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A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?
76

A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

(OP)

A recent article says that there will be an acute shortage ... particularly in the electrical field !!!

http://www.csemag.com/single-article/the-coming-en...

Who agrees ???

Who strongly disagrees ???

MJCronin
Sr. Process Engineer

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Strongly disagree" doesn't begin to cover it.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Maybe in certain fields. Power engineering is seeing a shortage that will only get worse in the next five years. The magnitude of the shortage is grossly over exaggerated though. Salaries are not yet reflecting a true shortage but more years of total experience in each department is dropping as people leaving due to retiring are being replaced with fresh grads.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I probably don't have a great "feel" for the engineering field as a whole, but I would guess the future will be something like this:

People with engineering degrees: No shortage

Experienced engineers with deep and confident knowledge of their field: Few and far between

As a young engineer working for a small town manufacturer, I'm not sure I'll ever make it to the second category.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I agree with the part that I read. And I agree that my salary is not sky rocketing. And I am looking forward to retirement.

There is a shortage of power engineers, and schools teaching electrical power.

I'm not sure this applies to mechanical engineers, as so few of us know what you do.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

That's talking about a VERY narrow segment of EEs, even. There may actually be a bit of a shortfall because colleges haven't really been emphasizing power engineering as a viable sub-discipline, but they hadn't been doing that since I was in college, which was 37 yrs ago, so if there were a shortage, it should have already been evident by now.

The big issue is the 25% over 55 bit. Given the state of most people's retirement savings, it's highly likely that most of these people won't retire unless they can get Social Security maxed out, which would be at 66+, which is more than 12 yrs away for the youngest of that group, and that age is expected to shift further out to 67+ for those born after 1960. And these people would have never all left at the same time.

Conclusion: much ado about little.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

8
If there is any shortage, it is a shortage of the time companies allowing senior engineers to mentor junior or new-hire engineers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

4
This kind of article comes out every time when something (or somebody?) threatens H-1B visas.

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Yawn.

We see these dire warnings continuously- even during recessions. The shortage is seldom claimed to be current- it's usually just around the corner. Soon enough to be worrisome, but far enough away that current measurements of employment levels, wages etc. are deemed to be irrelevant to the discussion about whether or not it's a real problem. Sometimes, it's a current shortage of mid-level people in some cyclic industry which completely stops hiring young people during every down-turn in the economy, which is then generalized to the entire engineering profession... For instance, I can predict with 100% certainty that the oil and gas industry will be screaming "shortage" the next time oil prices rise. All the people they're laying off right now, and the tens of thousands they laid off this past year, will have moved on to other things, retired, or be so far from their oil and gas past that they wouldn't be considered eligible for re-employment.

It has been happening like this for at least sixty years.

Google "IEEE Spectrum STEM crisis is a myth" and read that paper. He does the research and shows the pattern.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I shared this article with two of my EE buddies last night, and they both said their companies reflect these assertions perfectly. One is a project manager for a utility, and the other designs substations at a large engineering firm. Both reported very large age gaps among power engineers. One was already aware of and educated on the issue. He believes the gap is due to the more fun and interesting choices EE's have had for the past few decades. e.g. designing computers and high tech gadgets. Power engineering has been boring and uninspiring by comparison. However, that is changing now that more cutting edge technology is coming to the power industry all the time.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Comocokid,

Why devote time to training when we are already behind schedule, over budget, and understaffed? ;)


FoxRox,

Not much is changing in the power industry as people make it out to be. There really is not that much that is "cutting edge" at least in comparison to other industries. No one is going to magically figure out a better way to transmit power over transmission lines. Yeah, super conductors are being used or proposed but those are for odd applications like where space is an issue in NYC or for a super substation like Tres Amigas that will connect the Eastern,Western, and Ercot interconnects together to allow wind generation in the midwest flow more freely. Bus protocols like 61850 will change how the substations wired, and tested but the general relay protection philosophies will very likely be the same. Protection philosophies have not changed much even in the move from mechanical to electronic relays. Power electronic devices are used but in very limited applications. The biggest change that I see is the amount and type of green energy being connected to the grid. A lot of upgrades and changes will also need to be made when electrical cars become prevalent. Depending on how slowly the car charges, it will increase the household kwh draw by mutiple, I think in the 2-5 range, during charging.
Compliance to NERC regulation is becoming a cottage industry in of itself. I don't know. I like it because there are a lot of nooks and crannies and when you pull out 40-100 year old text, almost all that you read is still relevant. With that, experience is always valued as opposed to in the .COM industry where fresh grads sometimes are valued over people who have been in the industry for a long time due to them having experience with whatever the new programming language is. Nobody is putting power engineers with 30+ years of experience out to the pasture. It is a mature industry that in my opinion shouldn't be using something like smart grid (too often a solution without a problem) to convince fresh grads that the field is becoming "livelier". It should be instead sold on the merits of being a mature industry with an old and huge 100 year knowledge base that is all still relevant and will never become obsolete.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
I was told about this shortage coming....about 30 years ago, then again about 25 years ago....then about 20 years ago...etcetera

I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I've suffered through.



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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
I do a lot of the intern hiring for my department and find that about 1/2 of the students I interview don't want to be engineers in the long run so they don't put in the effort to pay their dues to become good engineers early in their careers.

no shortage of engineers, not many stick with it

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

truckandbus: only 30% of engineering grads in Canada work as engineers, so that 1/2 of the students you interview who don't want to be engineers are in good company.

However, your anecdotal observation of the students you interview runs contrary to the measurements. Our local engineering regulator PEO has been surveying substantial numbers of 4th year engineering students each year for quite a few years, and the results are consistent: over 90% of the graduates will either definitely or probably seek a career in engineering. Only about 6-10% know in 4th year that they are going to pursue something else, i.e. medicine, law etc. So that leaves about 60% of the graduating class, ending up doing something else by default, not by choice. And after a few years out of engineering, they're considered "spoiled" and not suitable for re-use. They've lost their profession for good.

Why do so many fail to gain entrance to the profession? Too few employers are willing to take them on and train them. They expect to find people with 10 yrs of relevant experience gained elsewhere, who can hit the ground running. That only works a) during recessions or b) if you offer significant salary premium. People who build their businesses on that kind of growth model SHOULD find themselves with a shortage of candidates in my opinion- they're shortchanging not only themselves, but the whole profession.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I suspect any shortage would be in quality, not quantity. Employers, regulatory, and boards can always lower the bar to address demand.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The Raising the Bar initiative is raising bar. A masters degree will basically be required to obtain a PE soon.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I think there may be a shortage looming, and the retirement boom is only one factor. In the case of the US power industry, there is a rapid change occurring that will require an increase in the number of electric power engineers to address. Intermittent renewable energy sources, large scale storage batteries, smart meters and demand management impact, and modernization of the grid to bring it to international standards cannot be accomplished simply by snapping one's fingers. I think the response of the colleges should be to aler their curriculum to better address these upcoming issues and back off on training students for legacy technology that is slowly but surely becoming irrelevant.

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

@moltenmetal - what I am finding is that the new grads want to start in engineering but don't want to end up as the seasoned, grey-haired go-to person with 20 years in the trenches.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I think the comment on quality is a good one, as many companies believe they can hire consultants when they need help. However, I have seen a lack of quality from such consultant groups, and employees that jump from company to company.

Electric utilities have been hiring EE's without power background as a way to keep up with the need. This requires companies to do internal training on the power system.
The attraction of the utility industry is stability, so we see more people tired of the high tech job jumping. However, the background in high tech typically does not translate well.

It is true that many companies don't do much training, and some of that is a management problem, but smaller companies can't justify the staffing to train new people (Utility commissions pressure companies to keep staff low). But the NERC pressure is requiring more engineers with understanding of the issues, as well as staffing of regional groups, and new industries entering the power field.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

truckandbus: you mean the smarter kids are waking up and smelling the cat food? Moving to gigs which give them more reward for less effort and risk? The little rascals- how dare they?

There's some attrition out of the profession to SNORGY's favourite MBA route, for sure. That shows up in the numbers- a somewhat larger % of eng grads are employed as engineers 0-10 yrs post grad than in the upper years of experience. Some of that attrition though occurs when people are let go from a cyclic industry and not picked up as engineers thereafter- that too happens.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

3
Based on my own experience the ones who migrate to the MBA programs tend to be the least competent. I worked directly for one of these imbeciles several years ago, and he couldn't engineer his way out of a paper bag. He ended up being a VP and got to make the call on engineering decisions. It was ugly...

Maui

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Maui,
It proves the old saying" the people with a B average work for the government, and the people with the A average work for the people with a C average".

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
Can't be a shortage of employees, only a shortage of willingness to pay more.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Dave, I'd never heard that before, but it sounds about right. smile

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

OK, you're right- I forgot to put "smarter" in quotation marks...what I meant is the ones who leave for greener pastures by choice a) aren't so in love with engineering that they see it as an avocation rather than merely something they do for money (you're right- often, that's because they aren't all that good at it), and b) they're the ones who wake up and realize that engineering, especially as an employee, isn't nearly as good a gig as it was thirty years ago, and if you really want to earn some money you've got to find another way to do it. Median pay in Ontario for an experienced (level D) engineer is now on par with the median pay of teachers in the province.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Wow. Moltenmetal that salary statistic is brutal. No wonder engineering grads are jumping ship. With wages that low less technical low pressure jobs with similar pay will always win over all but the most dedicated, unless pay dramatically increases with experience.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

moltenmetal,

Teachers in Ontario are reasonably well paid, although engineers don't get the summer off.

Anatomy of an Ontario teacher’s paycheque .

Remember of course, that these are Canadian dollars.

--
JHG

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

6
I've heard this one before.....and at the bottom of it is typically a shortage of cheap engineers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

My argument isn't that teachers are overpaid here- I think they earn fair compensation, particularly when they (inevitably) reach the top end of the pay scale. BTW, the top end of the payscale IS the median now, because more than 1/2 of the teachers in Ontario have achieved the top of the payscale. They don't retire, even when they can and should- my son received more instructional hours in gr 6 from a 70 yr old "retired" principal who was "double dipping" as a long term occasional teacher (long term substitute). He's obviously been doing this for a long time, and getting away with it as a result of the collective bargaining agreement, while gifted young teachers like my niece just starting out cannot get a board position and languish on the LTO list for YEARS...

My question is simply this: IF we feel as a society that a teacher is worth their (equivalent of, once holidays are compensated for) $100,000 CDN/yr PLUS excellent benefits (the best defined benefit pension plan in the country- even federal employees don't have it that good!), is a similarly experienced engineer not worth more than that? The market at the moment says "no", as evident from the salaries of engineers relative to teachers, but ONLY because teachers are unionized and engineers for the most part are not.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I think there will be time when many extra field will come into picture and engg would get any importance. No jobs for engg have to do some extra and try for many more extra degrees...

Sanika Patel
http://crbtech.in/CAD-CAM-Training/

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I propose that if the US imports enough engineers, that the quality of engineers in other parts of the world will decrease. The same with doctors, and taxi drivers.

So from that a point of view, it might be better for us to import as many engineers as possible.

I also propose that there will be enough engineering grads that just can't cut it, and will become teachers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

https://dazeinfo.com/2014/10/28/1-5-million-engine...

http://www.thenewsminute.com/lives/609

And there are tons of articles about industry screaming how inadequate fresh graduates and that is why they hire only a small fraction:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Onl...

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703515...


Same stuff as in the states. Fresh grads suck. Nevermind that they need training. Only a fraction of fresh grads go into engineering. Wages are stagnate despite industry's cry that there is a shortage. I am not really convinced the quality anywhere is affected that much by workers leaving to work abroad. The glut is too large for quality or wages to be affected much by people leaving the country in my opinion.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Should hardly be surprising; every developing country is attempting to corner the world's markets in engineered goods, but it also requires very cheap labor, so all the more reason to pump up the supply to bring the labor costs down.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I believe it is part of the over all trend to reduce labor costs by bring in more supply of labor. That I don't disagree.

But there also seems to be a shortage of quality power engineers. And Tech.'s, and Linemen, and truck drivers.

For that matter, there is a shortage of quality people available.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"For that matter, there is a shortage of quality people available."

That's because they're already gainfully employed. The big question is whether we're at the point where any further increases in supply of quality people will drastically drop labor rates, because not every job requires the "best" candidate. Someone who is "good enough" will undercut the salary rates.

In some respects, all this emphasis on driving people into STEM is a lot like an external market manipulation, which we all know has potentially deleterious consequences.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (cranky108)

I propose that if the US imports enough engineers, that the quality of engineers in other parts of the world will decrease.

Don't you think that if US will import cheap engineers, the quality of engineers in other parts of the world will actually increase?

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I have 20 plus engineering work experience to senior,principal and manager level. My view is that there is no shortage of engineers and will never be mainly to do with globalization and mass migration. In fact, I am well aware of universities in various countries closing down or consolidating departments as are not able to recruit engineering candidates.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The UK is seeing a similar problem in the heavy electrical industries - power generation, transmission, primary distribution and the process industries such as petrochemicals and... well, once I could have included mining, steel, and the like. Not now, not today. lookaround

There is an entire generation which is under-represented in power engineering - the one I'm part of. It's the 30-year harvest from the seeds sown during the privatisation (read: decimation) of the state-owned utilities in the 1980's and the recession of the late 80's and early 90's. Recruitment and training pretty much stopped for two decades before the power industry started to wake up and realise that a serious problem was developing, with the result that my generation is largely missing from an industry still dominated by the 'grey haired guys' who survived the huge cull. During that period many universities closed their unpopular power engineering classes because they were (rightly) seen by students as difficult, old-fashioned, and with lousy employment prospects, while the universities saw them as space-hungry, capital-intensive, minority-interest subjects.

Today a handful of universities have re-established first-rate power engineering schools and there are some really bright prospects coming out of these universities who will be excellent engineers once they gain industry experience, but they can't pick up two or three decades worth of experience overnight, and the old-timers are retiring faster than these new folks are gaining experience. I see this going on for another decade, maybe fifteen years or so until some sort of balance between supply and demand is restored. At that point I'll be getting worried that some of these new grads will be a lot better at this stuff than I am. smile

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

ScottyUK.
Whilst the situation regarding engineers may be improving in the UK these new graduates will be entering an industry where the critical path for distribution projects is dictated by the availability of cable jointers. The bigger skills shortage in my opinion is of craftsmen in trades which most people do not even know exist.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I guess we are lucky in those respects, because we have a resource of people retiring from the military, and who are willing to be trained in additional skills.
Truck driving skills is not a problem.

It's the power engineers, INC tech's and relay tech's we have difficulty finding.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Actually cranky108, I keep hearing about shortages of truck drivers - even a few years ago when unemployment was high. Seems to be mostly that the pay isn't that good, especially given the long hours away from 'home' for long distance drivers etc. Plus all the 'self employed' shenanigans of making the drivers own their rigs but be treated like employees in most ways...

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Shortages of long haul truck drivers. Have you heard of shortages of local truck drivers?

I suspect some trucking companies do play games with employees.

My comment was about the skills not the people willing to do the job. Besides utility trucks, in general, are not that big.
We do have special people for driving oil rigs, and other larger things. But in general the line trucks have to be able to go over city streets, and dirt roads.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Andybro,

Yes, I agree there are chronic shortages of jointers, also protection engineers, TP141 commissioning techs... the list goes on.

Managers are ten-a-penny though! wink

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

There is some truth there. "You get what you pay for" is really true.

If you are hiring truck drivers at minimum wage, you are likely to have shortages.

Paying engineers more will increase the pool of engineers, but it will take time to train them, and weed out the bad ones.

So from that perspective, there should be no shortage of engineers. Just a shortage of companies who are willing to pay a reasonable rate.

