Leadership: industry needs for entry-level engineering positions

  • Beth Lin Hartmann Iowa State University
  • Charles T Jahren Iowa State University
Keywords: leadership, ABET, engineering education


This paper presents the results of a study that sought to identify what companies mean by the word “leadership” when used a job descriptions for entry-level, full-time engineering positions. Seven years of job posting data was analyzed to first understand the frequency and use of the word “leadership” in job descriptions. Using a systematic approach, six participants from engineering companies hiring students from a Midwestern university were selected and interviewed. Emerging themes from the interviews include the following leadership competencies: initiative/confidence, communication, interpersonal interactions, teamwork, and engagement. The goal of this ongoing research is to assist engineering programs to assess, refine, and develop curricula, advising materials and methods to best prepare students for industry.

Author Biographies

Beth Lin Hartmann, Iowa State University
Lecturer Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering
Charles T Jahren, Iowa State University
Assistant Chair and Professor-In-Charge of Construction Engineering Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering