A new survey of the occupational ambitions of engineering students has uncovered a rise in those aspiring to work in the oil and gas sectors.

Research and consulting firm Universum has conducted a survey of engineering students in the US asking which employers they would most like to work for, and uncovered a sharp uptick in the popularity of resource companies as a result of North America’s shale and fracking boom.

The survey asked nearly 8,000 undergraduate engineering students to identify the one company for which they would most like to work from list of 230 potential employers.

Resource and energy firms comprise a major presence on the top 20 list of companies at which budding engineers most covet job opportunities. ExxonMobil comes in sixth on the list, with 9.74 per cent of respondents listing it as their ideal  place of employment.

Other major energy-related employers in the top 20 include Shell Oil Company, with 6.15 per cent of engineering students citing it as their ideal employer, and Chevron Corporation, with a reading of 5.4 per cent.

Oil and gas firms in general have also achieved major gains on the top 100 list of favourite companies to work for as a result of the increased prominence of North America’s homegrown fossil fuel sector, with Halliburton leaping 30 places to 56th spot.

America’s novice engineers continue to tend, however, towards jobs in the “engineering and manufacturing” sphere, which was listed by almost 70 per cent of survey respondents as their ideal area of employment. Energy follows afterwards at a considerable distance, followed by aerospace and defence.

Aeronautics and aerospace companies remain at the very top of the list, with Boeing coming in first place and NASA second, considered by 17.05 per cent and 16.34 per cent of survey respondents respectively to be ideal places of employment. Lockheed Martin takes fourth place, favoured by 11.64 per cent of respondents.

Tech firms are also prominently represented in the top 10, with Google taking third place with 15.45 per cent of respondents citing it as an ideal employer Apple and Microsoft occupy seventh and eighth place, with readings of 9.5 per cent and 8.25 per cent respectively.