Which brings to mind how so many companies are not willing to pay their in housh engineers more, but are willing to hire consultants at three times the rate, for second class work.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (cranky)

Which brings to mind how so many companies are not willing to pay their in housh engineers more, but are willing to hire consultants at three times the rate, for second class work.

Given the overhead multipliers in most large companies, paying only 3 times as much money for work which is only 2nd class would be seen as excellent value for money! dazed

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The fact that consulting engineers are available means that you don't have to continue to feed an expensive, in-house, qualified engineer. At a 3x multiple, that's still probably less than double the net cost per hour for an in-house engineer, and so long as you need the consultant less than 6 months per year, you're ahead

Having an in-house engineer means more than just the sheer cost, you have to feed that one guy stuff that he's interested in doing, and if you don't do that, at best, the guy gets rusty over time, and at worst, he bails after a couple of yrs of fixing stupid crap that the cheap engineer should be able to fix, but can't. This also means that your cost to maintain in-house capability goes up even further if you have to pay for acquisition of the next qualified engineer, in head-hunter fees, advertising, and down time to interview candidates.

There are certain disciplines that we've been completely unable to fill because of the reasons above.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
A 3x multiplier on salary is probably low on an employee of a large company burdened with lots of MBAs, VPs, PIPs, HR and other alphabet soup folks...

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

hmm. We only use a 2x multiplier.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The lower you pay your engineers, the higher the multiplier has to be.
Generally.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Generally, smaller companies tend to have lower multipliers. A significant portion of our multiplier pays for facilities that smaller companies might not have, such as security officers, SCIFs, gobs of lab equipment, etc. 8% of our personnel are associated with security and IT. While IT does the usual PC problems, they also are constantly keeping the PCs updated and virus scanned. Every single classified computer has to be audited on a routine basis by IT. Even then, we are all still pretty highly paid, although not as well paid as what Facebook and Google interns are supposedly being paid this year (~8k/month)

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The topic of this thread has drifted to a related, but interesting one. Labor rate multipliers are a useful tool for establishing a profitable price to charge for small routine jobs or orders. These multipliers are very frequently misused by middle management and bean counters to show large cost savings by reducing head count. Reducing head count of those to whom the multiplier applies, does not reduce overhead and simply increases the multiplier for next year when a new multiplier is calculated. This leads to what I have called the "corporate death spiral", where companies price themselves out of business by constantly increasing the multiplier. The only way to decrease the multiplier is to increase sales and therefore headcount.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

My favorite sign over an engineer's desk: "Note to management: You are overhead; I am profit"

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I think in a nutshell, the engineering profession as a whole is shrinking in the western world while increasing in the developing countries due to a host of political and economic reasons, on the same token the number of professionals engaged changes accordingly. ( my view is that many engineers slip out of the profession as they mature, after 10 -15 years on average. On the opposite side there seems to be an inverse correlation with the number of accountants and lawyers getting into the market.

On multipliers; we charge junior staff at a higher x, than the senior one.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IRStuff,

8k a month in San Francisco is like 4-5k a on a month in a lot of other places. If you look up BART salaries, there are plenty of "uneducated" people breaking 100k. I have a relative that worked closely with CEO Marissa Mayer at Yahoo and he still needed a lot of help from his parents to buy a house.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Silicon Valley has been consistently expensive over the last 30+ years. When I was shopping for a house in 1982, a ramshackle "house" in the hills above Los Gatos that appeared to be patchworked with various colored corrugated sheet metal was listed at $130K; the road was an unpaved single lane, and it looks so bad I didn't even bother to look inside the house. I wound up buying a 1600 sq. ft. tract house for $138k, and that required parental help as well. That same house is guesstimated by Zillow to be $1.25M today. The main difference is that the multiple of salary went from about 4:1 to 10:1

But, bear in mind that the $8k for the intern is in ADDITION to:
> free housing, but shared with a couple of other interns
> 3 meals a day during work week
> free transpo to/from work to the free housing

For a junior in college, that's a exceptionally sweet deal, and, that's increased from 3 years ago when the intern salary was $6k/month.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Does anyone have any evidence or links to research that counters the "hype" that there is an engineer shortage? I don't believe there is either, but you'd think someone had actually looked into it and published research, even if it's just a magazine article.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I've posted these before, but I never get tired of posting them again:

A detailed, well-documented study of the engineering labour market in Canada, in Ontario in particular, based on solid census data and other similar sources:

https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/advocacy/2...

The conclusions, in brief:

- only 31% of engineering grads in Canada work as engineers or engineering managers. It is the lowest match rate between education and work placement of any of the country's regulated professions
- the lines of the number of engineering grads (supply) and the number of engineering jobs (demand) have different slopes, and have diverged steadily over the past two decades
- a larger fraction (33%) of engineering grads work in jobs not requiring a university degree of any kind. That alone is clear evidence of a massive under-employment situation for engineering grads in Canada
- the 69% working outside engineering, earn on average 20% less than the 31% who do, so if they've left the profession voluntarily they've done so against their economic interests
- 92% of engineering 4th yr students surveyed indicated that they definitely or probably will pursue a career in engineering- obviously, many fresh grads are unable to find work and hence lose their chosen profession rather than choosing to abandon engineering

Another well documented study, indicating a systemic pattern of predictions of future STEM shortages that has happened since the 1940s:

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/...

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-ste...




RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The STEM program here was such a failure that they had to add "arts" and make it STEAM. This was to entice at least someone, even artists, to go into engineering.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I guess it is kept silent. Although doing ok at math and science, my kids have no desire to go STEM either. So be it.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I would take STEAM if it brought back the impression that engineering is or can be a creative endeavor. Sometimes, I feel like the public thinks that engineering is a souless endeavor like bookkeeping.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Well, I saw the recent movie "the accountant", and I had previously thought the accountants job was pretty dull, but Affleck ( the accountant) must have killed 200 people within 1 week of dull work. Maybe they should make a movie called "the engineer" with similar blood and guts to draw more kids to STEM..

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen sloppy dead..." Grace Slick
FTFY

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
Engineering seems to be one of the most difficult white collar ways of making money.

High responsibility
High Stress
High visibility
Low / Slow upward movement
Low respect
Med pay

I'm really getting tired of it. I'm pretty much ready to move on. Maybe I'm a 'B' engineer, but I feel like there is only one person on our engineering team better than myself. Who knows. I'm tired of fighting all the time, tired of every team pushing me to make 'easier' decisions for mfg, cost and time. Tired of building Bill of Materials. Tired of B / C engineers asking me simple problem solving questions. And I hate how software knowledge is more important than knowledge. Some person knows how to run CFD and Ansys and his resume is gold. Same guy doesn't know what to do when the customer asks him about clearances without running a stupid 3D software. Why didn't engineers divorce themselves from 3D software? Just contract it out. I don't care how to make the grid to do this or do that. I need to know what the stress is here. Make it happen.

I guess you can tell that I'm over the whole thing.

: )

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I have to agree with most of the above ! Since globalization and the rise of industralization in the far east, and the shift to service industries in the west, the future of engineering opportunities as we know it, is limited.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Unless you innovate. I realise that the opportunity for innovation is limited in 'design to code' industries, but believe it or not somebody did once get moment plasticity design of steel frames onto the books, so it is possible.

As to pay, clerical engineering is not well paid. Neither is clerical banking.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Where I work is chock full of foreign citizens on visas. Management there must be claiming an engineer shortage so they can reach out to these foreign workers and pay them MUCH less than a US citizen.

Tunalover

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

3
STEAM is a meaningless term. It's an attempt to lump "arts" in with science/technology, engineering and math just to give "arts" some cachet, rather than trying to imply that there is "art" or creativity in any of those other subjects.

What- languages aren't important? Or the social sciences? Or economics?

There is no STEM shortage nor any shortage of kids interested in pursuing STEM careers. There is a persistent shortage of employers willing to take on fresh graduates and train them. That shortage results in a shortage of people at the putative "peak" return on investment for an employer, i.e. someone with ten- not two or thirty- years of relevant experience gained at someone else's expense. These employees will be in perpetual short supply if employers don't realize that professionals need to be built from good raw materials, not purchased like widgets off a shelf.

awhicker84: I hear you. I get tired of people telling me what a good gig engineering is. The risk and stress to reward ratio for the average engineer is terrible. We have allowed our profession to be commodified, primarily by selling our services by the hour rather than getting paid for the value we create by embodying our engineering in products which we sell. When all you sell is man-hours, all engineers are reduced to equivalent billing units and subject to hourly price competition, tempting employers to stuff cubicles with billing units of questionable virtue in order to get ahead. We find it's far easier to be compensated in accordance with the value we create if we forget about selling man-hours and instead make a product which embodies our engineering and sell that. It's also a hell of a lot more rewarding.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It's the engineering shortage that allows me to say 'NO' rather than having to kill butt to keep my job. I like that.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Lawyers sell man-hours too, but as a profession they were smart enough to set up a closed shop and then charge premium rate for their services. Their business model works for them, while ours doesn't.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

WE engineers only control the design. We don't maintain control product marketing and sales.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Here in Ontario, the other thing that distinguishes law and medicine from the rest of the regulated professions is that in each case, 80-90% of their licensees are also members of their advocacy body. In the case of doctors here, their advocacy body is basically a union- it negotiates fees from our single payor medical insurance system, i.e. the provincial government.

We engineers instead went the other way- we were licensed for eighty years before we founded an advocacy body, used the excuse of not having one to not do ANY advocacy on behalf of professional engineers because doing so would be somehow a conflict of interest...and eroded our own restricted realms of practice by permitting an industrial exemption from licensure and a Certificate of Authorization program to permit corporations to do professional engineering in their own name (i.e. what can amount to one signatory engineer taking responsibility for the work, with a crowd of non-engineers doing the actual work).

The median salary for a level D engineer is the same as that for a teacher here in the province, once you account for all the extra vacation the teachers get. And we're not done our race to the bottom yet- we keep on digging...

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"eroded our own restricted realms of practice by permitting an industrial exemption"

And yet, in California, where there is an industrial exemption, engineers at Alphabet got high 6-figure salaries and most engineers in Silicon Valley do very well. This argument continues to come up, yet, for someone like me, who NEVER sees the public, NEVER works on anything that impinges on public safety, there's this harping to get licensure. But for what? Ultimately, we still get sold by the pound, because that's the way contracts are set up. But, my pay is fine as is the pay of all the engineers in the company, so what rationale is there for licensure?

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Maybe, they were talking about running into a shortage of engineers to import. ;)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

In US the engineering workforce is not swamped by "foreign engineers" as legal migration is way more regulated than in Canada, Australia, New Zealand. In US without a "legal " migration you cannot get a professional job.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Not exactly. Legal migration is way more regulated yes, true, but that doesn't help when the supply was legally flooded.

Reaction to change doesn't stop it smile

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

What exactly is a " high 6-figure salary"? We should also account for cost of living in differing areas.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Let's say that it was "high" enough that more than a few have since become semi-retired, just from banking their salaries. Alphabet supposedly experienced a severe "brain drain" in their self-driving car group because of this.

For "ordinary" mortals, internships last year were priced at effectively $96 k/annum; this was for college students still in school. Starting salaries were probably on the order of $120 k.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Not sure if is correct to lump together the software engineers with the physical science type engineers in your comparison. Some are still reluctant to call software engineers, engineers. The difference is more than semantics.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
IRstuff: a diminishingly small number of engineers earn those high salaries. Yes, a few engineers in Canada earn high salaries too- some of them actually still do engineering...You keep bringing up the salaries of engineers working for places like Google as if it actually indicates some kind of trend meaningful to the engineering profession at large, and it simply doesn't.

My point is simply this: engineers here in Ontario, within living memory, earned more than either doctors and lawyers. We now earn a fraction of what those professions earn in median terms- in fact we're now on par with teachers in terms of pay. It's very clear WHY that reversal happened here- we allowed our profession to become a commodity, whereas the other professions didn't. Teachers unionized- so did the doctors, though they don't call their union a union. Lawyers didn't unionize, but they didn't allow law firms to practice law in their own name- they permit partnerships but don't grant licenses to corporations to practice law in their own names using armies of paralegals, for instance. There is no exemption from licensure for the practice of law, period- lawyers are very good at making rules which ensure there is always a job for lawyers. They also are still the most prominent profession in politics.



RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The notion that is salaries would increase due to licensure is flawed. If there were 10 times the number of licensed engineers, the salary structure would collapse altogether, simply because there would be an over supply.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Salaries won't increase again. No point in closing the barn door 30 years after it was kicked open- that horse is dead. So you're right- even if we were to get rid of the industrial exemption and reform the C of A, the market is so flooded with licensees that wages would not rise in a meaningful way. The likelihood of meaningful reform to the C of A is zero, and even the IE in Ontario- the only province which has one- can't be removed without a hue and cry from the business lobby- we tried two or three years ago and failed.

Right now even the requirement for 1 yr of experience mentored by a licencee prior to licensure (so the licensee at least has a chance to determine if the person actually understands the legal and ethical requirements of licensure) is under attack as contrary to the human rights of immigrant engineers. So the trend is for even more supply. The prospects for a demand-side solution to falling engineering wages are basically zero. With the profession only able to "capture" less than half of its own graduates, it's tough to see how things could get worse, but we're trying our best. I'm sure if we maintain a sufficiently positive attitude about what a great gig it is to be an engineer, and how there are always shortages of engineers, and how well engineers are paid, we'll be successful.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

The notion that is salaries would increase due to licensure is flawed. If there were 10 times the number of licensed engineers, the salary structure would collapse altogether, simply because there would be an over supply.

Agreed. One approach that has been suggested however is a Grad degree as a minimum for licensure. I've never agreed with the idea, but I guess it actually would cut down on the supply.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Will it be a shortage of engineers? Or will it be a shortage of talent?

Companies sometimes will assign a young engineer primarily with repetitive and dull responsibilities that don't grow their skillset. Once you kill a guy's enthusiasm, it won't come back as strongly ever again. Throw the young guys in the mix enough to keep them engaged and challenged.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"With the profession only able to "capture" less than half of its own graduates,"

THIS pretty much tells you that we're in an over supply condition that's unlikely to change. While a graduate degree could potentially drive down the supply, I doubt that there will be much impact. In my high school years, taking 3 AP classes was considered to be high achieving, and there was no IB whatsoever. Today's high schoolers, in the college prep pathway, take at least 12 AP classes, and many take an additional 7 IB exams. With an appropriate selection of such classes, and a firm and early decision of a major, finishing college in 3 years is achievable, so adding another year for an MS simply brings you back to 4 years of college, total.


Earlier there was a comment about CS not being engineering; UC Berkeley's College of Engineering's CS degree is EE-CS (they call it "eeks"), i.e., electrical engineering/computer science, so for them, CS is an engineering degree and discipline, and graduates have to fulfill the requirements of an engineering degree.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

3
If you make masters degree a requirement then you'll just end up with Academia getting rich and an increase in student debt etc.

It's one thing to raise the bar because you actually need the extra skills etc. you get from a Masters, using it to crudely prune the supply side is very questionable in my view.

One aspect to the 'shortage' that I saw alluded to in an article a while back is that some very capable students in STEM perceive that it's harder for them to keep their grades up than their colleagues in some other subjects so they transfer. I forget if they followed this as far as checking that with these other degrees they get similar employment opportunities & ROI etc. One might argue this could be a good thing that the people staying in STEM are more engaged & enthusiastic etc. even if not always as academically gifted. Or, one might be concerned that many of the 'brightest & best' are leaving STEM education for paths they see as giving better reward for investment.

Not to fear though if the 'native' STEM Phd candidates drop out to go basket weaving or work on wall street, we'll fill the Phd programs with imported talent (some of it not particularly exceptional) and skirt the H1B limits because student visas can be transferred to H1B without counting against the quota. Then our vaunted tech industry will have all the indentured servants it can handle.

(Sorry, may be a little grumpy today so take with a pinch of salt as needed.)

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Star for Kenat. I couldn't agree more with your first two statements.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

To put things in perspective with the topic, the article linked by the OP was talking about a very specific situation in the power industry, which does likely have a shortage due to an age-gap.

Engineering as a whole could certainly have a glut while the power industry and other niche fields like programming have a shortage. Lucky for them.

As a Mechanical Engineer (BSME), I certainly feel like this is the case. When I graduated five years ago, I had a gut feeling that the piece of paper I received was a dime a dozen.

That being said, I still think there is a chance for superior talent and work ethic (hoping that I have both in sufficient supply) to prevail over a glut of degree holders. It's interesting to discuss the topic, but as an individual it does no good to blame immigrants, government policies, or our engineering forebears for one's own plight.

At this point I often joke that, if I had it to do over, I would have been a dentist or a dermatologist. Work half the time for ten times the pay. Alas, who can predict what the perfect job would look like in their future self's eyes?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"article linked by the OP was talking about a very specific situation in the power industry, which does likely have a shortage due to a hiring an age-gap at some point in the past"

I mean, it's not like the ageing process and typical retirement ages etc. are so unpredictable that it's a meaningful excuse.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

KENAT, true enough. If there is a real shortage now, it's because they ignored a slowly developing shortage for decades. Students picking majors cannot be blamed for turning away from a future of perceived boredom and mediocre pay.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Even when I went to college, which was MANY moons ago, electric power was a waning discipline, other than electronic power supply design. Slobodan Cuk had just invented his converter topology.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

So power engineering is a cycle like the aircraft industry. The cycle is about 30 years.

That being said, many universities don't teach electric power. That maybe because teaching pays so much less than the actual industry.
I am assuming teaching other areas of engineering pays closer to the industry wages.

The other side of it is for a long time microelectronics engineering has paid so much better than power engineering, likely to the point there were very few people going into the power option.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The best instructors for power engineering would be retired power engineers. They have the knowledge and can afford to take the relatively poor pay of an adunct professor.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I think some of the lack of growth (wrt salaries) has been the sluggish economy. (That may be something we are forgetting here.) Even in the "recovery" years we've had since 2008, it hasn't been 5-7% years (like we had in the mid-80's). In 2004-2007, I was getting outrageous offers to leave where I was working (same thing in the late 90's).

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"many universities don't teach electric power."

There's just not that much demand for courses. If there were demand, there'd be professors hired to do the teaching.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Raising the bar for engineering licensure to a Masters degree would not only be a meaningless way to prune the supply- it would just extend the "credential inflation" problem even further. The BA is the new high school as far as employers are concerned, and that's a huge problem in and of itself. The trouble with credential inflation is that higher education in most countries isn't 100% subsidized. There's only so much education a person can afford, unless their parents are rich. So all you'd be doing is making it even harder for people to move up the economic ladder than it is right now. You'll be sorting people all right, but not necessarily by ability, skill, aptitude or intelligence.

The top 10% of engineers can still thrive. But the notion of a BASc being a meal ticket are long, long gone.

The lack of growth in salaries has occurred over decades, and is relative to other professions subject to the same global economic pressures, the same recessions etc. The slide hasn't happened because of recessions- it has happened because we allowed the supply to swamp the demand. And if we keep up this attitude of limitless opportunity in engineering, I'm confident that we can make matters even worse. Every Dean of Engineering in Canada seems to be positively brimming with that positive attitude.



RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Most of the retired power engineers that I know, are consultants, and not teaching. I think the consultant route pays more than teaching.

So are you saying that boring industries will in the future go wanting for engineers, while exciting industries will be swimming in engineers?

Sounds like some industries will be seeing wage freezes.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Depends what turns your crank, cranky! Some stuff I find dull as watching paint dry is fascinating to others, and vice versa.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Well Cranky, that's where the whole supply and demand thing should cut in.

The premium for power engineers will be so high that it should eventually lead to increase in supply. The premium for courses in power engineering and people to teach it should likewise grow...

Now it's not the smoothest of systems and hits a lot of bumps and snags along the way but in theory should get us there barring gross negligence/self serving etc. at management and government levels and the like.

So we're probably attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"So are you saying that boring industries will in the future go wanting for engineers, while exciting industries will be swimming in engineers?"

That's mostly true, even outside of engineering. Why is psychology one of the most popular majors in college when the typical graduate winds up in a $35k/yr job as a social worker? Was that really worth borrowing a quarter million that can't be paid off with that kind of salary?

Physics 1 used to be a "weeder" class in my school, because the school knew that the plethora of wannabe physicists wouldn't be able to get jobs at the end of the 4 yrs. Of course, the class was so brutal that my roommate declared for Eng. Lit. at the end of that, and that was in a serious engineering school. But, even at the worst, he only paid a total of about $20k tuition in then-year dollars. Even the worst student could expect a loan to salary ratio of 1:1, while currently, it would be more like 2:1 to 4:1, unless you go to a state school.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Kenat,

The industry will make due. Over standardization and knowing how to use software has been given more weight than understanding. It will just be more bloated and dumber. Utilities are regulated ,too, so the wages are never tied to demand. Unionized master techs are better off than nonunion engineers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The place I work now seeks for Engineers a lot.Not just Engineers,skilled ones.The demand for Engineers increase in modern world.But do not mix it up with traditional Engineers,now areas like medical engineering,QA Engineering,Testing engineering have evolved and replaced the traditional civil engineers(not that they do not have opportunities)but engineering has modified itself according to the modern era and not still dead and will not be in future.

Medical Engineering
(http://www.dimolanka.com/sectors/sector-overview?s...)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I disagree. I read an article, granted it is several years old, where it said STEM graduates number in the 800,000. US colleges produce twice the number of STEM graduates as there are jobs in the field.

Link

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

plazma,I read your article and found it has some interesting findings.However I agree that mining and petroleum engineers have attracted the field a lot.Mainly in Calgary,Canada and Perth,Australia where the resources are found in huge amounts.

Medical Engineering
(http://www.dimolanka.com/sectors/sector-overview?s...)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Can't see any problem, people can just log into Eng-Tips and get answers just as is done now 2thumbsup

It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. (Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia.)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?



Any engineer should be able to look at that graph and understand in an instant what is really going on.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It boils down to a drop in engineering demand as the western world shifted to a services type economy while developing economies boost a strong and ever increasing demand for engineering. The faculties, politicians and still many have not adapted to this change but still chasing the higher wage in the west.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Politicians know that the jobs for people with a high school education are going the way of the dodo. Their response is to get everyone to go to university...they don't realize that the economic ground under them has completely shifted and isn't going to shift back merely by giving everyone a degree. That engineers provide essential benefits to society and the economy is not in doubt- but it is a non-sequitur to assume that adding 2-3x the number of engineering grads to the market than the economy could possibly use as engineers will have any net economic benefit, much less an economic benefit worth the investment required in providing this specialist education to people who don't actually need it.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"but it is a non-sequitur to assume that adding 2-3x the number of engineering grads to the market than the economy could possibly use as engineers will have any net economic benefit"

Sure, it will. That is the basis of supply-side economics, the "if you build it, people will buy it" theory that's been PROVEN time and again to not work, but because it's derived from political dogma, they continue to spout it ad nauseum. A very casual analysis of wage growth vs. wealth of the top 1% vs. corporate profits shows very clearly who really benefits from supply side economics and it certainly ain't us. Minimum wage in the US in adjusted dollars was growing up until supply-side economics was pushed into the mainstream of American politics, and lo and behold, it has DECREASED 40% since its peak in the 1970s. And yet, the top 1% has seen an order of magnitude increase in wealth over the same time frame. Is that a simple coincidence?


If you ever wanted to see a real-life global-scale conspiracy, this might be it.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I don't necessarily disagree with @moltenmetal's assessment of Canadian engineering - I think similar happens in the USA. However, if I were to argue it (playing devil's advocate) I would look at the entirety of college graduates and their proportion of relevant employment after graduation.

I think it goes without argument that the overall rates of college graduates is rising overall in my own country (USA) as we continue to pressure everyone to "get a degree, any degree, just get a degree because everyone should" which results in a lot of irrelevant education with their future employment.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

Sure, it will. That is the basis of supply-side economics, the "if you build it, people will buy it" theory that's been PROVEN time and again to not work, but because it's derived from political dogma, they continue to spout it ad nauseum. A very casual analysis of wage growth vs. wealth of the top 1% vs. corporate profits shows very clearly who really benefits from supply side economics and it certainly ain't us. Minimum wage in the US in adjusted dollars was growing up until supply-side economics was pushed into the mainstream of American politics, and lo and behold, it has DECREASED 40% since its peak in the 1970s. And yet, the top 1% has seen an order of magnitude increase in wealth over the same time frame. Is that a simple coincidence?

At the risk of taking the thread off course......with respect, that is tying a lot of things together that are not necessarily related. Wage growth doesn't really have much to do with tax policy. That is just redistribution after the fact. You can tax the highest wage earners all you want.....and unless the revenues are redistributed later.....it's meaningless. Wages are a direct result of supply and demand, production being increasingly automated, etc, etc.

As far as supply-side goes......whatever its flaws, it was intended as a response to the collapse of the Keynesian school models that went up in flames in the 1970's. (With the coexistence of high inflation and high employment which supposedly was impossible in the Keynesian school.) It also coincided with the entrepreneur revolution of the 80's. (I.e. a need for incentive as productivity declined in the 70's.) It certainly isn't the cure-all the a lot of right-wingers make it out to be (principally because they mismanage the budget aspect of it: i.e. not accounting for a initial slide in revenues). But you'd be hard pressed to find many economists who want the old tax code back. (Even Jonathan Chait admitted this in his book slamming supply-side.)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I wasn't specifically referring to the tax code, per se. I was merely pointing out that wage stagnation for the lower and middle classes seemingly coincides with huge increases in wealth in the upper classes. Nevertheless, tax code changes have seemingly helped the upper classes way more than they ever helped the lower classes.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

And maybe the need for everyone to get a degree is because of the decline in public school education. The universities are taking over the job of the public schools.

Another aspect might be that not all the engineering universities are the same, and some of the degrees are given to people who may not be qualified, or go into management, or both.

And yet some in political office still follow the Keynesian theory.

Yet some of the richest people never finished college.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

I wasn't specifically referring to the tax code, per se. I was merely pointing out that wage stagnation for the lower and middle classes seemingly coincides with huge increases in wealth in the upper classes. Nevertheless, tax code changes have seemingly helped the upper classes way more than they ever helped the lower classes.

I don't know that the two are connected. The idea that is being hinted at here is that if taxes were higher that would mean more for other classes. (I.e. that somehow employers would give their employees more (presumably to avoid taxation).) And that just isn't the case.

That is, unless the money was redistributed after the fact. On that note, in the era of super high marginal rates (70-90% +) that isn't what happened with revenues anyway (i.e. income redistribution in the form of benefits such as heath care). Defense spending (to name one) was much higher.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"And maybe the need for everyone to get a degree is because of the decline in public school education. The universities are taking over the job of the public schools."

I don't think there's been any evidence given for that claim. Certainly, for most serious, college-bound students, that's definitely NOT the case. When I went to college, back in the dim past, 3 AP classes was above the norm. My high school senior is currently gearing up for his 10th through 14th AP exams. If his competitors were really that poor, there would be no need to stack that many AP classes and exams to be competitive. And even with 9 AP exams with 4s and 5s under his belt, he's barely competitive with his peers.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?





@JNieman: here are two figures:

1) Intentions of 4th year engineering students in Ontario, surveyed by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of Professional Engineers Ontario. These surveys have shown results which are consistent through numerous years in which this survey has been completed.

2) Table 1: Match rates between education and employment in all the regulated professions in Ontario, from the 2006 Survey of Households. The 2011 Survey of Households, derived from the long-form census, was destroyed by our former Tory government, deliberately- they found it easier to hold ideologically-based positions when there was no pesky data to contradict them. The current government has fixed that for subsequent years, but the destroyed 2011 census will haunt us for years to come.

A few points:

1) Engineering students in 4th year overwhelmingly want to work as engineers.
2) Over twice as many engineering graduates work outside the engineering profession as work within it. In fact, about 33% of engineering graduates in Canada work in areas of employment for which a university degree of any kind, much less an engineering degree, is not required. That's a larger proportion than the ~ 30% of eng grads who work as enginers
3) The ~70% of engineering grads who work outside the profession, earn on average about 20% less than the ~ 30% who work as engineers or engineering managers
4) The match rate between education and employment for engineering is the lowest of all the regulated professions in the country, and not by a small margin.

The match rate decreases with years of experience, as we all know some people previously employed as engineers who leave the profession either by default or by choice. That fraction is also affected by the influence of immigration: while the situation for engineering grads in Canada in composite is bad, the situation for those Canadian engineers who were educated outside Canada is even worse- of that group, only ~19% work within the profession.

All this adds up to only one conclusion: the engineering labour market for engineering here in Ontario and in Canada in general is saturated, has been saturated for some time, and the saturation has been growing steadily for twenty years. It shows no signs of getting substantially better in the next decade, either.

All this information (the graph previously posted, plus the chart and table posted here) may be found in this report, which I've already linked to- by posting the graphs and charts here, I'm trying to reach the people who haven't bothered to read the report yet:

https://www.ospe.on.ca/public/documents/advocacy/2...

The report lists all its references and data sources.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IR, are you saying that every high school is as good as your local high school?

Strange how some high schools have higher levels of teen suicides than others, and there are few reported school problems.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Mine isn't local, we transferred to a different school district. Nevertheless, every high school in our area offers a substantially larger complement of AP classes than ever before, and even the city high school in our old neighborhood offers a large number of AP classes. And this is on top of the IB classes and tests offered. Now, it could possibly be argued that we're in the "one percent" of high schools, being in a relatively rich county, but there are many such high schools across California.

The US News high school report, which we started following in about 2005 timeframe continues listing a huge number of high schools across the US that produce graduating classes with an AVERAGE of 9 AP tests taken. My old high school was among them, so they amped up their game as well. The bottom line is that the good high schools have gotten better, with better college prep than ever before. Rising tide arguments aside, it's possible that the worst high schools have gotten worse, but I have no information about that.

I can say that EVERY UC and Cal State campus is inundated with applicants, and even UC Merced has no problem finding qualified applicants. Note that UC campuses require the infamous a-g high school curriculum, in addition to high GPAs and SAT test scores. UC San Diego, which is nationally ranked, reportedly had over 90,000 applicants for fall of 2017 and had no issue waitlisting people with 3.6 GPA and 34 on the ACT. What used to be "safety" schools are rejecting qualified applicants.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Something my wife noted while looking for houses a few years ago. The local crime rates are higher around middle and high schools. So maybe those free periods are useful for some of the kids.

Ever since my daughter took the PSAT test last year, she has had hundreds of pieces of mail from differing universities around the country. And several of which I have never heard of.
More recently my daughter had commented that she did not see any calculus on the SAT test she took.

But when you understand that being a social worker also requires a degree, and it does not pay much, one needs to wonder if some university degrees are worth it.
Economics for sure is not on the high school requirement list. So maybe people realize they can make more money with an engineering degree by doing something else.

I hear truck driving pays well, and without the boss always there.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Economics for sure is not on the high school requirement list. "

True, but you can take AP Econ, where offered, which didn't even exist when I went to high school.

But the economics is actually a multiple whammy, given that while there is the requirement for a degree, there's nothing that say that degree has to come from USC or somesuch, but the main issue is that there is such a glut of Psych majors that there's no need to pay them larger salaries.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

A friend of mine is a social worker and makes almost as much me. This is in Canada though so YMMV. Looking at that table I wonder I didn't do PT or something instead...

