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Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Hey everyone,

I graduated in may 2009 from École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal, Canada as an EE - Power and Industrial profile.  Been actively searching for my first engineering job ever since.

Will someone tell me why the heck are there no entry level opening.  I come across everyday with loads of jobs, only the 5-10 years exp.  Where do they expect us to get the experience, bunch of HR morons!

Any explanation would be greatly appreciated!

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

I have no explanation for the strong correlation between HR and morons.  Maybe it's a prerequisite.

The problem is, at entry level, no matter how good your grades were, you're not able to really earn your keep, because you will inevitably make the same stupid mistakes that everyone just out of school makes, and it will take a couple years for you to learn some new skills that they don't/can't teach in school, and unlearn some of the behaviors that they do teach.

If it's any consolation, I have 44 years' experience, and can't get a job advertised as requiring 5..10 years' experience, either.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Ditto there with 41 years experience.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Welcome to the reason why the power industry globally is in such a mess.

The operating companies have spent many years stealing employees from each other and have collectively failed to invest in developing new talent. The industry is at a point where so many people are approaching retirement within a few years of each other that there is a critical skills shortage. I feel sorry that you are struggling to get in to the industry and feel sure that you have identified the reasons correctly: personnel departments are staffed by bloody idiots.

Keep trying, it is a great industry to work in and there is a long-term future. Good luck.

If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Well two things.  One, this is the first mistake right out of college kids make.  This is un-professional, condescending, and assuming.  I hope this does not show in your interviews.  Please change your attitude to be more humble than entitlement.  Second, it is the mangers that put in the requisites for the people they are looking for, HR are in charge of looking for these people.  Mangers are looking for people who have some kind of real world work experience and in this economy it is a mangers market so they can pick and choose as they like.  

You have to start looking for "stepping stone" jobs to show that you can actually work.  For my self, I first started as a glorified field technician (field engineer).  Worked only 8 months and then got a real engineering job that needed 1 to 2 years of experience.  

A few months later, I asked one of the guys who interviewed me why did he give me the thumbs up, and he said that my co-ops were good, but it was what I did as a field engineer that impressed him.  I showed that I can right out my own time cards, pride in customer service, I can manage my self in the field without supervision, I can write up expense reports, and had a good working knowledge of the product I was responsible.  

If you can show that you have a great work ethic, you'll have a better chance.

Good Luck!!

"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."  

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Whoops, this is the statement I was referring:

"Where do they expect us to get the experience, bunch of HR morons!"

"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."  

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

I'm looking to move to Canada, so I'm watching jobs there for some time. And it's same situation in my field (aeronautical engineering). Almost all positions require more then 5 years of exp.

It's all about job market. When I type keywords in job search engine like monster, I usually get 4 to 5 hits in Canada, and more then fifty in some European countries like Germany. You could find entry level positions there, of course language could be an issue for some companies. But it is very different situation in Czech republic (at least in my field), where I found only one decent opening and they required Phd, while for that position (in Canada, USA or Germany) Bsc is usually enough.    

I wish you luck and I hope that market will change. Or see you in Germany :).

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Scotty has it pinned. Look at it from their side (using Australian figures). They can hire a recent graduate for say 50k, who may decide he doesn't like engineering/cars(in my case)/real life, and will need 2 years before he can be relied on to do anything useful consistently (sorry but that is the truth), or they can pay 70-80k and get someone who has been through all that five years ago, can sit down at a desk and start being productive within a week.

So you need to figure out how to reassure your future employer that you are worth the risk.



Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

In a boom market when there are more jobs that qualified applicants, industry finds it needs to do more to retain skilled staff (or should do, but often don't) and need also to take on applicants with less experience and bring them on.

In a depressed market engineers with lots of relevant experience are chasing fewer jobs and can be had at fire sale prices -  but note that employers are often wary of applicants with too much experience as they doubt they will do more than come in out of the rain and then move on the moment times are better, though this may suit them too.

So though it is definitely the case that HR often prove to be morons, in this case it is irrelevant to the real world market conditions.

So, what to do:

First rule: You don't ask, you don't get.

Think about it, the published job spec is a wish list.
It often defines the ideal (and non-existent) candidate and as often as not describes the guy that just left, and not the candidates they will actually see. The qualifications and the job will often turn out to be quite different to that which was advertised.

So there will be some element of trade off between what they want and what they can get.

There is nothing to prevent you applying for these jobs even where you don't present an exact match. You may lack the necessary experience, some one else may be too old, too stupid, too set in his ways, too expensive etc, etc.

You will need to have some attention getter that will interest them enough to give you a first interview, even if it is just for the heck of it, and then its up to you.

"I don't have the experience you are looking for but this is the area that interested me most and where I was especially successful in my studies and I studied at XYZ with Prof M which I think is especially relevant."

To get experience you may have to reduce your expectations for that first job, something I know most graduates are very reluctant to do, but welcome to the real world.

Chances are that if you see a job spec that exactly describes you, the person they hire will not be you but someone more qualified who will do it for the same money or someone less qualified who will work for less.

You need to chose the jobs that interest you and apply anyway.
Rule two: You have nothing to lose by aiming high.



RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

BorisVian:  the businesses can't find people with 5-10 years of experience because 5-10 years ago, they weren't hiring fresh grads.

Several successive recessions made Canadian businesses addicted to having qualified, mid-level people line up for interviews.  When the lines get shorter, they scream "shortage!"

Don't give up, but keep in mind that per the 2006 census, only 1/3 of Canadians with an engineering degree actually work as engineers.  I do not doubt that for many, this was not by choice.

39minuteman:  you're doing the right thing, looking before you leap.  Have a job lined up in Canada BEFORE you come, or risk following in the footsteps of thousands of other engineering immigrants to Canada who are working in "survival jobs" and have lost their profession.  

There's no engineering shortage here, period.  

The potential trouble for you is that an employer looking for someone with 5-10 years of experience may not be satisfied with someone who has 5-10 years of experience and but none of it in Canada- especially if English is not your first language.  Getting that first job that establishes you in the local marketplace was difficult even in booming economic times, and now that thousands have been thrown out of work by the recession it hasn't gotten any easier.  Given that Canada has no profession- or region-specific immigration quotas, you may be welcomed here with open arms despite having very little likelihood of finding work in your chosen field.

If you want the supply-side statistics for Canada, look up a few of my other posts on this forum.


RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

FWIW there is a shortage of engineers in Australia, according to the usual suspects. They also bemoan the fact that Australian children are wise enough to pursue other careers, even if they have engineering degrees.

I would have thunk the answer was pretty obvious, but of course that doesn't suit the agenda of the usual suspects.



Greg Locock

SIG:Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Went through the exact same thing in 2003 and developed a nearly identical bad additude.

The explanation is relatively simple; companies aren't growing. The hiring which is being done is sustaining; they are replacing experienced people and want experienced people to do so. I agree with jmw that some companies may hire new grads into these jobs, but it will be impossible to determine which "5 yr experience" position listings would consider an inexperienced candidate and which (most) will recycle your resume.

What worked for me was job fairs, especially those at colleges and universities.  The HR morons at these events understand that recent grad morons don't have experience. Most wouldn't be there if they weren't willing to hire inexperienced people.

Another option is recruiters; they know which positions companies are desperate to fill and can stear you into them.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Also, if you're only looking in places like Monster or the like where it costs to advertise job openings you may be missing a trick.  

A new graduate isn't going to earn the company much initially as pointed out above, so no point putting more time and effort than necessary into finding graduate enginers.  Careers fares or the like at uni are a good place to start, larger companies often have graduate schemes and recruite at these types of events.

Any internships going, may be a way in, or may mean you being cheap labor, but at least it's experience of a kind.

For midsized and smaller, direct contact may be the only way.  Methods for 'cold calling' or 'networking' get discussed on this site regularly.

Oh, and there was an article on NPR this morning saying that EE still has a shortage, though as mentioned above I wouldn't be surprised if this were for the reason Scotty says, and hence with experience requirements.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Twoballcane has it right. Broaden your search to include "Stepping stones". Try to get any job in a good company that employs engineers. Then when they post on internal placement, you can step up and say, "I am already employed here, just transfer me to fill the posted job."  

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

I agree that there is a few years of "training" required of new grads that the company may not want to invest.

