Career Prospects

Are there adequate employment opportunities for Industrial Engineers?
Which opportunities exist for Industrial Engineering in the future?
Why is Industrial Engineering a sought after profession?
Which companies employ Industrial Engineers?

Almost any company in the industrial, business and service sectors may benefit from the services of an Industrial Engineer. This may include, for example, the retail and wholesale, health services, financial, manufacturing, construction or chemical sectors. Therefore, the graduate Industrial Engineer enjoys a very wide choice of type of employment, employer and working conditions. The profession is not dependent on employment opportunities that may exist or may be created in only one or two of the major industrial sectors. The availability of suitable employment is therefore not severely affected if a specific sector experiences economic stagnation. In a similar way, if a specific sector experiences significant growth it may be exploited by the Industrial Engineer as a new employment opportunity. Similarly, excellent opportunities for promotion usually exist within a specific organisation while advancement into other departments of an organisation, including management, is often possible. The graduate Industrial Engineer is therefore exceptionally flexible and has the capability to survive in the manufacturing or service industry since his knowledge and experience is applicable to almost any organisation. He will not be easily caught in a specific field of specialisation that is no longer in demand for some or other reason.

Traditionally, Industrial Engineers were employed by the larger corporations but smaller companies are increasingly interested in using the services of the profession. Several previous students of the department operate their own companies while several potential employment environments in South Africa have not been fully exploited as yet. The world, and especially South Africa, requires relatively fewer specialised engineers. The requirement is rather for engineers who are capable of identifying, and if necessary adapt, the appropriate technology, who have a global perspective and who can integrate the contributions of the various specialists. In this way "new" technology may be developed to solve problems and handle situations which are at present unknown and for which pre-training is not possible. The Industrial Engineer and the education provided at the University of Pretoria is eminently suitable to provide for this need.

Little doubt exists that adequate employment opportunities will exist in the future while new and challenging opportunities will probably develop. The average remuneration of graduate Industrial Engineers, in South Africa and abroad, compares well to the average remuneration of the engineering profession as a whole. Present employment opportunities exist, and future opportunities may be expected to develop in, for example, the following economic sectors:
  • Mining sector
  • Food and beverage industry
  • Banking sector
  • Electricity supply services
  • Communication industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Primary manufacturing
  • Consulting services
  • Electronic industry
  • Local government
  • Secondary manufacturing
  • Agricultural sector
  • Process industry
  • Distribution and transport services
  • Hotel industry




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