What Industrial & systems engineers Do

Industrial and systems engineering is about choices. Other engineering disciplines apply skills to very specific areas. ISE gives practitioners the opportunity to work in a variety of businesses.

Many practitioners say that an industrial and systems engineering education offers the best of both worlds: an education in both engineering and business.

The most distinctive aspect of industrial and systems engineering is the flexibility it offers. Whether it's shortening a rollercoaster line, streamlining an operating room, distributing products worldwide, or manufacturing superior automobiles, these challenges share the common goal of saving companies money and increasing efficiencies.

As companies adopt management philosophies of continuous productivity and quality improvement to survive in the increasingly competitive world market, the need for industrial engineers is growing. Why? Industrial and systems engineers are the only engineering professionals trained specifically to be productivity and quality improvement specialists.

Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better. They engineer processes and systems that improve quality and productivity. They work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, energy and other commodities. This is why many industrial engineers end up being promoted into management positions.

Many people are misled by the term industrial engineer. It's not just about manufacturing. It also encompasses service industries, with many ISEs employed in entertainment industries, shipping and logistics businesses and healthcare organizations.

For an informative, upbeat look at how ISEs improve our world, enjoy this TEDx Talk by IISE member Subhashini Ganapathy, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Biomedical, Industrial and Human Factors Engineering, Wright State University.

Here is a list of quick facts about careers as an industrial engineer.

ISEs make processes better in the following ways:

  • More efficient and more profitable business practices
  • Better customer service and product quality
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased ability to do more with less
  • Making work safer, faster, easier and more rewarding
  • Helping companies produce more products quickly
  • Making the world safer through better designed products
  • Reducing costs associated with new technologies

Videos, Articles, Webinars & Podcasts

2020 Job outlook for recent college grads from USNews.com ... Industrial Engineer is among the top 8 jobs to target in the current economic climate. 

IE among college majors with best ROI

A recent report lists 11 degrees with best return on money spent in five years or less. Seven engineering majors dominate the list. “STEM and healthcare have historically been ‘high in demand.’ They tend to have the strongest job prospects, so they can start earning a lot of money right after graduating.”

Forbes.com highlights IEs, salaries and the growth of the profession in a 2020 article "Here's how much money industrial engineers earn in every U.S. state." The business magazine sources the Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Employment of industrial engineers is projected to rise by 10% from 2019 to 2029, a rate which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. In raw numbers, it means adding an impressive 30,000 industrial engineer jobs by 2029.”

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IE ranks #3 in fastest-growing jobs for women

IE ranks #3 in fastest-growing jobs for women

In 2018: 56,600 women IEs - an increase of more than 82% over a 5-year period.

  • Winning Videos About the ISE Profession
  • Take a look at some videos about industrial and systems engineering from the 2021 Industry Advisory Board's YouTube student video contest:

    Performance Excellence Webinars

    Problem Solved: The IISE Podcast

    Problem Solved features both IISE members and non-members who come from diverse backgrounds in both academia and industry to discuss a wide range of topics as it relates to their work.

    Episodes include ...