Saturday, June 5, 2010

Drafting Services Market on the up-tick?

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Drafters can expect slower than average employment growth, with the best opportunities expected for those with at least 2 years of post secondary training.

Employment change. Employment of drafters is expected to grow by 4 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is slower than the average for all occupations. However, growth will vary by specialty.

Architectural and civil drafting is expected to be the fastest growing specialty, increasing by 9 percent, which is about as fast as the average. Increases in overall construction activity stemming from U.S. population growth and the related need to improve the Nation’s infrastructure should spur demand for drafters trained in architectural and civil design.

In contrast to employment of architectural and civil drafters, little or no change in employment is expected of mechanical drafters and of electronic and electrical drafters. Many of these workers are concentrated in slow-growing or declining manufacturing industries that offer few opportunities for growth related to expansion. However, increasingly complex design problems associated with new products and manufacturing processes will increase the demand for mechanical drafters and electronic and electrical drafters employed in engineering and drafting services firms that will be charged with finding solutions to these problems.

Across all specialties, CADD systems that are more powerful and easier to use will allow many tasks to be done by other technical professionals, thus curbing demand for drafters. Job growth also should be slowed as some drafting work, which can be done by sending CADD files over the Internet, is outsourced offshore to countries that pay lower wages.

Job prospects. Opportunities should be best for individuals with at least 2 years of postsecondary training in a drafting program that provides strong technical skills and considerable experience with CADD systems. CADD has increased the complexity of drafting applications while enhancing the productivity of drafters. It also has enhanced the nature of drafting by creating more possibilities for design and drafting. As technology continues to advance, employers will look for drafters with a strong background in fundamental drafting principles, a high level of technical sophistication, and the ability to apply their knowledge to a broader range of responsibilities. Most job openings are expected to arise from the need to replace drafters who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force completely.

Employment of drafters remains tied to industries that are sensitive to cyclical changes in the economy, primarily construction and manufacturing. During recessions, drafters may be laid off. However, a growing number of drafters should continue to find employment on a temporary or contract basis as more companies turn to the employment services industry to meet their changing needs.

Demand for particular drafting specialties varies throughout the country because employment usually is contingent on the needs of local industry.

Projections Data

Projections data from the National Employment Matrix

Occupational Title

SOC Code

Employment, 2008

Projected
Employment, 2018

Change,
2008-18

Detailed Statistics

Number

Percent

Drafters

17-3010

251,900

262,500

10,700

4

[PDF]

[XLS]

Architectural and civil drafters

17-3011

118,400

129,100

10,800

9

[PDF]

[XLS]

Electrical and electronics drafters

17-3012

33,600

33,900

300

1

[PDF]

[XLS]

Mechanical drafters

17-3013

78,700

77,800

-900

-1

[PDF]

[XLS]

Drafters, all other

17-3019

21,200

21,700

500

2

[PDF]

[XLS]

NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Information Included in the Handbook.

Earnings

Drafters' earnings vary by specialty, location, and level of responsibility. Median annual wages of architectural and civil drafters were $44,490 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $35,290 and $55,740. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $67,110. Median annual wages for architectural and civil drafters in architectural, engineering, and related services were $44,390.

Median annual wages of mechanical drafters were $46,640 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,490 and $59,010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $71,340. Median annual wages for mechanical drafters in architectural, engineering, and related services were $47,630.

Median annual wages of electrical and electronics drafters were $51,320 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $40,210 and $65,400. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,790. In architectural, engineering, and related services, median annual wages for electrical and electronics drafters were $47,910.



Drafting Services, Architectural Millwork Casework, CAD Shop Drawings, Design Consulting