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Interesting comments all around.

Growing up in NY then living/working elsewhere I have seen firsthand the effects of supply and demand. NY has the proverbial "perfect storm" IMHO, with few exceptions most anywhere you go within the state is <1 hour's drive to a college that offers engineering. The vast majority of them being through the state SUNY system are a great deal for students, live at home or with family cheap and to this day its pretty common for a bachelor's to cost <$30k after all expenses are considered. OTOH, bc of the glut of engineers graduating and industry being taxed out of the state salaries are laughably low. One recent grad I know couldn't "leave home," a BSME only earned him $50k/year, I started $25k higher a decade ago in a dirt cheap section of the Midwest.

One point I feel is rarely mentioned/discussed regarding college degrees and licensure is the difficulty level, or IMHO the lack thereof as compared to the reality of design and development. I have mentored quite a few junior engineers and interns who gave up engineering rather quickly bc they did not enjoy the constant challenges, constant learning, or creativity necessary. Like many colleagues who stuck with the profession only to become lousy engineers, they didn't recognize the difference between being a good student and being a good engineer and weren't willing to put in the time and effort to become the later. To a large extent I believe even folks in engineering tend to overplay the accomplishment of earning a degree or license, nevermind the parents, educators, and other non-engineers. Kids tend to be very trusting so its natural that a certain number go into other professions after graduation.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The difficulty level is interesting. Although I did harder maths at university, by hand, than I ever have since, in practice, say in DSP, I have to know a lot more than just the equations. Same with, say, statics. At uni the problems are known to be solvable, whereas in the real world the list of unknowns often exceeds the knowns. Not that I do much statics as an end result, but it is the starting point for dynamics.

For instance suppose we want to design a light subframe that will survive driving through a square edged pothole, yet will fail neatly in a front end crash. The crash guys have a couple of dozen supercomputers and years of experience, they don't need to make reasonable estimates, they can calculate what is going on. The pothole people have a couple of strain gauges on the suspension arms and a force measured somewhere, probably not where it is needed, from one test.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

And maybe that's the issue, that so many really don't like the work.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Lets be realistic, we are consumer and service society, we hardly make things, most engineering solutions are off the shelf, so why people study engineering now a days is beyond me, is hard and the picture at the end, ain't to pretty.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Less engineering required, and vastly more engineering grads being cranked out. Do the math!

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Lets be realistic, we are consumer and service society, we hardly make things, most engineering solutions are off the shelf, so why people study engineering now a days is beyond me, is hard and the picture at the end, ain't to pretty."

The substation across the street does not look like it was off the shelf. And in fact none of our substations look like they were off the shelf.
Maybe parts of it were off the shelf, but it was built by in house crews.



RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

So how much was engineering and how much trade work? the later is always a local component.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (spraytechnology)

Lets be realistic, we are consumer and service society, we hardly make things, most engineering solutions are off the shelf, so why people study engineering now a days is beyond me, is hard and the picture at the end, ain't to pretty.

Depends on the definition of "hard" and "pretty." One reason that I enjoy this profession is the variety of both work and people. I've known "engineers" whose day jobs make their undergrad degree seem extremely difficult and others who continually fight a steep learning curve with new technology. Along a similar vein, I know junior engineers earning $50k and several engineers-turned-execs that earn $1M+ annually.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

What about siting of the substation? You can't just plop those things anywhere unless you don't care if they get covered by several feet of water during heavy storms. Just this takes quite a lot of engineering. Sometimes new trenching and building penetrations are needed when changing out equipment, and can the existing bus take the new configuration? This all takes engineering too. Lots of fun!

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

For sure there will be some engineering local components that cannot be outsource especially in structural/civil domain but the discussion drifted to engineering in general. Regards.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (moltenmetal)

Less engineering required, and vastly more engineering grads being cranked out. Do the math!

That smells like lower wages or emigration.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

DISAGREE. As a result of the "Obama economy" - now documented to be the worst in history - I have been out of work as an engineer now for a year and a half. No job in sight.

And I know a lot of other engineers in my same predicament. One of my problems: I'm "too old."

"No one is completely useless. He can always serve as a bad example." --My Dad ca. 1975

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IILBAY (((("No one is completely useless. He can always serve as a bad example." --My Dad ca. 1975 ))))

I like it, will probably remember it. Thanks. In my case the few opportunities that come across my desk require relocation or being away from home for periods of time. Definitely, good opportunities are far from abound.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (Illbay)

As a result of the "Obama economy" - now documented to be the worst in history

At the risk of taking this thread off topic, I have to say

LOL WHAT?

I am no fan of the previous administration policies, OVER ALL, but I can certainly read. Worst economy in history? For WHOM?

Rate of growth of USA GDP:
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD...
https://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/glance.htm
https://data.oecd.org/gdp/gross-domestic-product-g...

and a more boiled-down explanatory approach here: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-19... who places Obama second to Clinton in "best to worst economic performance/strength" during presidential administrations since 1977.

For all the fault you can throw out a sarcastic "THANKS, OBAMA!" the economy is one that shouldn't be sarcastic. If you're to lay economic performance on the President, that is.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

When did the dow jones or other indices breaking records indicated the economy is or was terrible?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

A recession is when a lot of other people are out of work. A depression is when I am out of work. Let's show some sensitivity.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

there is little correlation between employment levels and stock market performances. often the working class has little to do or little ability to influence the markets but remember what Stalin said:
" death of one person is a tragedy, if many is only statistics "

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I wonder at times what does a young graduate that invested few good years in STEM education, has a nice loan to pay back and suddenly cannot get a job or a start in his/her chosen profession? How frustrating and demoralizing it must be. Any comments? advice,or real life stories ?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Can't be any worse than a psych major in the same boat, particularly given that the median salary for psych majors is probably about half that of STEM majors, while the loans are probably about the same.

There are at least a couple of threads floating around ET from people precisely in the situation. However, there are so many factors both personal and corporate that ultimately determine whether interviews and/or offers come. "I went to a middling university and got middling grades, and now I can't get any responses to my resume," is not an unfamiliar refrain. Supply and demand theory says that only when there's a surfeit of demand will it be likely that all graduates will get hired for jobs they want. The majority of the time, employers are able to pick and choose, and they will often not choose anyone but the very best they can afford.

This is not that different that at the start of the college journey, when you get rejected by even your safety schools, and you start looking at whether CC is really where you'll end up for a couple of years and then hope to transfer to a 4-yr college. Or, do you start looking at the colleges that are still taking applicants, even after March 31. I recall a case where a girl failed to get into Stanford, and decided to go there anyway, attend classes, and con people into letting her sleep on their couches because of "housing glitches." She was eventually found out, but I never found out whether Stanford was her reach school or not.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I know many recent grads and cant say I know any with STEM degrees who were unable to find a job within several months, even in flooded small-town markets during the recession. I also cant say Ive noticed any short term morale or attitude problems amongst them, IME those only develop after years in industry. OTOH, I do know quite a few non-STEM grads who gave up on finding jobs within their field and moved on to others but that is nothing new nor I believe an increasingly common problem. Past generations have struggled with this as well but I believe had a significantly easier time transitioning to other well-paying careers for various reasons, less regulation, less technology, and a significantly better economy being key among many.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Any comments? advice,or real life stories ?"

I graduated into an awful job market, coming at the end of a recession and following the break-up of Britain's nationalised utilities. The market had a lot of experienced labour looking for work, and the area of the country where I lived was hit hard by major employers closing in mining, ship-building and hevay manufacturing. I took a job with a start-up company making about the same per hour as I had in the bar job I had through university. That job was a great place to learn how a company works and be involved in pretty much all parts of the business except the accounts, but the wages were dire. Took three job moves, a couple of relocations, three good relationships wrecked and two years living out of a suitcase to break into the industry I wanted to be in.

I guess the message is that if you want to succeed then you can, but you'll pick up a few knocks along the way. In hindsight was it worth it? Most days, I think I'd say yes.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The message should be that perseverance and stubbornness can make up for a lot. The people who succeed in the face of huge odds are those that refuse to give up. Naturally, some actual talent would be useful winky smile

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Being able to persevere and be stubborn is a blessing and curse. For every guy who has overcome great odds, there are 10 other guys who should have rethought their plan before grinding it to an obvious conclusion.

Something has to be said though about lazy people who are smart enough to avoid anything that is too much work. If you are starting a business, your goal should be to pick a specialty that allows you to be as lazy as possible.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"your goal should be to pick a specialty that allows you to be as lazy as possible."

Supply and demand, again. I doubt there are that many specialties that allow you to be that lazy, as it's unlikely that you're the only person in the entire world that has stumbled upon such a gold mine.

Some people are simply not able to deal with failures; they wind up in the herd. Others might be too lazy to look for those mythical lazy opportunities. In between are the those that generate the 90% failures in the 1st two years and the 10% that get to fight on, and fraction thereof that succeed for any length of time.

Longevity is not necessarily a bulwark against eventual failure, Montgomery Ward was in business over 100 years and even though they attempted to survive as a purely on-line merchant, they still could not overcome their issues. Sears, which is likewise 100+ years in operation is teetering on the brink, although it's managed to last slightly longer than Montgomery Ward. Even Macy's is struggling.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I graduated within the top 5% of my class, from a top tier university in Canada. I had two years of co-op work experience, and a Master's degree. And it was no picnic for me to find my first job.

That was back in 1991, when about 70% of engineering grads in Canada worked as engineers.

As of 2011, only about 30% of engineering grads work as engineers.

I'd estimate that in Canada, roughly 1/2 the overall graduating class is falling into that disappointment category. They just had to find a job, so they did and moved on. Regrettably though, after two or more years out of the profession, your chances of getting back into it are near zero. Engineering education has a short shelf life.

The universities don't even bother to collect the stats on how many of their grads are appropriately employed- they don't care. The ask grads if they're employed, 6 months and 2 yrs after graduation, but don't ask if they're working in the field they were trained for. Instead they ask them a much vaguer question: whether or not their education was "relevant" to their job. Engineering grads are about as likely as the average of all university grads to be employed 6 months or 2 yrs after graduation. Of course that average includes such job magnet programs as fine arts, journalism etc.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

The universities don't even bother to collect the stats on how many of their grads are appropriately employed- they don't care. The ask grads if they're employed, 6 months and 2 yrs after graduation, but don't ask if they're working in the field they were trained for.

Sadly we live in a society driven by statistics of low value, so long as the headline looks good the general public is pleased. If you want a real chuckle investigate how universities are "ranked" by the media, things like the pass rate and reputation among college professors all seem like grand ideas but IMHO are rather irrelevant vs bottom line returns like percentage of grads employed in their field within X months of graduation and starting salaries. Having attended the tiny inexpensive local campus of a large state chain system for my undergrad I am rather amazed by the number of folks anymore who correlate attendance cost and university prestige amongst the media to education quality. Sadly I've known quite a few with a MS from a major university who wouldn't have lasted freshman year at "lesser" schools, some schools pass the chaff along with the wheat, others cull it.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It's not even clear that any of us could get into the schools we originally matriculated. UC Berkeley's statistics show that accepted students' GPAs has steadily increased over the past 2 decades.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Rabble rabble, back in my day we didn't even have GPAs above 4.0... Rabble rabble...

----
The name is a long story -- just call me Lo.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It's called grade inflation. Sort of like getting a trophy for showing up, you pass if you show up.

After all the students expect something for the money someone pays.

Make what you want of that comment.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

My kids took 4 times as many AP exams as I did, so slightly more than grade inflation. We were toying with BASIC; they had AP exams for Java, classes on Python and C#.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

CWB1,

I don't know if you end up even with a better engineering workforce if all universities culled a good chunk of their class. There is a huge disconnect between academia and industry. I don't know if a prof. is the best person to weed out all the people who would be better off in something else. I probably would have been culled in my undergrad if the classes in my undergrad that I didn't have any interest in were used to weed out bad engineers Would I have been better for it? I don't know but I doubt it.

I do think older engineers have better horse sense. Computers have made people stupid to the point that a lot couldn't tell you what will sort of happen without running a simulation. Be able to run a software package has some how been given the same importance or value as general understanding. I don't know why this is. Maybe, universities should be hammering the basic concepts harder and not go into as much depth. All the deep stuff is forgotten quickly if the foundations aren't understood completely.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"if all universities culled a good chunk of their class."

I don't think that's a good answer. Some of the best students suck at doing actual, real-world, problems. Other of the best students are simply driven by tiger-moms and will suck at engineering, because they have zero passion for it. Early in college is possibly a very poor point in time to determine someone's lifelong fate. My best friend in college didn't decide on his final major until he became a super-senior. Even given all of that, people change and adapt. I don't do anything related to what I majored in, but I'm still happy and I'm very good at what I do now. And, I might actually be sucky at what I majored in.

And, I don't see that having more people trained in STEM is necessarily a bad thing. Ignorance of science and engineering can lead to bad or ignorant decisions and decision-making.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

When I did my engineering studies, the university did cull intake and entrance was competitive. What I think happens for some after years of hard work, and not being able to enter the desired field us that it builds frustrations. For sure success is determined by many other factors beyond the degree, like location, field of study, demand, contacts, opportunities and luck. For many, even if they start as engineers, they realize that many and better opportunities are somewhere else and adapt. Maybe that is why I never completed my MS although I did my coursework and have no regrets except for time spent. I was considering a PhD at the time though.Years later I did an MBA and felt I learned something new going beyond engineering.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

HH,

JME but schools that cull more students typically graduate better engineers and personally I would sacrifice quantity long before quality. I agree that there is a serious disconnect between academia and engineering but I believe the main reason for this disconnect is the seemingly common notion today that every student who attends deserves a degree. The "great" engineering school my wife attended is an example of this, their relatively high graduation rate and low hiring rates are a function of students having relatively little personal responsibility and being held to relatively low standards. They show up for class, are spoon-fed every detail of testable material, and heaven help the professor whose test questions are more than a renumeration of the few basic textbook assignments theyve had for homework. Forcing the students to think and grow by giving trick or challenging questions is frowned upon and there is little time for discussing the realities of engineering or expounding upon the basic material bc students arent forced to read and learn it outside class as they are elsewhere by the threat of failing. Projects are almost always completed in large groups, common engineering classes often sacrificed for easy "fluff" like six-sigma or OSHA certs, and should the student be dissatisfied with their grade then extra credit and curves are readily available. The university brags about higher GPAs and graduation rates but the reality is their grads trade off education and ability. I have sat through many interviews where students couldnt begin to apply basic principles or couldnt recite them, had only rudimentary knowledge of one solid modeler and common software tools, and little ability otherwise but their resume showed 3.5+ GPAs. Scarily enough, many expect roles in project management or other non-engineering departments but at engineering rates. Its reminiscent of the old joke, "Yesterday I couldnt spell engineer, today I is one."

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Culling" is not an end-all and be-all.

Some of the best engineers I've worked with were rather unimpressive as students, specifically because schoolwork wasn't real-world problems, and they found them boring compared to real-world problems.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I agree with ScottyUK. There does seem to be a shortage of engineers in the power industry, but only for certain cohorts. This is from the 2015 Center for Energy Workforce Development report on gaps in the energy workforce pipeline:



While it is not just for engineers, I'd assume the age distribution wouldn't be too far off. There is a trough in the 37-47 age bracket where the supply of engineers is just low.

