Talent to Industry Exchange

Architecture and Engineering


The Talent-to-Industry Exchange (TIE) concept was introduced in 2016 as a way to improve the labor supply in key industry sectors, growing the human capital necessary to attract and retain companies in the Kansas City region.


This strategy was put forward as a KC Rising pilot project to address the alignment of the region’s education pipeline with workforce needs in specific industries. Each industry-specific TIE includes (1) a detailed economic and labor analysis; (2) an educational asset inventory; (3) business engagement through surveys and facilitated discussions; and (4) an action plan and timeline for implementation. Read the TIE KC Global Design report »



Employment Trends by Occupation

Employment trends vary for specific occupations within the industry. Jobs in engineering occupations, more than a third of which are in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, grew by 15.9 percent in the Kansas City region in the past decade, compared to an increase of only 1.7 percent at the national level.


Jobs in architectural occupations (including architects, surveyors and cartographers) have declined in both the region and the nation since 2001, with the region being hit harder by the Great Recession. However, these jobs have also rebounded more strongly locally than nationally, so that by 2016, the region’s loss of architectural jobs, at 3.1 percent, was less than half the nation’s 7.2 percent loss.


Jobs in technician-level occupations have outpaced national employment by the largest margin, with a 12.9 percent increase in Kansas City, compared to a 1.6 percent decrease nationally. Technician occupations include entrylevel positions in engineering, drafting and mapping.




Demand by Occupation and Entry-Level Credential

The employment forecast below is based on our historical trend, part of which includes the Great Recession. As a result, these demand numbers are expected to be conservative. Some of the fastest growth in life science manufacturing occupations over the next few years will occur in entry-level positions that require only high school or some college, while most fast-growing jobs in bioinformatics and research and development require at least a bachelor’s degree. (Only the top 10 occupations by current life science industry employment are shown for each concentration.)




Wage Analysis

At the industry level, the Kansas City region’s average wages in architecture and engineering surpass the national average ($92,050 compared to $84,291) and rank ninth among metros with a population greater than 1 million. The region fares even better among its peer metros when wages are measured by industry, ranking 3rd highest. Kansas City’s higher average wage for the industry is in part a result of the number of global headquarters that are located in the region, and the higher-paid executives who work in those headquarters.


To gain an understanding of the relative pay of the design professionals alone requires comparing median wages for engineers, architects and technicians by occupation rather than by industry. By this measure, the region is 19th among its peers and below the national average. This likely reflects our lower-than-average cost of living as well as the differences in pay between the engineering specialties that are employed in large numbers here, such as civil and mechanical engineers, and those that are employed in larger proportions elsewhere, such as electrical or petroleum engineers.












Source: Jobs EQ


Industry vs. Occupation

The architecture and engineering industry includes many occupations beyond engineers and architects. For example, firms in the industry also employ people in positions such as administration, human resources, marketing and information technology.


More than half of all architecture and engineering occupations in the Kansas City region are found in firms outside the industry. Engineers, in particular, are often employed in industries such as manufacturing, computer system design, and scientific research and development.


The broad range of employment opportunities for engineers and architects indicates what is known as a “thick” cluster in this industry in the Kansas City region, which is important for both firm recruitment and talent attraction. New graduates gravitate toward places that offer more choices, where competition among firms bids up wages for talented workers. Firms benefit from a deeper pool of talent.