Notice the suggestions of getting a "stepping stone" job into the job you want. This isn't uncommon, and perpetuates the issue. Even for engineering jobs, many new grads take one position as at "training" period to get where they want to be in a few years. My gut says the average length of the first job is for engineering grads from the past 10 years or so is 2-3 years. So why would a company hire a new grad, get them "trained", and then have them leave? Maybe it's not moronic. Frustrating for new grads certainly though.

-- MechEng2005

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Also, lets face it, all of the entry level engineering jobs that were out there were taken up by the kids that had the high GPAs, coming from the right college (think MIT in USA), and having the right co op jobs in the right companies.  If you did not have some kind of foot in the door in a company before graduation, it will be tougher once you get out.  So, look for that "stepping stone" job in the industry you are interested in and get some up front experience to show case your talents.

"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."  

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

To all: Yes, the term "moron" was a bit harsh, but hey, if I was the one to hire HR people, without proper qualification to appreciate the unperfect candidate profile and the transferable experience, to blindly apply what my boss told me (through not everyone is doing this) as requisit for the job, HR would certainly be tempted to call me a moron.

I come from a coop program, so my internships did provide me some experience, but then again, when you're fighting to get good grades and the economy doesn't provide interesting internships, you choose what you can get.

As for the entitlement complex, it comes from uni brainwashing about respect, money, noble contribution to society, etc.  (no one there is gonna tell you what is discussed in this forum!!)  Feel like i've been a victim of truthiness (all praise Colbert!)

I've subscribed to a job search group, gonna practice the cold calling next week.  In the mean time, i've tried my own contacts, career sites as Monster, headhunter agencies, job fair at uni, government job entry exams, career day in many different cities, career day just for engineers, etc.

Beacon of light in all that darkness: Hydro One, Ontario's utility company is looking for 57 new undergrads for trainee position... things are looking better already!

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Unfortunately, you picked the wrong time to graduate and possibly had no intern experience in your field. Two years ago, you would not have had difficulty finding a job. My company was hiring many new graduates up to 16 months ago. Since you graduated, we reduced force by 20%. This is somewhat typical for nearly all firms hiring engineers.

Similar events occurred 40 years ago. In June of 1969, the typical graduate or near graduate had multiple job offers. By November of the same year, job offers dwindled to almost none. My internship during that summer obtained my job starting in February of 1970 after graduating that January. By 1971, major Engineering schools closed and enrollments dropped in virtually all.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

I'd recommend going with the stepping stones approach.  I started as an application engineer (after working for a year at a bank after graduating with my BS in ChE).  I wound up going into sales but wasn't "good" at my job as I'd rather find ways to improve process rather than stuff chemical in a pipe that might or might not fix the problem.  It was good enough to move to an engineering position with another company after a couple of years.  I wasn't great at sales but it taught me a lot about how to deal with people, which is something that engineers often lack.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Another thing that new grads weren't facing in the past is competition with cheap foreign labor.  As was mentioned earlier, new grads contribute little to a company so why should they pay you $60K a year right out of school when they can get someone to do the job with a Master's Degree in India or China for $6000 a year.   

My former employer went through layoffs in the last recession.   The entire software engineering department was let go except for the manager.  All the work was sent to a software firm based in India.   We had one recent ME grad who left on his own.   There were also several layoffs among EE,ME, and MfgE.  When the economy recovered, none of these jobs ever came back.   When business improved, my company opened engineering centers in India and China.  They were very frank about the fact that they had no intention of adding engineers in the U.S.   All new staff was added in the third world engineering offices.  The only people who were replaced in the U.S. were very senior engineers that management felt it was important to keep their positions here.  Hence another reason why you are seeing a lot of jobs requiring experience.   The low end work is being done elsewhere.  Ultimately this business practice will hurt engineering in this country.
I don't have much advice for you.  I was lucky to graduate during a good economy.  I had already been on three interviews before graduating and a major defense contractor had sent recruiters to campus looking to hire upcoming graduates.  I had an interview the day of the job fair and ended up getting hired.  I stayed at that company for two years.  My second job I also got through my college.  I just sent my updated resume to the career development office.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Where there is danger there is opportunity!!  Well something like that.  "If I was young and just coming out of college" (man I'm getting to old) I would travel where the work is and learn the culture.  This is a great opportunity to travel the world and gain your engineering skills.  Your skills in engineering and having one foot in North America and other countries would be a great asset to any company.  If you like it or not, we are a world wide economy, before moving across the states for a job was a big deal, today I think now moving to other countries for work is the new way to go.  I am sure that on both sides, they are looking for liaisons to bridge the work between countries, if you can pick this skill up, you may have your own golden ticket.  

"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."  

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Field service engineering are always looking for people, mainly because it's a young man's game (unless you are a committed loner) and people get old faster than they like to admit. A career as an FSE doesn't lend itself to stable relationships, wives and families, so people don't stay in it for that long which results in the high turnover. If you can cope with living out of a suitcase, being on standby, having to drop plans at the last minute and have an appropriate skill-set then it might be for you. It is usually well paid to make up for the lifestyle sacrifices.

If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

In the summer of 1982, the bottom fell out of the economy, just in time for my graduating year, 1983.  I applied for 1,200 jobs, was granted *3* interviews, and received 1,199 rejections.  I got my first job only because under some government internship and training program, the Feds paid my employer 75% of my salary for the first 2 years.  So, my employer got a graduate engineer, full time, at a cost to the company of $3.00 - CDN, at that - per hour.

It was 1987 before things turned around, during which time a lot of 1982-1983 graduates had been in non-engineering careers for 4-5 years.  The result was that in subsequent years, places had really good "10+" year folks, really good "2-" year folks, and nothing in between.  In my line of work that legacy has lived on and things have never fully recovered.  More than anything else, in my mind, that is what has created the periodic boom-time influx of overseas engineers in response to the corresponding perceived "shortages" of engineers that is frequently discussed here and in other forums.  Those overseas folks didn't take jobs away from locals, as is sometimes lamented, but rather, they filled what was in fact a real void left behind by the locals who never got a chance to break into the industry since there were no jobs for them.

In my case, there are nonetheless a whole bunch of gas plants, wellsites, batteries and facilities within driving distance.  One thing I have often considered is getting up early on a Saturday, throwing some steel-toed boots and Nomex coveralls and a hard-hat into the back of the cab of my truck, driving to Tim Horton's to buy a couple of dozen doughnuts, and then proceeding to a few site offices with a gift of doughnuts and requesting a site tour, just for interest's sake.  Sooner or later, I am bound to come across someone who has a problem that maybe I can render a free opinion on during the tour.  If not, at least I brought doughnuts.



RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

To all:

Again, thanks for your support :)  I always do job search at uni, since it's less depressing than at home, and hey, you always run into an old buddy who might have something to propose.

At first, I was minded to stay in front of the computer, sending massive amounts of resumes, attend career days and job fairs during september-october, hoping to play the number's game.  From what I've come to realize, you still need that first impression to make you stand out of the crowd.

By november, if things don't improve, I'll start touring Gaspésie's windfarms with doughnuts and coffee during weekdays - thanks SNORGY, while working on an personal invention idea on weekends (at least that'll give me something to add to my resume)  Driving awhile will certainly change my mind from all this numbing job search!


RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Nowadays, almost nobody can afford to compose or send rejection letters, so unsuccessful inquiries often don't produce _any_ response.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

That article briefly mentions "compositional shift to lower-performing students in the STEM pipeline."

I can relate to that. Back at uni there were a fair few dolts, who managed to somehow get a degree, albeit a year of so late, but still they graduated as engineers and landed jobs.

I work in a large company, the amount of engineers I come across who have no grasp of even the basics shocks me. But worryingly it doesn't really shock too many others. Some of the sh*t that I have seen go out is unbelieveable. I have spend many hours, days and weeks re doing other peoples work that well, to put it lightly, doesn't even close to conforming with any standards, good practice or highschool physics. Yet they don't suffer any consequences or even learn how it should have been done in the first place.

RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

What is interesting is that 5 buddies of mine got interviews to hydro one this week. smile.
Although, they all have a masters (in engineering) from different schools in Canada.
I know a few people there. They start you at about 65K a year. Easy job.


RE: Oh, there are jobs... just 5-10 years exp. jobs!

Oh. And sign up for the EIT program, it helps.  


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