My anecdotal experience reflects this - like Scotty, I am part of the 37-47 age bracket and had a hard time finding work when I graduated. Luckily, I got a job in the power industry and after gaining some experience, have found no trouble finding work. And it's not because I'm any good either, it just turns out that there isn't that much competition in this age / experience group. For example, at the previous utility I worked at, I was one of only two people in the whole network planning team (of 30+ staff) that was around the same age. Everyone else was either a decade older or younger than us.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Causes of the trough.
10 years younger = cheaper hires
10 years older = managing dept, living with budget constraints, not hiring enough expensive middle managers.

Technology is stealing American jobs. Stop H1-Bs for robots.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

There is definitely a "lost generation" in there- people who weren't hired as fresh grads during poor economic times. Those people moved on to other professions or lines of work. They're gone, and not coming back.

Hopefully the firms that became addicted to out-sourcing their entire training cost on others will be wiped out by the coming demographic shift. Perhaps that will finally generate some opportunities for engineers to see rising wages and enhanced working conditions.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

By wiped out by a demographic shift, are you expecting these companies to go out of business? Sorry to say, but rarely do utilities go out of business, and if they do they are taken over by another.
Sad to say I have had the same job and pay, but one week the paycheck had one company name, and two weeks later my paycheck had a different company name.

Sad to say some of the new people in the industry work for the new energy sources, but don't have many skills that translate to the utility world.

Outsourcing would be nice if the outsourcing only included the new documentation requirements of the federal regulations. But sadly, the only ones who understand them are in-house, and already have full jobs.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Well cranky, it sounds like some people who were lucky enough to get in during those very slow times are going to have the opportunity to be treated like royalty. And they'd better get serious about mentoring and training the next generation on an accelerated schedule! Sounds like a wonderful situation actually- for everybody except the majority of that lost generation.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The problem is that Power engineering is not available in very many schools. That we are hiring Electricals and teaching them power.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (cranky108)

The problem is that Power engineering is not available in very many schools. That we are hiring Electricals and teaching them power.

Don't forget, there are a lot of us mechanicals working at utilities too. I have worked for two of the largest power generation utilities in the US (currently at a non-profit co-op district energy plant). I am just on the downward part of the first hump on that chart. It has been quite lucrative for me.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Hi cranky,

That was certainly the case in the UK a few years ago when many polytechnics and universities got rid of their space-hungry, lightly-used power laboratories full of equipment from the 1950's and 1960's and replaced them with other things which squeezed more people into the available space. More bodies meant more money, and it didn't matter because only a half-dozen kids wanted to study an old-fashioned, maths-heavy subject with zero employment prospects. Awkward bastards like me for example - always the black sheep of any group I'm a member of. smile

Today the handful of places here that still have a power engineering program - Bath, Newcastle, Southampton to name a few - are very popular, with graduates being sought-after by the generating and T&D companies and earning good money from the outset. It is a far cry from this industry's darkest days in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

Good luck to today's students - power is still (almost) as a tough an option to study as it was back then, and the ones who choose to do so will have to work hard to graduate.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Hang on, uni isn't a vocational training scheme. Up until recently you couldn't get a degree in Automotive Engineering (and frankly from what I've seen there were good reasons for that), so the first couple of years as a graduate were spent learning on the job, either formally or informally (aka being dropped in the deep end).

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

That's true Greg, but many universities have shifted their focus toward the microprocessor / telecoms / electronic side of the spectrum - all of which are perfectly valid in their own right - and barely touch the 'old' subjects like electrical machines. Working in generation or T&D is a massive jump for the grads from one of these electronics-biased courses to make, and it's a large training gap for the employer to fill, especially in what has become a very fragmented industry without the large centralised resources of a national or regional utility to provide quality in-house training.

Given the choice of paying a relatively small salary premium to grab one of the grads with a power degree or trying to train an electronics grad who never had the chance to study anything in our field, most employers would pay the premium for the power grad because, with all other things equal, the new employee becomes a net contributor more quickly.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

All in all it boils down to a huge disconnect between academia and industry. After all universities will teach whatever is sexy, appealing gets published and brings money in. I remember years ago when there was a push from a university I know to study nuclear engineering, the hype was that going nuclear will be the future of energy. They successfully increase intakes etc....etc. but few years later they had to shutdown the eng dept being left with a narrow PhD program.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Universities here are going off the deep end with bizarre "specialist" undergrad degrees in order to re-package engineering for an even broader audience (30% of engineering grads working as engineers is clearly too high for them- they're no doubt targeting 15%!)

My alma mater now offers environmental (civil stream- they fortunately canned the chemical stream), mechatronics, nanotechnology engineering, management engineering (barf!) and biomedical engineering in addition to the usual civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, computer, systems design (i.e. industrial) and geological. The previous nuclear specialization died in the '80s.

Industry by and large doesn't know what the hell to do with these people. What the unis are doing is hiving off core courses from the underlying discipline and replacing them with courses related to the specialist subject matter. It's not just a matter of taking credit for a few technical electives in 4th year- a chemical stream environmental sacrificed heat transfer as one example. That's a core chem eng course. If they hacked away a couple of the useless higher math courses, pointlessly teaching analytical integration, that would be a different matter!

Nobody is getting a nanotechnology specialist job with a B.A.Sc. in nanotechnology. No, you're going to need post-grad to do that- so why RUIN the undergrad degree by chopping core courses?

I suppose management engineering (barfs again) seals the transition of engineering from basic training for a profession to "the new liberal arts education", or a sexier business degree.

I agree that engineering employers have to produce their own professionals from good raw materials. The university's job is education, not job training per se. And when they try too hard at the job training bit, they fail, badly. What works better? CO-OP work as a mandatory part of the educational process. That actually generates engineering grads who really are able to hit the ground running.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Nobody is getting a nanotechnology specialist job with a B.A.Sc. in nanotechnology. No, you're going to need post-grad to do that- so why RUIN the undergrad degree by chopping core courses?"

Unclear that this is true, given: http://www.nnin.org/news-events/spotlights/nanotec...

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

Nobody is getting a nanotechnology specialist job with a B.A.Sc. in nanotechnology. No, you're going to need post-grad to do that- so why RUIN the undergrad degree by chopping core courses?

Why chop core engineering classes? To make the overall program easier thereby improving GPAs and graduation rate, thereby improving the school's ranking in irrelevant media reports. "Nanotechnology" also makes for better advertising than "mechanical engineering" to the ignorant.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I am amazed when I see from time to time new names for new engineering disciplines, nanotechnology, mechatronics, materials, bio, etc that are nothing but a surrogate of core competencies in basic engineering. As a matter of fact I recall graduates years ago coming out into the market place with new engineering titles and potential employers asking "what is that ?" Some of the degree may fit into an academic setting ; not always an industrial one.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Nanotechnology is quite different that traditional mechanical engineering, so I'm not sure why one would think it's simply an advertising gimmick; it's a multidisciplinary function that involves electricity, chemistry, quantum mechanics, and physics at the molecular level. A quantum dot has no corollary in large scale engineering. Quantum dots are being applied to industrial applications at this instant, so it's not an academic subject. We were looking at sprinkling quantum dots on persons of interest to track their movements nearly 10 years ago.

The discussion above about power engineering is an example of the specialization that has already occurred in the electrical engineering arena. 70 years ago, there wasn't much to distinguish power EEs for other EEs since they all wound up taking the same basic courses. Today, an integrated circuit design EE would probably have very little overlap with a power EE. I had many courses on transistor (bipolar and MOS) circuit design and modeling, while 70 years ago, the bipolar junction transistor had barely been invented and the MOS transistor wasn't to make its debut until about 55 years ago, and a whole new field of physics and engineering had to developed to support the industrial needs of those devices.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

ok, so how many jobs you see advertised in nanotechnology for a graduate engineer? zero, maybe if lucky he/she can get a job as a research assistant or as a grad student. Lets be realistic, better to have a degree in core engineering discipline and let life take you where it takes you.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

MFJ, I agree there are many mechanical engineers, and civil engineers in the power area, and as many of us are on the top of the red curve, there will be a shortage. Also as government requirements are ramped up, the shortage is starting now.

But just a question about why we are not hearing about robotics engineers, or shortages in that field? And maybe because robotics is covered by another type of engineering.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IRStuff, you've just proven my point. Nanotechnology is a good specialization for a masters or PhD level student, after a degree in chemical, mechanical or perhaps electrical engineering.

I can tell you that my alma mater struggles to find co-op jobs for their nanite undergrads, and we see many former nanites transferring back into chemical after a few terms after waking up and smelling the cat food.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Aren't going to see too many PhD's being CAD jockeys.

Our efforts in quantum dots were all purely engineering aspects of how to disperse them covertly and track them, well within our lowly Bachelor's degree purview.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Another spin here is immigration. If we look at Canada, Australia New Zealand and US, the first 3 have a rather liberal policy that brings in an oversupply of engineers and other professionals well and above the local needs. In US where the policy is restricted it does not really have an impact on supply.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

From time to time I get emails from recruiters I do not know or do not remember ever contacting.
Nevertheless the note had a positive spin:

"It’s pretty obvious, your time is now! Positions are hard to fill, salaries are on the increase and you want to make sure that you do not miss the opportunity to position yourself in the right role, with the right salary and the right future career prospects so you can also benefit and prosper over this next boom period. How you do this, is where it gets a little complex - if you are in a role now where you really feel that the role equals the rewards, good for you, however if you have been in a role for a while with no salary or career review, you should be questioning your employers commitment to you. "

We are all very well aware that the Australian Construction Industry is on the precipice of an unprecedented period of significant growth in NSW/Victoria and SA in delivering Road/Tunnel/Rail Transport infrastructure Projects over the next decade. It is exciting that we are in one of the key industry sectors along with the Health (health and aging population), Wealth (Management), Logistics, Tourism and Education that is going to drive the economy for the next 10 years or so.

When it comes to staff recruitment and retention, this Transport Infrastructure boom is going to bring some significant challenges to Engineering and Construction Groups of all sizes, as experienced previously in the mining and oil and gas boom. .....already seeing talent shortages growing already in many areas such as PM (especially RMS experienced), SPE-PE and Supervisors (where have they all gone?). I have recruited specifically in this sector for 30 years and I predict that the next 1-3 years will be the most challenging period ever when it comes to Civil Construction recruitment as there seems to be too much work to do with too few resources to deliver. It is also important to remember that Australia is not the only Country with this issue, as Globally the Construction sector is predicted to grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion by 2030 so the usual recruitment drives to the UK, RSA and UAE will not deliver the same successful outcomes as was achieved previously.

So what does this mean for you as an extremely valuable, scarce and local individual with a strong career to date and demonstrated experience delivering Transport Infrastructure Projects?

It’s pretty obvious, your time is now! Positions are hard to fill, salaries are on the increase and you want to make sure that you do not miss the opportunity to position yourself in the right role, with the right salary and the right future career prospects so you can also benefit and prosper over this next boom period. How you do this, is where it gets a little complex - if you are in a role now where you really feel that the role equals the rewards, good for you, however if you have been in a role for a while with no salary or career review, you should be questioning your employers commitment to you.

This is a hard and challenging industry with long hours, high pressures and expectations and all under tough and demanding circumstances so it is important that you feel comfortable that you are being acknowledged and looked after by your employer, and if you aren’t - there are plenty of opportunities out there for you!

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (spraytechnology )

If we look at Canada, Australia New Zealand and US, the first 3 have a rather liberal policy that brings in an oversupply of engineers and other professionals well and above the local needs. In US where the policy is restricted it does not really have an impact on supply.

Have you been to the US? We have TONS of foreign engineers (among other STEM and health related professions). When I was in college, at least 50% of my class was foreign students. Most of them stay here after graduating. One of my current colleagues used to work at one of the largest oil and gas companies in the US. When he was there, there was a group of engineers known as the Venezuelan mafia. The company would advertise engineering positions with low salaries to avoid local candidates. Then they would claim that they couldn't find suitable candidates and use visa programs to bring in guys from Venezuela at 50% or less or normal US salary ($30-40K a year).

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Agreed, American industry is rather silly with foreign labor here and not just younger ones. At a former employer I became very friendly with the large contingent of "Chinese Canadians." These fellas were older 40s and 50-something Chinese who became Canadian citizens but worked in the US. I don't recall specifics but apparently Canada is very welcoming to older professionals with citizenship and it got them around the various visa and low wage concerns.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

MFJewell, yes I worked in the States for few years, long ago, but my impression was that overall engineering firms were not to keen on visa immigration sponsorship, had plenty of applicants and that many foreign engineers end up in academia for far less competitive rates.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

That may have been the case a while ago, but globalization has put an end to that. Companies are trying to cut to the bone to be cost competitive here and some companies will do whatever they can to achieve that.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"overall engineering firms were not to keen on visa immigration sponsorship"

Not sure where that comes from. Companies all over have been clamoring for more H1Bs because of the supposed shortage of engineers. Not only are they getting the cream of the crop of foreign engineers, the H1B sponsorship pretty much locks them into a single job with little chance to job-hop to jack up their salaries.

But, it's not just engineering jobs that are like that. You don't see many white people working in the farms in the California central valley, do you? The same sorts of arguments show up there as well.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IRstuff, things may have changed since, back than I was one of the foreign engineers, first as a student and than as an H1B and yes , "the H1B sponsorship pretty much locks them into a single job with little chance to job-hop to jack up their salaries" . In some ways I was unlucky, the employer dangled the " green card" sponsorship for a while, than management changed, tried to find an alternative employer with a new H1B but without success. The only avenue for me at the time was to continue as a PhD but found little incentive to that. On my return to Australia, but lucky this time, found a booming engineering market with an appreciating dollar making way more than I could dream in US. I had a good run, on interesting projects.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Please see https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2015/nsf15328/. The statistics is muddied with economics and psychology majors.

With this and other caveats; in 2013 All Scientist and Engineers (S&E)...
S&E Occupations: 5,749,000 (24.4%)
S&E Related Occupations: 7,439,000 (31.6%)
Non-S&E Related Occupations: 10,368,000 (44%)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Nevertheless, there's been a steady and continued demand:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa

The data shows a 223,000 increase in H1Bs since the recession.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It might be interesting to hear how someone defines "CAD jockey," at various employers I've heard that term applied in a number of ways and to everybody from draftsmen to engineers. I've also known (thankfully few) Phds who considered CAD/3d modeling well beneath their position and many others who used it daily in design and analysis. Personally, I only apply the term to "engineers" with design responsibility, little/no understanding of what they are designing, and whose only relevant skillset is CAD/modeling.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

I've also known (thankfully few) Phds who considered CAD/3d modeling well beneath their position and many others who used it daily in design and analysis.

It's such a mixed message from company to company. I've worked at places where being good at CAD is almost mandatory for the engineers who work there......the next place, they will have a stroke if you even think about doing it. (Reserving it for drafters because of lower rates/hour.)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (IRstuff)

Nevertheless, there's been a steady and continued demand:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-1B_visa

The data shows a 223,000 increase in H1Bs since the recession.

Ever-the-more, I believe H1B visa is lumped under the "Temporary visa holder" or "Immigrant" column. The original numbers I posted here appears to point to over 50% are in the technical related field. Perhaps a bit better than Ontario?

In terms of supply-and-demand, prices have been going up in this ASME/ASCE survey: https://www.asme.org/getmedia/788e990f-99f5-4062-801c-d2ef0586b52d/32673_Engineering_Income_Salary_Survey.aspx

Exhibit 1 has a median salary increase of 4.7% into 2012. Sample size is ~11k
Exhibit 3 has matched sample median increase of 4.4%. into 2012. Sample size is a smaller (3551).

When compared to the ~1k organizations surveyed by Aon in 2013, the overall salary increase budget went up by 2.8% in 2012 (page3-NotTheSun).
http://www.aon.com/attachments/human-capital-consulting/2012-2013_US_Salary_Increase_Survey_Highlights.pdf

I'm no economist/sociologist, this suggest to me there is currently no shortage in engineers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

When OSPE examined the salary survey data- and in Ontario we have a very large, very broad and very useful survey going back at least three decades, which surveys both employees and employers- what we saw was that wage gains did not exceed economic growth for the engineering profession. There was certainly no evidence in the salary data of any kind of labour force shortage.

The most interesting finding was a comparison of the salaries of engineering grads working in engineering (about 30% of the total) versus those who worked outside the engineering profession (about 70% of the total). The median salary of the engineers was 20% higher than that of those eng grads not working as engineers. So if, on average, those people left the profession by choice, they did so against their economic interest.

The survey of 4th year students demonstrates that amongst Ontario engineering grads at least, the vast majority of those who do not gain entry to the profession after graduation do not do so out of choice, but rather by default because of a lack of opportunity.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

There is no labor shortage of engineers even good ones.Period
Politicians, universities, immigration, globalization etc disrupted the social balance on grand scale. Lets call it social engineering for what it is. It is all about control of resources and markets.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

There's a danger in quoting the results of surveys as evidence when the survey looks at something as diverse as 'engineering', or even at a broad-spectrum discipline like electrical or mechanical engineering. There are certainly niche sub-disciplines experiencing shortages, and I'm pretty sure there are also those with surpluses. Some shortages are long-term, others more transient.

As an overall profession there may well be a surplus over demand, but it is simply wrong to assume that the surplus applies uniformly throughout every discipline and every specialism.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (spraytechnology)

There is no labor shortage of engineers even good ones.Period

There is no shortage of engineers;Semicolon
Neither is there a shortage of cars on the road. Prices of both cars and engineers have been steadily increasing despite increases in both population because the demand is strong. Things sure look different in Ontario where engineering wages appear stagnant. I agree with moltenmetal, there is glut there. The rising engineer's wage in the USA indicates there isn't a glut or shortage here. On average, our engineering labor market is humming along healthily.

You have a long list of conspirators for social engineering. Count me as one of them. I'm proud to be an engineer and would not discourage talented people from joining our ranks. Cooperation and healthy competition makes life more interesting than a quasi-monopoly.

Quote (ScottyUK)

There's a danger in quoting the results of surveys as evidence...

True, there are engineers who struggle to find a job for various reasons while others command astronomical salaries. Statistics provides only broad strokes. It is still superior to anecdotal evidence and more importantly keeps us from straying too far from reality with our personal bias.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"would not discourage talented people from joining our ranks"

That's the challenge, though, isn't it? We certainly don't want to discourage talent, but we do want to discourage the untalented and incompetent.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (spraytechnology)

In some ways I was unlucky, the employer dangled the " green card" sponsorship for a while, than management changed, tried to find an alternative employer with a new H1B but without success. The only avenue for me at the time was to continue as a PhD but found little incentive to that.

Was that before the E3 visa? In 2005 I think it was when we did a free trade deal with the US, George Bush threw in a sweetener in the form of the E3 visa specifically for Australians. Apparently it was for being a part of the "Coalition of the willing" and sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.

So long as you've got a degree they pretty much let you straight in. Fear not though Americans, we are JUST as greedy as you all are when it comes to salary lol

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Greedy? At the current salary levels, I like being able to just pick where I want to live.

And maybe that's the issue, some of us don't like living in some of the hell holes that exist, no matter what they pay.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I did my stint in US late 90s early 2000, back home we started seeing the resource boom and AUD appreciation. Nowadays I am picky where I want to live and FIFO is no longer an option. Also can't beat our outback either with any seppo.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

HamburgerHelper,

Thanks for sharing the link! I'm unable to replicate your plot from the website data. Can you elaborate on the source of the data for your plot? Figure 4 of the website shows adjusted increases that doesn't match.

Quoting from last sentence in first paragraph: "Overall, in real terms, bachelor’s degree level salaries have risen 5.9 percent since 1960."

Under the appendix section Figure 11 for Electrical Engineers, There are 4 columns of data: Year, Reported Average Starting Salary, Percent Change, Adjusted Average Starting Salary, Percent Change. For convenience, I've plotted just the salaries below.

If we consider just the recent (unadjusted) data, starting Electrical Engineer salary in 2005 was $51,773 while in 2015 it was $67,593. That looks like rising wage to me.


http://imgur.com/gf1J2Xx


http://imgur.com/y9D9C82

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

David0,

From $51,773 to $67,593 over a ten year spend comes to 2.6% annually. Basically, inflation. Maybe, less depending on how you calculate inflation. There is nothing rising about that.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

HamburgerHelper,

Quote (HamburgerHelper)

From $51,773 to $67,593 over a ten year spend comes to 2.6% annually. Basically, inflation.

Yup! It's rising with inflation more or less.

Returning to the side question: is there a shortage/glut of cars? The price would fluctuate with the economy (like salaries). I would say close to matching inflation means there is no shortage or glut of car (see below) or engineers. The engineering labor market is doing OK.


Over the history of the automobile, inflation-adjusted price to 2013
https://simanaitissays.com/2013/04/22/new-car-math/

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"From $51,773 to $67,593 over a ten year spend comes to 2.6% annually. Basically, inflation."


The corrected data says there's a 0.8% per year rise above the inflation rate; it beats being flat AFTER inflation.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Gents, you are all beating a dead horse. The only material advantage doing engineering work ( if done indeed) is, that is ...interesting. Everything else ( with few exceptions and luck )pale in comparison. [banghead]

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The data is interesting. It suggests to me that there certainly isn't a shortage, but the situation is probably not as dire as some folks here suggest.

I remember there was a statement made by Allan Greenspan about 10 years ago about income inequality. His solution was absurd, but not unsurprising from the captain of parasitic free market capitalism

Quote:

We ought to be opening up our borders to skilled labour from all parts of the world because if we were to do that we would increase the supply of skilled workers that our schools have been unable to create and as a consequence of that we would lower the average wage of skills and reduce the degree of income inequality in this country.
http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/washington/a...

That was pretty much the call to corporate America to turn their lobbying efforts towards immigration and open borders. Of course there was no mention of the biggest causes of inequality, like a tax code that favours capital over labour, excessive executive remuneration, wall street bankers, or you know, trying to help those at the bottom get better wages.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"reduce the degree of income inequality in this country"

It's like when I use the align command in Mathcad. The tops of objects that are high move down, and the tops of the objects that are low move up.

The issue is that those curves show that other professions and jobs are either completely stagnant or actually decreasing in real dollars. Adding more STEM workers will do the same to engineering. But, as usual, there are still those that stubbornly believe in supply-side economics, even though it's been disproven, over and over.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quite the opposite is true, IRstuff. In real dollar terms, in Ontario, engineering was once on par with law and medicine. It is now on par with teaching.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

3
Interesting play with numbers, but does it prove anything? Yes there has been inflation, and the method of calculating inflation has changes by the government to reduce transfer payments, mostly Social Securty in the US. So not all of the inflation is in the official inflation numbers. So what do the numbers prove?

Actually, in my mind, bringing in engineers from other parts of the world will increase the demand from other countries, and should increase wages. What actually happens is that schools try to push through more engineers, by lowering the quality of the education. So we see more non-functional engineers, and wages go down.

Quantity over quality. That is what is happening. Garbage engineers who can't do the work.

We also see that in government regulations to mandate a structured flow process so as to reduce the need for thinking engineers. I.E. we are being replaced by computers and administrators.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I don't quite understand why there's going to be a shortage? Unless they refer to classic engineers (male with glasses)? There's a big push to get girls in STEM and even when I am going to school, the demog is definitely expanding to allow the fairer sex to participate.

Conversely, though, a lot of my classmates end up NOT being engineers, i.e. they got sucked into high-tech jobs, as engineers have a lot of transferable skills to other industries (management, tech, marketing..etc.).

What I can also add, anecdotally is that a lot of EE roles are being developed overseas. So there is a lot lower demand here in NA for hardware EE, as work are being outsourced overseas.

Not a lot of answers, just more observations.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The trend is and has been for few years now, a shortage of good quality well paying engineering jobs in certain countries.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

My son wanted to follow in my footsteps and take and engineering degree. I managed to persuade him not to. Engineering, in the UK, will be finished in a round 5 years. The problem is that all of the large Companies are opening offices in third world countries and transferring the work there. They think that the third world engineering is acceptable but in reality it is crap!!!. After opening these third world offices they pay off the workers in the UK but then realise that they still need people so they bring engineers over from the third world offices with the excuse that they could not find any engineers in the UK. This is a blatent lie. All they are after is cheap labour!!! This activity stinks. Third world engineers will work for lower money. That is why engineering will be dead in the UK in around 5 years along with the fact that the younger engineers are not getting any training as training budgets are being cut all of the time.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

JMO but given recent politics which I care not discuss here I hold hope for significant manufacturing growth in both the US and UK over the next few years, a manufacturing renaissance if you will. Here stateside we certainly spent many years doing similar outsourcing of professional positions to India/China/etc along with importing their labor but I've seen much of that work returning in recent years due to cost vs ability tradeoffs at several companies. Politely stated, the cost to hire qualified engineering staff in low cost countries hasn't produced any real cost savings vs US personnel and hiring cheaper labor has proven a long-term money-loser due to quality, development speed, and other issues.

As for continual training and career growth opportunities, if you aren't getting them and have no financial obligation to stay (pension, ownership, etc) then move on, there's far too many good employers to stand by those that are dying. JME but if someone hopes to get into advanced technology development they need to find a company with a strong forward-thinking training and development program, with the proprietary nature of analysis you simply wont get decent FEA or CFD training elsewhere.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

In some industries in the US, it is very difficult to send work out of the country. Maybe to buy products made outside the US, but not some things like civil engineers who have to stamp the work.

But some industries do build projects, rather than manufacture products. So that might be the difference.

Also as an older engineer, it is part of my job to provide training to younger engineers, except I am not allowed to flunk any of them, and there is no diploma.

When you hire an engineer, how do you know the quality without the paperwork? How do you know they have had additional training, and if they passed?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

In some industries in the US, it is very difficult to send work out of the country. Maybe to buy products made outside the US, but not some things like civil engineers who have to stamp the work.

Even work that has to be stamped is being outsourced/offshored. It gets designed overseas and a guy registered in the States reviews (hopefully) and stamps it here.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"You must remember and compliment Reagan and Thacher peace upon them"

Peace on Reagan perhaps.

A few years ago a handful of people over here were mourning Thatcher's death. I was too busy mourning her birth, along with most people in my patch of the country. We are still harvesting the poisoned crop she sowed.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Careers Australia has just filed for bankruptcy, so that puff piece is pretty much old news. Also to be honest they were nothing to do with engineering, and a great deal to do with exploiting a badly thought out government scheme, which has just been terminated with extreme prejudice.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Some anecdotal evidence...

Where I live, the Registered Nursing profession has seen a starting wage increase in 30% over the past 10 years, and now I see billboards for the local health systems offering anywhere from $7,500-$20,000 starting bonuses-and they put this up on billboards! The local hospital (owner has hospitals in three other metro areas in the region as well) has 838 listings for nursing openings. Our state alone has 434 across multiple employers (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home healthcare, etc).

Engineering starting salaries in our region have seen a 10-15% increase in ten years, and nobody is offering starting bonuses of any magnitude (maybe a couple thousand bucks to offset a moving trailer), and you certainly don't see bulletin boards about it!

I'll believe there is an engineering shortage when I see the market response the nurses are seeing.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I've received a $10k signing bonus from all three employers the last decade and seen many others given as well. Usually its justified for miscellaneous moving costs but they've also covered movers and every other moving cost imaginable - reimbursement for hotels/meals/gas during travel, temporary housing or a couple month's rent for the next location, trips back-forth to settle personal business, realtor fees, closing costs, home purchases, etc. My understanding is that labeling it as a moving benefit (even if not moving) helps both sides from a tax standpoint.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Mine's always been cash in my pocket regardless the name, never had a moving expense otherwise and wasnt sure what other moving benefits the Silicon Valley set get. Granted its not a year's salary but still a nice little bonus. Perks like this often make me wonder why so many younger engineers seem afraid of change. I've volunteered for layoffs twice where I knew I was getting 6+ months salary as severance, "moving" bonus, and leaving on a Friday with a better position waiting Monday.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

In 2014, I got a 25K signing bonus and just over 45K for moving expenses. In 2016, I got a 5K signing bonus (along with a 15% increase in pay over previous employer) at another local company. I agree with CWB1, not sure why people are afraid of change. I think most people are willing to accept the status quo and/or don't want to put in the effort to make something happen. Doing that will usually limit your growth. An example, I started at an EPC at the same time as another engineer in 2011. Our salaries were within 3K of each other. Now six years later his salary has increased ~ 22%. I am at my third different company since then and my salary has increased by just over 100%. He is one of those people that is content with being a "company guy" and doesn't care to look for anything else. He will probably work at the EPC for as long as they stay in business, for better or for worse. A lot of people under 40 seem to have that same view. They seemed thrilled to just to have a job and act like these companies are doing them a huge favor.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Good info folks, obviously I'm in the wrong part of the country/world!

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"They seemed thrilled to just to have a job and act like these companies are doing them a huge favor."

That's not necessarily the only reason for not changing jobs:

> commute -- yes, I could change jobs if I were willing to put up with a 1hr+ one-way commute, but that's nowhere within my cost/benefit analysis space. I could move, but I like my house more than I like any company that's not within a reasonable commute
> starting over -- a new job entails a significant time to build up one's creds and reputation; often, one enters a new job essentially as a noob in the pecking order. Finding your new spot takes time and energy, neither of which I want to expend at this point in my career
> crappy people, etc. -- when you find a job where the crackheads and difficult people are gone, for whatever reason, that's hard to give up. Going to a new job entails the possibility of running into, and afoul of, self-centered nitwits, idiots, and other forms of lower life. These are chi-vampires; they suck your energy and give you nothing in return. You can't be sure of running across them during a single day interview, so it's a gamble. Often, you don't even find them until re-orgs and whatnot shake them loose from the woodwork, and you find yourself writing Pearl Harbor memos and pondering when to give them the finger and walk out.

I've changed jobs 7 times, more or less, not always voluntarily, and there have been at least few times in previous jobs where the above bullet points were true. There's one guy in the current company that's a bit of a chi-vampire, but only because he whines about having never done something before, which is a real motivation sink during a proposal. But, he's not always on my proposals, so I can live with that.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I have to agree with some comments above; generous bonuses are common in US, less if any in other parts of the world, meaning there are more lucrative opportunities in US for employees.

IRstuff - I like your comments about " crappy people" oh boy .... when you come across toxic people my best advice is ...run. Life is to short to put up with that.


RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (IRstuff)

That's not necessarily the only reason for not changing jobs:

> commute
> starting over
> crappy people, etc

Of course there are other factors to be considered when contemplating a job change and each one should carry some weight. I always factor those in as well. I have excel spreadsheets that I made for economical analysis that include commuting costs, time spent on work related activities (commute + expected hours at work), benefits costs, state and local taxes, etc. Luckily, I don't mind the starting over part since I tend to make an impact and get noticed for my abilities rather quickly. Could that not be the case somewhere, sure, but so far, it has always worked out that way for me. As for people, I just see people as people. I don't expect to go anywhere to make new friends. I just keep it work related and build good working relationships. This has also proved very successful for me.

All that said, I have turned down significantly more jobs than I have accepted due to commute considerations and/or vibe I got during interviews. The current place I work now had some questionable individuals that I met during the interviews and it increased commute from 7 miles to 33. I was on the fence on this one, but I saw the potential and it has been a great job change.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I don't think most take issue with older folks settling or even "coasting" to retirement (within reason), but for engineers fresh out of college its pretty detrimental to their career IMHO.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Hey!!! you calling me old?

