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I won't mention his name, but he is the lead recruiter for Exxon here at Purdue and I imagine a few other schools.
I don't believe recruiters. Hiring 700 people is pretty massive. That can't be new hires.
Ok, but still, isn't hiring down almost everywhere right now? Is there something special that would make you recommend prospective students to steer clear of PE?
Hell, so what makes you think some person from ABC, who isn't a PE major, will be employed?
Obviously, 79,000 would include all employees, not just engineers – but at a company like Exxon where nearly everyone holds an engineering degree I think it would be safe to say ~40,000 are engineers in one capacity or another or at the very least hold an engineering degree – 700 would be 1.7% of that.
I'm not saying they will. My point is simple, PE is much more specialized than ME/ChemE/etc. Those majors have numerous fallback options, PE really doesn't. In good times, hell even this past fall - I have perssonally witnessed ME/ChemE's who've gotten positions both up and downstream. I'm not saying it's the norm, easy to do, or anything else...
However, after hearing this I spoke with a long time professor here who said that a few years ago Exxon was hiring nearly as many engineers as they could find, regardless of type, and according to him recruiting is down substantially from a few years ago.
I graduated with a "middling" GPA in Pet Eng in 1982, and have been able to work every day since then. Have had some awesome opportunities, with plenty more to come.