Information is the Key to Tapping This Highly Educated Market
By Lisa Yorgey Lester
Civil engineering is one of the oldest engineering professions. From ancient pyramids, aqueducts and dams to modern day bridges, runways and highways, its practitioners have been entrusted with building and maintaining the infrastructures in which we live.
In 2000, civil engineers held approximately 232,000 jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of these engineers were employed by engineering consulting firms that primarily develop designs for new construction projects. The remaining engineers were employed by federal, state and local agencies, construction and manufacturing industries, or were self-employed as consultants.
By law, civil engineers specify and approve the components used in design and construction projects. This responsibility translates into a desire for information and a need for widely diverse products and services.
Demographics point to a decidedly male market that is moderately affluent and well-educated. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that civil engineers earned a median annual salary of $55,740 in 2000.
The minimum requirement for an entry-level position is a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, although many employers now request civil engineers earn a Professional Engineer license, which requires additional postgraduate study.
The pursuit of learning and information, however, is not limited to academic achievement. Civil engineers are "information hungry people," says Gordon Clotworthy, president of NJ-based The Information Refinery, which manages several engineering files.
"To do their jobs correctly, they need to stay on top of the latest technology, processes and products. They have to be on the cutting edge of what's happening in their market," he explains.
They're a good audience for products and services that satisfy their educational needs, including continuing education seminars, association memberships, magazine subscriptions, journals and books, as well as conferences and trade shows.