Well...

I resemble that remark.

The bottom line is that some people love change, are adrenaline junkies, or they're ambivalent, or they hate change. It takes all kinds of people to make a good team. Having no tribal knowledge can be a really bad thing. There needs to be some old curmudgeonly geezer that can tell you, "oh yeah, we did that 15 years ago, and here's why that was a disaster." That actually happened, but the old geezer was only IBM Tech Systems Journal that had a paper from 15 years prior explaining why we were $3M in the hole because some lame maintenance guy decided to monkey with the previously qualified and working process.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Interesting topic and comments, which I have enjoyed reading.

Engineers, as a group, tend to be negative and I've heard that comment from quite a few non-engineers. Life is never so bleak as some think, including me. And life is very hard for me right now so I am no Pollyanna.

Whether there is a shortage or not, nature and nurture will still effect engineering. People usually move towards their desires even when outside motive forces are not acting upon them. In short, I don't know that we have that much control over numbers in the profession. We do not need to sell young people on STEM. We need to educate them about it enabling them to make a good decision for their lives. It's not about us but them and their interests. We've made our decisions.

I've been participating in the Central Chapter of NSPE-CO, since 2014. It's been quite an education. I understand the importance of licensure and membership in NSPE better now and I am still learning. It is interesting to listen to engineers, attorneys, and insurance companies discuss problems that arise and how they are dealt with, in and out of court. One engineer has been in court numerous times on various things and always takes in a wagonload of documentation and ensures he is familiar with his wagonload of documentation. It matters and is not insignificant. There are many such stories engineers tell about this kind of thing. Attorneys and insurance companies have some interesting stories.

With changes coming in technology, I believe licensure will become even more important and widespread. At least one old industrial company has done away with the industrial exemption and spent several hours explaining what that meant to their engineering staff. With autonomous vehicles coming, based upon some of the presentations I've heard on it, the automotive industry will probably change. I don't know how ubiquitous that thinking is as it is just my opinion based upon what I've learned in the last 4 years of membership in NSPE. My former employer didn't want to assume the legal responsibilities for its engineers any longer and I cannot believe others will not follow suit.

Licensure in the USA is rooted in the US Constitution through Amendment 10 as well as Article 4, Section 2. With that in view, I foresee licensure for engineers as transportation technologies advance.

When I researched ABET's and NCEES's websites, I began to realize that licensure is not insignificant because a lot of effort goes into making it possible. It provides a standard to measure competence much like licensure for physicians and attorneys. And for those who don't put much stock in standards, let's go back to no standards on threads, fiber, etc. and see how good everything works. I know there are problems everywhere but it's a place to begin.

Life events are seldom simple and people are seldom simple. The state of industry, engineering, society, etc. are due to a host of factors, to me. In the USA, a general coarsening of our society has occurred over my lifetime, which is disheartening. We don't value human capital. We have isolated ourselves into silos, which is destructive. This statement reflects some of what I see, "I just don’t understand the disrespectful attitude toward working people.” Source: AFL-CIO CEO-Worker Pay Ratio


Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I've heard the suggestion that engineers are negative before. I disagree, although I understand where the perception comes from.

We're the ones who see the practicalities and the difficulties in doing something, and we speak up about those things because we understand them. In the eyes of the dreamers we're negative because we shoot holes in their ideas right at the outset. I actually think we're some of the most positive people out there: the optimists who say "Yeah, it hasn't been done before, but we'll find a way to make it work even though we aren't sure quite how." Our underlying optimism is often masked by other traits though, like the cynicism which often develops after a few years in the business, and our seemingly dogmatic application of 'the rules'.

We don't help our cause much do we?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I have noticed a trend I call 'magical thinking'. Somebody assumes some outcome they'd like to see, as an enhancement on the present state, and it becomes the foundation of some future state. The ballbusters amongst us then point out that while FS is a nice goal, PS to FS is not just a case of waving a wand and shouting some hokum Latin, but may involve spending money, time, resources, at the very least, might need to break a few physical laws, and will have unintended consequences. This makes said ballbusters unpopular with politicians, Social Justice Warriors, and the Twitterati.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

What's worse is if you can think of the objections and reasons for failure faster than the proposer can even complete their presentation. For some peculiar reason, they think that we are not only negative, but we're close minded.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

ScottyUK, no we don't help our cause much.

We do see a lot others don't but, even when they do see things correctly, we often shoot holes in their ideas and them.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"We do see a lot others don't but, even when they do see things correctly, we often shoot holes in their ideas and them."

Yeah, BTDT; it works great with SWMBO winky smile

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IRstuff, are you still surprised to be alive?

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I came across a 'brain storming' session white board that had not been erased. It was apparently from the new-grad bunch being groomed to meet the needs of the Fearless Leader**. One of the entries was "Gundam Suit." Nothing like introducing Japanese Anime as a possible future product. The old guys might have been negative about that sort of idea.

One thing that I've considered in such things is that the person who is floating an idea has never asked the basis questions.

1) Why has no one else thought of this?
2) What do I know that no one else does?

As long as the answers relate to corporate inertia or being the first to the party then there's a chance to succeed. Apple computer, for example, benefited greatly from IBM's inertia and Google was the first to understand the page-rank concept.

But what kills me is when someone is basically saying they are so smart that they alone, with no research at all, have concluded that some idea is the best idea. And I find the reason they think they are so smart is they have done nothing to build a basis of comparison.

**The management guy who was leading this also led a project that 3 of 3 engineers said was a bad idea and forced me to use a mechanism I was told later had failed in a prototype stage but they didn't pass that information along to me before demanding I design using it. What was interesting is the core component was purchased from a company that had motive to design a system just like the management guy was going for, but he failed to ask either question. As soon as it was all assembled, it immediately failed and they threw 3-4 years worth of my salary in the garbage and pretended it didn't happen.

I could have saved that company a lot of money by just not working on what the dreamers came up with.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"are you still surprised to be alive?"

My florist bill is rather high winky smile

We used to have a guy who was the gatekeeper for IR&D (independent research and development), always has two showstopper questions. When we first went to him for a new project, he'd ask, "Is anyone else doing this?" We answer "no," and he'd say, "then why do we want to be the first?" Next time around, he'd ask his same question, and we'd answer "sure, A and B are both pursuing it." He'd then say, "so why do we want to be doing the same?"

So, those are always good questions, "are we really the only people the universe to have thought of this?" and, "if this is really a good idea, why aren't there more people doing it?"

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
One of my pet peeves is a closely related cousin to Greg's "magical thinking" and seems to be the polar opposite and enemy of objective (some say negative) debate of a project's merits. I call it "powerpoint engineering" whereby someone with an engineering title, CAD suite, and usually some sort of basic analysis program that they do not actually understand makes a lot of pretty presentations that convince management they are going to make the company billions. They then enjoy many months/years being billed as a rising leader within the company and usually do their best to limit invitations to design reviews, other technical, and DFMEA discussions to prevent technical experts from attending. If the chief powerpoint engineer is in-house they often move to a sister company, division, or other distant department shortly before the recalls and warranty claims begin, and often do so with a raise or promotion. If the chief powerpoint engineer is good they also get an important executive to attach their name to the project so its eventual failure is guaranteed to quickly be explained away and forgotten. If the powerpoint engineer is an outside contractor we commonly call them a consultant, pay them 3x as much as necessary, give them 5x as much time to work, and usually have little/no recourse for substandard work and lack of results. Not to suggest all consultants are that bad, but I've come across enough in aerospace and automotive that whenever the word is mentioned I admittedly get a bit cheeky and counter with suggesting more interns or junior engineers be hired instead. I believe this is where the many jokes and stereotypes about PEs stem from, and why I question the long term viability of keeping the current licensing system. In many regards PEs are starting to go the way of the union journeyman's card as a serious sign of incompetence creating distrust despite being intended to do the opposite.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (CWB1)

One of my pet peeves is a closely related cousin to Greg's "magical thinking" and seems to be the polar opposite and enemy of objective (some say negative) debate of a project's merits. I call it "powerpoint engineering" whereby someone with an engineering title, CAD suite, and usually some sort of basic analysis program that they do not actually understand makes a lot of pretty presentations that convince management they are going to make the company billions. They then enjoy many months/years being billed as a rising leader within the company and usually do their best to limit invitations to design reviews, other technical, and DFMEA discussions to prevent technical experts from attending. If the chief powerpoint engineer is in-house they often move to a sister company, division, or other distant department shortly before the recalls and warranty claims begin, and often do so with a raise or promotion. If the chief powerpoint engineer is good they also get an important executive to attach their name to the project so its eventual failure is guaranteed to quickly be explained away and forgotten. If the powerpoint engineer is an outside contractor we commonly call them a consultant, pay them 3x as much as necessary, give them 5x as much time to work, and usually have little/no recourse for substandard work and lack of results

Tone the sarcasm down a little. Tell us what really happened.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Plazma, there was nothing in that post intended to be sarcastic. My response to outside hiring is a bit facetious but also very serious. I am not discussing an isolated incident but quite a few that I have witnessed at several large corporations and after discussing with peers have come to realize is common occurrence. I have no problem with internal subject matter experts with well-proven history and experience taking charge of their area of expertise nor competent outside help, but there are many inexperienced phonies in industry as well that are mistakenly put into positions of significant responsibility.

One good example was my last employer outsourcing the design of a new variety of widget rather than hiring internally. The firm hired had no experience in that area and after a few initial concept reviews it became painfully obvious their analysis was flawed. It became a "us vs them" scenario but because management had pitched their involvement as beneficial and contracts signed, internal experts were excluded and their opinions were dismissed, and the powerpoint engineers continued unabated. More than a year later the predicted project failure occurred and the company had no recourse. The failure was swept under the rug as being due to insurmountable issues when in reality it failed due to incompetent engineering. Others may disagree, but I am very careful to take unsupervised design responsibility only on things which I have experience with as I view it unethical to work outside my area of experience. Garbage in and a pretty picture out does not make a successful test, and many things cannot be learned except by experience testing what works and what does not. If I was risking only my own money and time that would be one thing, however doing so for an employer or client is quite another.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It is rather known fact in particular in large organizations, that incompetent people get " promoted up" to get rid of them.

Often the attempt is to promote them in a role they cannot make much damage, not always the case.....

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Don't you hate the know it all, because you can't teach him anything.

But often real learning happens when he has to fix his own mistakes.

Shortages happen when companies are not willing to create training positions. There may not be a shortage of newbees, but there will be a shortage of knowing olders soon enough.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The best engineer I have met was beyond arrogant. I don't think anyone taught him anything. He was too prideful to not just figure out himself or to fail. I don't know how much stuff he screwed up but I don't think it was much. He thought he knew everything and went off with another guy to start a consulting company. It worked out for him so maybe he did.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I wonder if this topic can be tied to HR non-sense?

God made the integers, all else is the work of man. - Leopold Kroenecker

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

No, this goes beyond HR, as exemplified by our president's latest immigration proposal; obviously some birdies whispered in his ear that there is a shortage of English-speaking skilled labor in the US.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

amp/spectrum.ieee.org/riskfactor/at-work/tech-careers/exposing-the-roots-of-the-perpetual-stem-crisis-.amp.html

I don't think I'm going to run out and snap up the hard-copy, mostly because I don't have access to the waiting rooms or parlours where it would be best skillfully and artistically placed.

(If this shows up as shouting, forgive my less-than mastery of Chrome in the real world)

.

(Me,,,wrong? ...aw, just fine-tuning my sarcasm!)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I agree with you that nowadays there will be a shortage o engineering students. It's because of the opening of low-quality engineering college and because of this students are jobless. I was also a student and I completed my graduation from best Nagpur engineering colleges and currently, I am working at MNC. The only matter is where you graduate.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Back to the original posted question, it is possible that the imminent breakout in AI and expert systems will reduce the need for many engineers, and cause the same "increase in productivity" ( read- increase in unemployment) as occurred with the widespread increase in usse of the PC and commercial software.

"...when logic, and proportion, have fallen, sloppy dead..." Grace Slick

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Corporations have been spinning that old "STEM shortage" fairy tale for decades because it increases the number or people in the market so they can pay them less. It's all in Law of Supply and Demand. There are too many new grads today who can't find jobs. With a STEM shortage, how can that be?!

Nowadays if a new grad has completed no internships and graduates with less-than-stellar grades, he can be unemployed for a VERY long time after graduation. But the "human resources" people who hire them think not about such human issues as students who have the will but not the way! Financially-independent students who have to work, beg, and borrow their way through school inevitably work full-time in the summers and part-time each semester. In summers they may be forced to work higher-paying jobs than those internships. Of course they have less time to devote to studying as their fully-funded competitors so they get lower grades (and a LOT of stress!). But HR people don't care about such things and routinely pass them by due to their unbreakable hiring requirements.

H. Bruce Jackson
ElectroMechanical Product Development
UMD 1984
UCF 1993

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

The cited article is an open item: https://spectrum.ieee.org/riskfactor/at-work/tech-...-

"Nowadays if a new grad has completed no internships and graduates with less-than-stellar grades, he can be unemployed for a VERY long time after graduation. "
This seems to be the non sine qua of today's college student school year, my own kind among them, and has now become a crisis of its own, because so many students now are looking for internships from the start of the school year that they getting harder and harder to find. It's to the point where it's Labor Day, and the kids are getting harassed about not having found an internship for the coming summer, AND, most of the good internships are mostly scooped up by October.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

My advice to any engineering student would be to get as much experience via internships as possible.

That being said, I'm not so sure a hiring manager should consider that a make or break deal. I haven't noticed much of a difference between ones that have or have not done a internship (except maybe CAD skills). I've seen graduates who have done some really good research....that should be a factor as well.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It's the old Catch-22; "you have no experience, so we are reluctant to hire you," and we don't particularly see it as our problem that you can't get experience unless you've been hired in the past.

The constant drumbeat of the STEM crisis has increased the student enrollment in STEM disciplines by 50%, and now, the only way to weed down the applicant pool is to tally the number of internships acquired.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IRStuff the hyperlink you provided to the IEEE article doesn't work. I'd love to read it!

H. Bruce Jackson
ElectroMechanical Product Development
UMD 1984
UCF 1993

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

This problem is not only in the US. The same is happening in Australia. While engineers struggle to find jobs, the body which is meant to represent engineers, Engineers Australia, lobbies the government to keep engineers on the skills shortage list. It's not hard to understand why when you see that 20% of Engineers Australia revenue is from migration assessment. It is a huge money maker for them.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Australia,,, yes I believe the graph is accurate, since 2013 the engineering vacancies dropped with few exceptions. Most of heavy manufacturing closed shop and getting a well paying engineering job is now somewhat of a challenge. ( I am currently employed on a resource project overseas). Nevertheless I could never understand why in Cananda and Australia would be migrants with engineering qualifications would migrate on that basis while clearly most of them will never make it or find a job in engineering. Am I missing something here?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (spraytechnology)

Nevertheless I could never understand why in Cananda and Australia would be migrants with engineering qualifications would migrate on that basis while clearly most of them will never make it or find a job in engineering.

Because even if they end up as a cab driver, it is still mostly like a much better life than whatever third world country they came from.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Many engineers who migrate to Canada are successful in landing engineering employment, achieving licensure and having fully successful integration into the engineering labour market.

Many more never achieve that success, or only achieve it partially or only for a time.

I would say that with the possible exception of refugees and asylum seekers, all of them come in the sincere hope and belief that Canada is a land of limitless opportunity and their success, while not certain, is reasonably probable.

The statistics would tend to give them reasons to shake their heads and re-think things a bit.




