Industrial engineers: Who are they and what do they do? And more importantly, could industrial engineering be for you?

Industrial engineers are really good at making work easier and faster.

How? By yelling, bribery, gentle persuasion? Actually none of those.

Industrial engineers examine how people and processes work and come up with smart solutions to remove any unnecessary effort or waste that's not productive. Their prime goals are to save money and get tasks done quicker.

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What exactly does an industrial engineer do every day?

  • Analyzes how people and processes work: records the sequence of steps required to complete the process and details the tasks completed at each step

  • Measures the output of work: records what is produced by the analyzed work and determines if what is produced is enough to meet demand (aka "time studies")

  • Identifies waste: industrial engineers love removing any tasks or steps that slow output

  • Provides solutions: comes up with ideas that mean less effort is required

  • Organizes the workplace: uses ergonomic principles to design work areas

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Where do industrial engineers work?

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  • Manufacturing: improving production processes to get the product to the customer faster

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  • Healthcare: getting the patient to treatment as efficiently as possible

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  • Government Bodies: reducing bureaucracy by removing unnecessary paperwork

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  • Travel/Transport: reducing queue time, making sure people or products get to their destination as quickly as possible

Other roles to watch for:

Many industrial engineers are called lean specialists or continuous improvement engineers. They have the same objectives as industrial engineers in removing waste from processes (trimming excess fat to keep systems lean!) and making things go smoother and quicker.


Which of these workplaces will you find an industrial engineer in action?

You'll love it if...

  • You like interacting with people to get information

  • You enjoy analysing data

  • You're stimulated by problem solving

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It's not for you if.....

How much does it pay?

Average Salary (USD) = $78,626

Average Salary (CAD) = $72,471

Pick the future industrial engineer

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  • Very good at planning activities

  • Very detail oriented, likes to excel at tasks

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  • Enjoys working on projects alone

  • Finds analysis boring

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  • Sees herself as a people manager

  • Likes to work on corporate strategies


Which person looks best suited to a career as an industrial engineer?

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So, could industrial engineering be in your future?

If you think so....


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