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A new report from the San Diego Workforce Partnership has identified 54 jobs in the county that are projected to grow the most over the next five years, with more than 63 jobs opening each year and paying at least $16 an hour.
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Some of the jobs are ironworkers, physical therapists assistants, librarians, nurses, stucco masons, dental hygienists, financial managers and civil engineers.
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The Workforce Partnership compiled the list by reviewing labor market information and hiring the research firm Hoffman Clark + Associates to interview more than 30,000 county businesses. Over the next five years, growth must exceed 6.5 percent, which is the weighted average growth for all occupations in San Diego County through 2022.
Most of the jobs identified require a college degree or higher, about 52 percent. Six percent require no formal education, 17 percent require a high school diploma or equivalent, and 24 percent require a community college degree or certificate.
The report’s findings stem from the fact that employers are struggling to find jobs in the county due to the tight labor market. (The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February.) Some employers have launched recruitment programs for workers outside the area. 51 per cent of the companies interviewed for the study reported difficulties in finding suitable candidates.
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The purpose of the workforce report is to help potential employees identify areas of growth, while also sending a message to employers to be flexible. Around 90 per cent of businesses said they needed work experience, but few offered paid internships or apprenticeships.
“I think it’s a bit of a hold on from the recession. The labor market is so flooded with talent and experience that employers have been able to raise those expectations,” said Sarah Burns, director of research and evaluation at the Workforce Partnership. “As the market tightens, suddenly it’s not that easy.”
Even if a company has a training program, it is not a guarantee of hire. Phil Blair, head of staffing agency Manpower in San Diego, said one company he works with ran a “temporary” program that hired new workers for three months before offering them a job. But these workers would accept other jobs before the company even interviewed them.
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Another takeaway from the report is that they work in skilled trades such as plasterers and stucco masons that do not require a college degree. Murtaza Baxamusa, director of planning and development for the San Diego Building Trades Family Housing Corp., said demand for some skilled trades, such as iron workers, remains high even as construction slows.
“Some of the trade jobs that are opening up are almost like a four-year college degree with training in apprenticeship programs,” he said. “As you learn, earn, and graduate debt-free.”
Here are the top six jobs expected to grow the most in San Diego County. Salaries are based on 2017 figures, so they may have increased. The descriptions are based on O*Net summaries supported by the US Department of Labor.
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1. Electrical Engineers ($31.18 per hour) – The job involves preparing computer engineering or software design related to electrical systems. Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree
2. Clinical Laboratory Technologies ($16.28 per hour) – Chemical analysis of body fluids and data entry of clinical results into a computer. Prerequisite: Associate’s Degree
3. Physical Therapist Assistants ($19.12 per hour) – instruct, motivate, protect and assist patients with exercises. Prerequisite: Associate’s Degree
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4. Mechanical Engineers ($27.81 per hour) – Read and interpret blueprints and technical drawings, and investigate equipment failures and recommend corrective actions. Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree
5. Medical Assistants ($29.82 per hour) – Examine patients for physical status and administer or order diagnostic tests. Prerequisite: master’s degree
6. Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers ($17.93 per hour) – Install and fasten bars as per blueprints and cut bars to desired length. Prerequisite: high school diploma or equivalent
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Of the 54 jobs identified in the report, the highest paying jobs are physicians and surgeons ($54.43/hour), science managers ($48.50/hour) and architecture and engineering managers ($44.76).
The Workforce Partnership has created a website, Workforce.org/MyCareer, which provides a digital career counseling program, links to job postings, identifying jobs in its priority sectors, and links to places to earn certificates and degrees. Electrical engineers use the principles of mathematics and physics to design, develop and evaluate electrical and electronic equipment and systems. They work with a variety of technologies, including home appliances, building lighting and wiring, power transmission, telecommunications, and satellite communications. Many electrical engineers specialize in a specific field, such as electronics, microelectronics, signal processing, power supply, telecommunications and instrumentation.
As an electrical engineer, you are responsible for the lifecycle of electrical projects, from design to delivery and beyond. The specific responsibilities associated with this position will vary depending on the engineer’s area of expertise, but may include:
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Electrical engineers typically work in laboratories and research facilities, factories, mines, industrial and manufacturing plants, power plants, and office environments. Depending on their location, electrical engineers can work in modern comfort or in hot, cramped or dusty spaces. The work environment of electrical engineers can also be dangerous, especially when engineers work around live electrical equipment and systems.
Electrical engineers may spend time at the desk developing plans, budgeting, and creating project schedules. However, they spend a lot of time supervising the work of electricians, scientists, computer programmers, and other engineers. They can also spend time in regular workplace meetings with customers, gathering information and studying equipment. Although there may be some travel, it is rare for electrical engineers to spend nights away from home.
Because electrical engineers have to work closely with customers and other employees in their organization, they cannot work from home like many other employees.
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Electrical engineers typically work 40 hours per week during traditional working hours. It is rare for electrical engineers to work on public holidays, weekends and late at night. However, additional hours may be required near deadlines and when issues arise that need to be resolved urgently.
Some jobs can also provide flexible work for electrical engineers who cannot commit to a full-time job. Electrical engineering consultants and contractors enjoy the most flexible working hours.
While pre-engineering courses are offered at the associate level, electrical engineers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by the Engineering and Technology Accreditation Council. Most electrical engineers have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or an engineering degree in electrical engineering.
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During this degree, students learn more about electrical theory and gain hands-on experience with mechanics, computer programming, circuits and thermodynamics. Students can specialize in a specific discipline, such as telecommunications engineering or biomedical engineering, to prepare for a specific role after graduation.
A bachelor’s in electrical engineering at top schools is very competitive. Students must have high scores in computer science, mathematics, physics and chemistry to gain entry.
After gaining their diploma, electrical engineers starting their careers must obtain an appropriate grade in the Basic Technical Skills exam in order to work in their chosen profession. They are then known as Electrical Engineers or Trainee Electrical Engineers.
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Many employers require electrical engineers to have advanced degrees in order to advance in their careers. Common graduate degrees include:
In addition, many companies also offer comprehensive training programs that include orientation initiatives and structured continuing professional development programs.
Experience is highly valued in the industries electrical engineers work in, and many employers look for previous experience in new hires. Electrical engineering students are strongly encouraged to do an internship to make connections and hone their practical skills before entering the workforce.
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After gaining four years of experience, electrical engineers can take the professional engineer exam. The Professional Engineering license can open up additional professional opportunities.
The high salaries of experienced electrical engineers demonstrate their value to employers. Electrical engineers with 20 or more years of experience earn an average of 44 percent more than the national average, while new electrical engineers earn 9 percent less than the national average.
However, the majority of electrical engineers move on to other jobs after more than 20 years of experience. That’s why only 10 percent of electrical engineers are workers at the end of their career. In contrast, 39 percent of electrical engineers have between one and four years of experience, and 24 percent between five and nine years of experience in this field.
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This shows that although many electrical engineers choose to progress in their careers, their experience is so valued that they can enjoy opportunities in this position throughout their working lives. Skills
Electrical engineers need a variety of hard and soft skills to excel in their role. Although these characteristics are not usually listed in electrical engineer job descriptions, hiring managers are looking for positions that:
How much do electrical engineers earn? Annual salaries for entry-level electrical engineers are typically around $66,000. Experience affects salaries: annual earnings increase to $97,500 after 5 to 10 years.
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