That's because some EE engineering jobs start in the 80-90k, and patent examiners (a majority of which are EE's), start out making over $100k when you factor in the generous pension and using overtime to bring you up to the normal minimum required prosecution hours, way more time off, and telework. Same with APJ's. In-house hiring picked up too. The only time firms were a clearly good choice was back before the economy blew apart.
Additionally, EE attorneys at firms with 3+ years of experience have long been desirable, they don't need to be trained, but they aren't really expensive yet, most firms didn't drop them even when the economy was at its worst, they mostly dropped new hires and partners who weren't working out, 3-8 years exp has always been the sweet spot, a very narrow sweet spot at that.
first, note my name. i'm not in a firm; i am in house at a fortune 500 company. we pay better than all but the biggest of firms, and when you add up the difference in benefits, it's actually not all that far off. we'd start a 3rd year off around 140k with a 15%-20% yearly bonus, with much better health and retirement benefits than any firm. and we actually work normal hours, nothing crazy like at a firm.
all this and we can't find what we're looking for. just get a bunch of mechE and chemE's applying. as i said, EE market is hot.
Ah, I see. Here's what happened to the EE's. Firms slashed their numbers, stopped hiring, or cut down hiring to a bare trickle in 2009. Even for EE's, they still
haven't really picked it back up, though it is a bit better. Firms are the only ones who will train someone. 3-4 years later, lo and behold, the floor falls out on available associates with experience in the sweet spot 3-8 year range, yet filings have continued their upward trend, primarily in the EE arts.