From the Technical Editor
25 Percent of Profession’s Workforce to Retire in Next 10 Years
By Chris Jelenewicz, P.E., FSFPE Senior Manager for Engineering Practice SFPE
This issue of Fire Protection Engineering magazine focuses on fire retardants. As you read the first two articles, you will see that the Fire Protection Engineering
Editorial Board decided to provide our readers with different
viewpoints on this issue. We intend to provide this sort of content in
future issues so we are asking our readers to provide feedback on this
format to see if it provides value to you.
a totally different issue, since 1976, SFPE has surveyed fire safety
engineers/fire protection engineers (FPEs) concerning different aspects
of their education, compensation, and other related employment
questions. Last year, SFPE conducted its 17th survey and over 900
people, from 35 countries, completed this survey. The results were
extremely positive in areas related to compensation, benefits, and
employment participation as it revealed FPEs are well paid, receive
excellent benefits, and are rarely unemployed.
this is all good news for the profession, the survey revealed one
important finding that should be alarming to the entire profession. That
is, for first time, this survey asked participants about their plans
for retirement to better understand the expected job turnover in the
profession. The survey results to this question revealed about 25% of
the participants are planning on retiring within the next 10 years.
in the FPE profession the demand for engineers has exceeded the supply.
With this new expected turnover, this offset in demand will only
As a practicing fire
protection engineer, there are many benefits when the market demands
more jobs than the available supply. Nevertheless, the implications of
this shortage are a cause for concern. Without keeping up with this
demand, the profession cannot effectively grow and maintain its
competitiveness with other design professionals.
combat this demand issue, SFPE has made efforts to inform the public
that fire protection engineering is an exciting and rewarding career.
The first step in the process was to develop messages that are
understandable and supportive of SFPEs goals:
Fire protection engineers use science and technology to make our world safe from fire.
protection engineers are in high demand. The number of jobs
consistently outweighs the number of engineers available to fill them.
career in fire protection engineering pays well, provides opportunities
for world travel, and offers the chance to work in a variety of
a way of getting these messages out to the public, SFPE has developed a
number of resources that can be used by our chapters and members to
promote fire protection engineering as an exciting career. These
resources are all available on the SFPE website:
Careers Page on SFPE Website (http://www.sfpe.org/?CareersHome).
Provides information about the profession that includes a listing of
colleges, scholarship opportunities, and student organizations.
Guide to Careers in Fire Protection Engineering. Features trends and topics specific to the profession, including interviews with recent graduates and salary survey results.
Careers in Fire Protection Engineering PowerPoint Presentation. Designed for people who are interested in making presentations at local colleges and high schools.
Chemistry of Fire.
A multi-media teacher’s kit that is geared towards high school
chemistry students. It teaches students the science behind fire as a way
to understand the dangers of fire.
resources have been very effective in generating interest in the
profession. Since this recruitment program was started, SFPE has
received many compliments from graduating engineers who said they found
the profession as a result of these resources. For example, Janna
Shapiro, who recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
"The SFPE Career
materials not only provided me with information regarding what FPE
entails, but also introduced me to the wide variety of career options
and school programs available in the field. Ultimately, this resource
served as a key factor in my decision to pursue a degree in FPE.”
engineers and SFPE Chapters can use these resources to tell their
friends, families, and local schools about how fire protection
engineering is a rewarding profession. Now is the time to get the word
out about FPE. High school students who are in their junior year, a time
that many career decisions are made, will be graduating college in the
year 2021. If we wait much longer, it will be too late to correct this
offset in demand.
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