Growing Recession Probability; But Job Prospects Remain Bright For AI, VR and EE (Electrical Engineering)

3 Hot Technical Recruiting and Engineering Recruiting areas
My interview on WGN Radio’s “Opening Bell” on Februrary 8, 2016

There is growing sentiment among corporate executives and economists that a recession will commence within in the next 12 months. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal’s recent, monthly survey, the probability of a recession among economists has climbed to 21%, which is double the level of a year ago and the highest level since 2012.

Additionally, only 151,000 new jobs were created last month according to the Labor Department. This left 9.9% of the work force either unemployed, involuntarily working part time or having just given up looking.

However, as I shared in my recent WGN Radio interview, three engineering and technology categories continue to create jobs. They are AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality) and EE (Electrical Engineers). Let’s take them in order.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) The Cornerstone of Search Engines, Driverless Cars And Manufacturing Automation

Google promoting its head of AI, John Giannandrea, to replace departing Amit Singhal, evidences the magnitude of artificial intelligence. Google and others increasingly view artificial intelligence as central to their products. This has created a lot more demand than supply for advanced software engineers capable of creating these deep-learning systems. For example, Google’s RankBrain AI system was introduced last year to handle complex or rare queries including the 15% of searches that are new to Google each day.

Additionally, many startup companies involved with driverless vehicles also need AI experts. Thilo Koslowski, a senior automotive analyst with Gartner, Inc., says, “There are dozens of startups adding autonomous functions to military and farm equipment.” For example, Cybernet Systems Corporation is creating cutting edge systems that can convert military vehicles into semiautonomous or autonomous machines. These machines employ AI to pick up shipping containers and then move them around.

As a result, every day a new AI advertisement is posted by engineering staffing firms. Job vacancies abound for experienced artificial intelligence professionals. Engineering recruitment teams are constantly devising new ways to attract key AI talent.

VR (Virtual Reality): Bringing Us The Future Of Entertainment

The future is already upon us. That’s why Facebook spent $2 billion for virtual reality startup Oculus. Recall how much more engaging a video is than a photo and you will truly grasp the significance of VR. Even The New York Times has embraced VR, offering readers content that takes full advantage of Google Cardboard.

The market for Virtual Reality is not as fully developed as AI, but as social media expands, more and more consumers will be demanding VR products like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. That is why there is an insatiable appetite among companies for VR engineers, scientists and research and development (R&D) experts. Any technology guru with VR expertise can probably get hired quickly. As a result, we are already seeing talent vacancies growing. Like with AI, VR candidates are in short supply and high demand.

EE Project Managers, Construction

Not as sexy as AI or VR, EE’s (electrical engineers) with strong Project Management skills are in very short supply and high demand in the construction field. Especially, electrical engineers with strong bidding and estimating skills, who have managed projects of at least $1 million!

With worldwide construction projects growing daily, many employment opportunities have been created for skilled electrical engineering Project Managers. Employers advertise, employ engineering recruiters and utilize any staffing method imageable to uncover skilled professionals who have a B.S.E.E. with strong project management skills including proficiency with: a) bidding software like Accubid and b) project management software like Sage 300. One company head told me recently, “we had such a hard time finding a skilled Project Manager with a strong electrical engineering background that we decided to take the time to train someone right out of school. This was not optimum, but we couldn’t find the right talent to fill our recruiting needs.”

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