The civil engineering profession has a reputation for being a pretty hard-headed bunch.
The American Civil Engineering Association (ACEA) says that 70 percent of its members were trained as engineers, and a third were trained in civil engineering as their majors.
But in fact, that number is far lower than that.
In 2014, only 6.9 percent of all civil engineers were trained and qualified in civil engineer.
That was less than half of the industry average of 11.6 percent, according to the Association.
The reason for that disparity is that the number of engineering jobs available in the United States is growing at a slower rate than the number in civil service.
According to ACEA data, more than 40 percent of the jobs that were offered in the U.S. as a result of the Affordable Care Act were in the private sector.
The federal government has made good on that promise, but the number and pay for these jobs are still pretty low.
The median hourly wage for a civil engineer in the past two years was $18.32 in 2016, according the ACEA.
That’s about $2.65 less than the median hourly pay for a worker in the public sector, and less than a quarter of the $29.50 average hourly pay in the nation as a whole.
ACEA president and CEO Dan Lipschitz told Ars that this low pay isn’t necessarily bad news for the profession, but it’s a sign that more and more of the people working in civil construction are getting the education they need.
“When you’re looking for an engineer, you want someone with a high-school diploma, or with some degree in engineering, because that’s a very, very high-paying job,” Lipscittitz said.
“And that’s where they have to be.”
The problem isn’t just that the field is underrepresented, but that the jobs aren’t competitive in terms of pay.
According the Association, only 3.9 million engineering jobs are open in the US, and only 12 percent of engineering positions are filled by minorities.
As a result, many people in the field are finding themselves with fewer jobs than they need, and the gap between what engineers can and can’t do is growing.
Lipscht said that the current lack of competition in the industry means that engineers can’t just hire people who can do their job.
“They have to have a high school diploma and an engineering degree,” he said.
The current shortage of engineering hires is particularly problematic for women, according with the ACTA, because there are fewer opportunities for women to get into engineering, compared to men.
As of 2015, only 21.6% of engineering applicants were female.
That compares to about 48.5% of all applicants in the STEM fields.
“Women tend to be less interested in engineering than men, and women are much more likely to take on the less challenging tasks,” Linschitz said, adding that women are more likely than men to take time off to take care of family.
The Association is working on a new national initiative called “Equal Opportunity Engineering,” which aims to increase the number—and pay—of women in engineering.
Linscittiz said that, by 2020, the ACGA will be releasing a “national survey on the gender and race of engineering faculty,” and that the survey will look at whether the field can increase the numbers of women in its ranks.
“We want to see that women have a seat at the table,” Lickschitz added.
“The problem with this is that if there are no women in this field, it’s not going to be a great field.”
As a candidate for a job, the only requirement is that you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree in civil or environmental engineering or have completed a master’s degree.
“If you have a bachelor degree in the civil engineering, you can apply, and if you have any bachelor’s in civil science, you’re not going,” Lidschitz continued.
“You need to have some kind of a degree in some type of engineering, and that’s the minimum requirement.”
As an example, he said, a master degree in mechanical engineering would not make you eligible for a master in civil engineers.
“That’s not the only thing you need to do, though,” Linkschitz concluded.
“There’s a lot more you can do.
It doesn’t make any sense, but you have to do it, and you have no choice.”