Some of the nation’s best engineering colleges are recruiting the most skilled engineers.
While some are struggling to keep up, others have taken off, according to data compiled by the Engineering Talent Index (ETI), a research group based in Washington, D.C. ETI said that colleges in the Northeast, Midwest, and West have seen the most new engineering hires this year.
The ETI, which is a collaboration between the National Science Foundation and the National Association of Colleges of Technology, says that schools in those regions are now offering at least 25% more engineering graduates than they did in 2013.
The rankings, which reflect new hires at engineering schools in 2017 and 2018, also show that there is a widening gap between the best and the worst of the best.
ETCI’s 2017 rankings were based on the performance of students enrolled at a U.K.-based engineering school, the National School of Engineering in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that had a total of 2,819 students enrolled in 2017, and 785 students enrolled last year.
While the overall ETCi ranking for engineering schools dropped by 11 spots last year, it rose by three spots this year, from #3 to #2.
The NEI also has a similar methodology to ETCH, which ranks engineering schools based on how well students perform in the national assessments.
In the 2017 rankings, engineering schools were ranked in four of the six categories: high school graduation rate, graduating class size, graduation rate of the most recent graduating class, and student body participation.
But in the 2018 rankings, the NEI ranked engineering schools according to how well they do in four other categories: performance in the National College Board’s National College Assessment, a nationally representative sample of students, a measure of student diversity and inclusivity, and an overall performance score for their graduates.
The two rankings are similar.
ETA ranked engineering students in a similar way in 2018.
For every 100 engineering students enrolled, ETA said, the schools were averaging an 11.7 GPA.
The difference is that ETA is looking at students who have taken an engineering class at some point in their lives and not just those who graduated from a four-year university.
For the 2018 NEI, engineering students had an average grade point average of 2.85 in 2019 and 2.87 in 2020.
“This year, engineering is a little more of a diversified crop of students,” said ETCB’s Dr. Mark Schmitz.
“There are a lot of different schools and it’s a little easier to see how those different schools compare.
The results are quite striking.”
While ETCE is now using a sample of graduates from the same schools for the NEIs rankings, Schmitb said that it still considers engineering schools that do not have a large student body to be underrepresented.
“We’re still looking for an unbiased, representative sample,” Schmit, the ETCU’s dean of engineering, said.
“So we’re still going to try to get as many of the top students as we can, but the results should be comparable.”
Engineering schools that are doing well can earn a reputation as a place to go to get a solid degree in engineering, which could help them attract students from outside their home states.
Schools that are struggling with high dropout rates are not a great place to recruit engineers, Schmetz said.
Engineers that have to wait until after graduation to get their degree often end up working for larger companies or companies that have smaller or non-STEM-related departments, which means that their students aren’t as likely to go on to earn their engineering degrees.
The problem for schools like ETCS is that students who are stuck in engineering programs may not have the time or interest in continuing to study engineering after graduation.
Some schools are hiring graduates with only two years of engineering experience, while others are recruiting students who took at least four years of college engineering classes.
But even as colleges continue to attract engineering graduates, Schmutz said that he is hopeful that schools will soon begin to see more of them, as they will be more prepared to support their engineering students after graduation and beyond.
“The big question is: How will we prepare the next generation of engineering students to take that next step and graduate and be able to do a real job in a corporate setting,” Schmets said.