Drafter Job Outlook

There are currently an estimated 99,600 Drafters in the United States. The Drafter job market is expected to grow by 8.1% between 2016 and 2026.

Drafter Employability Rating

F Sokanu rates Drafters with a F employability rating, meaning this career should provide poor employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 13,500 Drafters. That number is based on 8,100 additional Drafters, and the retirement of 5,400 existing Drafters.

Demand for Drafters

The overall job outlook for drafters is projected to show little or no change through 2022. Employment growth will vary by specialty. While construction projects will produce some opportunities for architectural and civil drafters, advances in computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) have increased efficiency in this sector and may reduce the demand for manpower. Another reason for intense competition in architectural and civil drafting is that this sub-discipline generates far more graduates than jobs. Electrical and electronics drafters will be needed to work on the designs of electrical systems in buildings, vehicles, and various devices. However, as computer software and database tools raise worker efficiency, growth in this specialty could also be tempered. Mechanical drafters may face particularly high competition for jobs, as many of them are typically employed in declining or slow-growing manufacturing industries. Still, developing software, such as product data management (PDM), will sustain demand for mechanical drafters skilled in building and maintaining large databases. More sophisticated and more user friendly CADD systems that allow other professionals, such as engineers and engineering technicians, to perform tasks normally assigned to drafters will likely reduce openings in the field. Outsourcing of drafting work to countries with lower wages may further reduce the number of domestic jobs. Because the drafting occupation is sensitive to construction, manufacturing, and general economic cycles, layoffs are not uncommon. However, laid off drafters are finding temporary or contract roles with consulting and employment services firms. During economic downturns, drafters who have earned one or more of the voluntary certifications offered by the American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) may enhance their employability.

Supply of Drafters

The Drafter industry is not particularly concentrated in any state.

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