your interview prep, check out these articles I’ve written:
What’s more, master the Elon Musk interview question that will make or break you. This way for sure you can do great in interviews.
In the end, practice and practice your interviewing skills some more. Properly marketing and selling yourself is a skill you need to fine-tune.
#2 Lack of interest in engineering
Some people were never passionate about engineering, to begin with. Thus, they don’t have the drive to do what’s necessary to job hunt, especially in a competitive market.
I’m talking about applying to countless jobs. While submitting awesome customized resumes and cover letters for every job.
What’s more, leveling yourself up as an engineer. Thus, making yourself a better engineer in every way imaginable.
This includes learning all the detailed theory, and the real-world application of your subject of expertise.
Without a passion, you won’t self study religiously. Also, you won’t send out resumes and cover letters like your life depended on it.
All because your mind is roaming elsewhere. Maybe you’re tired of engineering and you want a career change. So, you can’t muster up the strength to 100% focus on bettering your engineering self.
When this happens, it’s already the beginning of the end.
You won’t be able to compete with dedicated engineers who are fighting tooth and nail for jobs. Because you’re complacent, while other engineers go the extra mile.
#3 Too picky
Here’s your list of requirements for your next engineering job:
- Awesome pay with stock options and health benefits
- Perfect location near your family with year-round sun
- Flexible hours with an option for remote work
- Full autonomy
- Challenging and fulfilling work
- A specific type of work culture
- Free food
It’s one thing to be picky, but this list is way overboard.
You’ll forever be searching for this unicorn job. Plus even if this job exists, you don’t have as much leverage when you’re unemployed.
For example, I have some engineering friends who won’t take a job outside of San Francisco. To top it off, their pay needs to be no less than $200,000 per year with added stock options. Needless to say, they’re still freelancing as they continue their job search.
So who’s at fault here?…
When you’re unemployed, you can’t be too picky. As it’s the surefire way to have job opportunities pass you by. Especially in down job markets where employers are beyond picky themselves.
The better approach is to first accept a decent job. Thereafter, you can pivot accordingly to a new job. You’ll also have greater leverage too then.
#4 Searching in a bad job market
Industry downturns are difficult for everyone. Even engineers.
If you searched for a job in the 2008 Great Recession, you probably had a heck of a time landing a job.
What’s more, with every passing year, you had to compete with new graduates who flooded the market too.
These economic dips are out of your control. So naturally, sometimes you’re just unlucky and you end up searching for a job in the worst of times.
Employment certainly becomes hard fast when the following all happen at once:
- No newly created engineering jobs
- High supply of engineers
- An endless wave of layoffs
In these situations, you need to make yourself the best engineer possible. No ifs or buts about it.
All my go-getter engineering friends haven’t been without a job for longer than 3 months. All because they’re willing to push themselves further than their peers. They do the following:
- Endlessly send out custom resumes and cover letters
- Reach out to their network of colleagues
- Fine-tune their existing knowledge, while learning more and more
- Remain positive despite long stretches of unemployment
- Work on their interview skills and practice with mock job interviews
Important Note: in downturns, companies will hire experienced engineers over new graduates.
Because companies don’t have the budget to train new hires. Training engineers is an involved and resource-intensive process.
Even a strong foundation in engineering theory won’t cut it. You still probably won’t be profitable for a company. Because experience in engineering trumps formal education.
So it’s a different ballgame when you compare experienced engineers and new graduates.
#5 Not employable
Not every engineer is employable for one reason or another.
At the end of the day, employers want to profit off the back of their employees. If you can’t produce quality work consistently, your company will fire you. It’s basic economics.
A big reason for this is the poor engineering education system. Engineering education today needs major reform.
Just having an “engineering” title hanging over your head means absolutely nothing. Labels and letters after your name carry no weight when it’s time to get to work. Especially when people find out you can’t even do a basic calculation.
Also, not all engineers have employable qualities.
Here are some articles I’ve written on how to boost your employability:
In today’s working world, you need to make yourself an awesome engineer. It’s the only way you’ll stand out among your peers.
So, your technical abilities need to constantly evolve through new learning. This means constant self-studying to improve your knowledge base.
Also, it’s expected you’re an all-around great person. No one wants to work with an asshole.
“Why engineers are jobless?” wrap up
Clearly, engineers are jobless for many reasons.
But at the end of the day, a lot of the blame is on the engineers themselves.
In today’s globalized market with automation kicking in, you need to maximize your marketability. Otherwise, you’ll quickly get lost in the mix of other job-hunting engineers.
Sure, you may still have a difficult time finding a job. But instead of it taking 24 months, you’ll find a job in 12 months.
So it goes without saying, you may not land your dream job right away. And that’s totally okay.
Because you’ll now have a stepping stone to inch closer to your dream job.
So, don’t give up, and continue making yourself a more awesome engineer every day.
Why do you think engineers are jobless? Do you think engineers are more to blame or outside factors when it comes to unemployment?
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Koosha started Engineer Calcs in 2020 to help people better understand the engineering and construction industry, and to discuss various science and engineering-related topics to make people think. He has been working in the engineering and tech industry in California for over 15 years now and is a licensed professional electrical engineer, and also has various entrepreneurial pursuits.
Koosha has an extensive background in the design and specification of electrical systems with areas of expertise including power generation, transmission, distribution, instrumentation and controls, and water distribution and pumping as well as alternative energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and storage).
Koosha is most interested in engineering innovations, the cosmos, our history and future, sports, and fitness.