The reason the immigrant engineers aren't achieving even the pathetic conversion of engineering education into engineering labour force participation in Canada that the average Canadian graduate achieves isn't as a result of racism or xenophobia in my view. Canada and Canadians, on average, have an overwhelmingly and somewhat uncritically positive view of immigration in normative terms, though racists and xenophobes both general and selective do exist here as they do everywhere in the world. Rather, immigrant engineers fail in huge numbers here because they are often viewed by employers as an unnecessarily high "hire risk"- a risk which it isn't worth taking unless the labour market is actually tight enough that they have no choice. Given that the labour market for engineering here in Canada is by no means tight, nor has it been even close to tight for a very long time. There is a perennial shortage of people with 10 yrs of local experience who were not hired as fresh grads ten years prior in that industry, but that's a role that many immigrants to Canada cannot be reasonably expected to fill right out of the airport arrivals gate.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"they are often viewed by employers as an unnecessarily high "hire risk"-"

This seems worth exploring; why do you think there's a perceived risk? If anything, one would think that immigrants would pose a lower job-hopping risk, or is it some other risk?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

moltenmetal,

I am sitting here in an office in Kitchener/Waterloo, and it appears to me that most of the engineers here graduated from the nearby and well regarded University of Waterloo. Obviously, if you were trained in India, Russia or China, you are not a Waterloo graduate, and your resume will move down the stack. Lots of Waterloo graduates are New Canadians. Even if you cannot break into engineering, your kids can.

--
JHG

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

You'd expect better communication and language skills from local grads than immigrants from countries where English is not the primary language - also, local grads are generally more likely to be a cultural fit.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (moltenmetal)

Rather, immigrant engineers ... viewed by employers as ... a risk which it isn't worth taking unless the labour market is actually tight enough that they have no choice.

Who exactly has no choise, employers or employees?

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

How exactly do you complete a background check on someone from Russia or China?

Would it not be easy to hire someone from the university down the street?

It would be different if you were hiring someone to cut your lawn (Have you ever run over your own foot? Do you know better than to attempt to cut grass after it has rained?).

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Makes a lot of sense to hire a fresh graduate from a university down the road, sometimes, but why would be immigrants with lets say 10 years engineering experience bet all and drive taxis instead.? after passing the hurdles of certification and recognition...looks more like a high level scheme to boost bodies, drive labor cost down, increase consumption and real estate values basically driving growth at the expense of the immigrants which are given a ...dream...
I Australia they have a working visa 457 that is heavily abused by businesses to bring in cheaper labor....

How do you do a background check on a company ? You remind me about the Canadian mining co called Bre-x....

The reality is the universities are pumping out graduates (business sense) to an ever shrinking engineering market that mostly shifted to low cost countries and emerging economies...

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Let's compare two job candidates, shall we?

The first graduated from a local university and has ten years working in the local market- five for one of your competitors, another five for one of your suppliers. They have references that you know personally- maybe even people on your own staff, and others you can get on the phone in five minutes. They come in familiar with both your suppliers and some of your customers, have a professional engineering license in your area, and already have a line on a couple potential projects they may be able to bring in with them either now or in the near future.

The other graduated in another country and studied in a language other than your local language- one of ten thousand such programs and universities/colleges in the world, about which you personally know absolutely nothing. They have the same ten years- or even twenty years- worth of experience, but all of it was gained in another part of the world where the codes and standards of practice are similarly either incompletely known or totally unknown to you. They pass a technical test for basic technical skills and seem to know their stuff, but communication is a bit of a struggle . They're eager, and willing to work for $10,000 or even $20,000 less per year than the other person- this year at least. They have no license yet, because they lack the year's worth of local mentored experience necessary to get one.

Which of the two would you consider to be a greater hire risk?

The latter candidate is a reasonable composite of at least 100 foreign trained engineers I've interviewed over the past couple of decades- at least the ones who met the basic technical competency requirements (which some local engineers also fail).

If the former candidate doesn't present themselves for an interview or is somehow imperfect, you may choose the latter. If you have ten of the former stacked up in the resume file because the labour market is saturated, you're not even going to interview people in the latter category.

Is the exclusion of those foreign-trained engineers from consideration "discrimination"? Selecting which candidates to interview and which interviewees to hire is FUNDAMENTALLY a process of discrimination. The key is to ensure that the discrimination isn't happening on the basis of grounds not materially affecting job performance. Race, country of origin, sex/orientation etc. are such grounds- but communication skills, work experience in the local milieu, access to local references etc.- those are NOT arbitrary grounds, they're meaningful selection criteria because they can be demonstrated to have a meaningful effect on actual job performance, especially initial job performance. Generally, you're hiring experienced people to fill an immediate need- team-building over the longer term can be done with more junior staff who obviously are going to be selected from the local pool of graduates.

We've had good luck with some foreign-trained engineers- some of them really exceptional- but we've also had some spectacularly bad hires who cost us a lot of money to regret. By far, our best luck has been with co-op students who we've mentored and trained ourselves. They represent near zero hire risk- we can say that now that many of them are still on our staff after over 10 yrs on the job.

What saddens me even more is that many immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers come to Canada knowingly sacrificing their career aspirations for the benefit of their kids' futures- and then put their kids into engineering schools, whereupon the grads are dumped onto an oversupplied local labour market and forgotten about- expected to sink or swim on their own merits, despite the oversupply. It's ridiculous.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Oh, OK, I see that more as part of the rack & stack, compare/contrast, process of selecting the best candidate for the job/price. Nevertheless, employers know that having these immigrant engineers tossed into the applicant pool will drag down salaries, since, as you indicate, there are a few highly qualified foreign engineers at a lower wage that could displace a few highly paid local engineers.

The only reason US wages have finally started upward the past year is because the unemployment rate is now so low and Trump and his minions have snarled immigration. That helps us, but I don't think that's what his big money donors wanted.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (IRstuff )

The only reason US wages have finally started upward the past year is because the unemployment rate is now so low and Trump and his minions have snarled immigration. That helps us, but I don't think that's what his big money donors wanted.

Wage increases have been possible during the previous administration's reign. I increased my wages 110% from 2010 to 2017.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I've also had wage increases because of a shortage in my area.

Yes I get it that universities don't teach much in the power area. I also have to say those grads who think it is easy, and you just follow the book, are wrong, and find mid life that they have worn out their welcome at so many places (job hoppers we call them).

And that is a limit in this industry, you can't assume the books are 100% right. You have to think out side the box, and many grads have not learned that, and can't do that.

Maybe that's the need for excess engineers. People who can do it, and people who washout. Maybe the universities need to make the education harder so some people wash out sooner.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Employers absolutely love to have a full stack of applicants for every position they advertise. They love high supply- it makes for a "flexible" workforce- read one that is cowed, and willing to put up with lousy pay and poor working conditions- contracts for nothing more than they'd normally pay as salary for instance.

Every chance they get, employers will scream "shortage!" at the top of their lungs.

Ironically, their short-term thinking actually generates real shortages- of the people with ten years of experience that their field didn't hire as fresh grads ten years prior. Equally regrettably, those positions aren't easily filled by immigrants either- they don't fit the bill completely for the reasons mentioned in my previous post.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

moltenmetal, I have to agree with your comments and that the way things are. Although you use pompous terms like high risk hires etc...although I think foreign engineers tend to be more flexible, humble and willing to adapt and less likely to rock the boat. Terminating for cause an employee if done by law should not be an issue, and that is part of doing business. In USA it is less of an issue but in Canada, Australia etc since the markets are saturated, the engineering business turns into somewhat a closed shop.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations...

Engineers imported from overseas as Australians struggle to find jobs
Anna Patty


When Kenan Toker enrolled to study electrical engineering specialising in power generation, he thought he would be training for a job in a growth industry full of opportunities.

But after graduating with his engineering degree earlier this year, Mr Toker, 24, from the Sydney suburb of Mosman, struggled to find a job

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

spraytechnology: I can tell you from our own experience that terminating a professional employee "with cause" in cases where there hasn't been something as obvious as breaking the law, is more than merely difficult- it is next to impossible here in Canada. Most companies instead choose to "package" people out, i.e. it costs the company a severance package which is not an insignificant amount of money. A poor fit in hiring can be very costly in cold hard dollars and cents, forgetting about the efforts on the part of management to make sure that the problem actually lies with the individual and isn't something they can correct.

Workplaces in general can become "closed shops" because hiring competent people from a pool of applicants is difficult, time-consuming work to do well, and does bring a high risk of failure. That's why people are so big on "networking", because most positions are filled through contacts within the networks of the current employees. That's a hard thing to break into as either a fresh grad or a fresh immigrant, and next to impossible to break into in a saturated labour market.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Moltenmetal, In Australia 99% of professional jobs get filled by networking. It is so easy, from time to time we advertise on SEEK directly or via an agent, but the results are disappointing to say the least. We get tens of resumes 99% not event close to requirements. The agents usually bring in 3-4 resumes that at times are too perfect. Must be more than 10 years I recruited someone by way of an agent and than it was a very specialised role in a hard location.
\

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

That's why people are so big on "networking", because most positions are filled through contacts within the networks of the current employees.

I've worked at several places where that was just a total, unmitigated disaster. Buddies getting buddies hired and then they'd get fobbed off on the unsuspecting people who didn't know them. One boss I had fixed that one fast: he set it up where if you got 'em hired......you are the one who will work with them. That cut down on some of it.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

In my opinion, at least in Australia, the saturation of the engineering market (and the engineering shortage lie) has nothing to do with employers or employees. And especially has nothing to do with xenophobia, racism, bigotry etc. If there are 1000 applicants and only 10 positions, the 990 engineers who don't get accepted is not because of discrimination. Even before an employer has received a single CV the market is already saturated.

- The government advertises to the world saying 'Hey everyone, we have an engineering shortage! You'll definitely get a great high paying job if you come here. Just give us the $5000 visa application fee, non-refundable of course, and we'll make sure you have a great opportunity waiting for you when you arrive.'
- The engineering bodies advertise to the world saying 'Come to Australia. We have an engineering shortage and it'll be incredibly easy to find a great high paying job here. Just give us $1000 to transfer you accreditation otherwise you'll be placed at the back of the list. Still can't find a job? Well dummy, that's because you're not chartered! Just give us the $1600 chartered application fee and you'll have a job in no time!'
- The universities advertise to the world saying 'Have you heard Australia has an engineering shortage? Well unless you're educated in Australia you'll be looked upon unfavourably when applying for jobs. But don't worry! Just give us $3000 per unit per semester for 5 years and we'll make sure you come out with a great qualification that will put you top of the list when applying for jobs. Did we mention there's an engineering shortage?'

Migration is big money for government, engineering bodies, and universities. They're not going to let saturation of the market stop them from making a nice bonus.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

We had the same problem here about two decades ago. The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, now called Engineers Canada, the federal association of our provincial engineering regulatory bodies, was making a substantial fraction of its revenue by selling "credential assessments" to prospective immigrants, which were then rejected by CCPE's constituent members (the provincial regulatory bodies who actually grant engineering licenses).

Later our at the time brand-new engineering advocacy body in Ontario (OSPE) got in the mix. It was offering training courses to engineers and soon realized that it was worth trying its hand at providing a "job skills" program to foreign-trained engineers attempting to find work in Canada. This was during the 1999-2003 peak of "skilled worker" immigration, when as many immigrant engineers were trying to settle in Toronto alone as we were graduating from all our CEAB-accredited university programs in the entire country combined. It was when that program, which was costly to both the provincial government body that funded it as well as to the participants in the program, failed to find positions for about half of its pilot participants during what was constantly hyped in the media as a period of "generalized shortage of skilled workers", that OSPE started wondering what was really going on in the engineering labour market.

Regrettably it took twelve years- between 2003 when the problems with the OSPE program came to light, until 2015, before OSPE could manage to get its head around the fact that not only was there no engineering labour market shortage, but rather the exact opposite- a massive, persistent and growing market over-supply. That's when OSPE finally issued the report I've linked to repeatedly here. Of course because senior people in the profession to this day still either refuse to believe the data, or perhaps more cynically because some of them profit personally from the ongoing oversupply, the report was not promoted actively by OSPE and has therefore had virtually no useful effect. It has had no meaningful impact on Canadian immigration or Ontario educational policy that I can detect. But it does serve as a useful source of data to counter these claims of "shortage!" when they (continue) to rear their ugly heads.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

I've worked at several places where that was just a total, unmitigated disaster. Buddies getting buddies hired and then they'd get fobbed off on the unsuspecting people who didn't know them.

My experience has also been that nepotism in hiring rarely leads to anything but incompetence. I'm not sure which is worse, giving friends/family hiring preference or graduates of a particular school. The first isnt too popular IME as many companies have policies against it. The later OTOH is scarily popular, particularly among managers who are also school sports fans/boosters. Personally I've always recommended hiring the best candidate for the position. With today's recruiters advertising on the internet hiring is a pretty simple process. Either folks can prove their worth in the application/interview process or they cant, the risk is only in hiring those who cant claim any experience.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"managers who are also school sports fans/boosters"

That's rather broad brush, and ignores the fact that certain schools simply are better, and their students are culled from the cream of the crop to start with. Given a choice, would you hire a doctor that graduated from Harvard vs. one that graduated from Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo?

Would you pick a BSEE from Stanford or one from Texas A&M? In the TV series "Suits," the law firm Pearson Hardman hires only Harvard Law graduates.

Now, from actual experience, I can only anecdotally say that I once interviewed someone from a large school known for sports, and the interviewee, who allegedly had nearly 4.0 GPA, couldn't solve a simple TTL circuit problem, even after been told what the solution was, and then proceeded to not be able to solve the same problem yet again later in the day.

I disagree that the government, per se, has a motive; the upfront fees will never fully cover the unemployment costs later on. Nevertheless, politicians, being in the pockets of big business will spout the business party line, because it's always in the best interest of business to get cheap labor, particularly if the technical risk is sufficiently low. There was a brief period of time when India was successfully marketing to off-shore receptionists, by having a someone in India live on a monitor in the foyer, ready to assist the incoming visitors. While we never partook of that, we also never replaced our receptionist.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Not to change the subject, but I challenge the notion that a low unemployment rate is a healthy sign in the USA. That statistic does not factor in those that had skilled, well-paying jobs but were culled by heartless employers for any reason (or no reason at all per at-will employment law), couldn't find work in their field, and ended up taking jobs at much lower pay out of desperation. A chemist who ends up working at WalMart has no effect on the unemployment rate! It's just more "smoke and mirrors" by the US government (owned by big business). IMHO, the government and big business in the US have lost their moral and ethical compasses. Government bureaucrats are unwilling to publish solid employment metrics that provide information that is immune from manipulation.

H. Bruce Jackson
ElectroMechanical Product Development
UMD 1984
UCF 1993

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

That's rather broad brush, and ignores the fact that certain schools simply are better, and their students are culled from the cream of the crop to start with. Given a choice, would you hire a doctor that graduated from Harvard vs. one that graduated from Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo?

Would you pick a BSEE from Stanford or one from Texas A&M?

I can only share my experience, which has been that managers who discriminate against candidates that didnt attend their own alma mater tend to also be bigger sports boosters.

As for "better" schools, while I've known a few top engineers from "top" schools, most that I've known from those schools have been rather average and some disappointingly below average in success after college. In decades past stereotypes about graduates may have been more true but IME today its a fool's errand to make such assumptions. Personally, success after graduation speaks louder than school lore to me. While its nice to hire the most highly educated folks available from what others perceive as "top" schools, I'd weight patents, papers, and significant projects as much more important on a resume and better indicators of future success.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"That statistic does not factor in those that had skilled, well-paying jobs but were culled..."

That's what happens when you use a single value to gauge the economy. Nevertheless, the detailed statistics exist, and are not buried by anyone, government or otherwise, which is why https://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-st... has a nice graphic that shows that there are truckloads of STEM graduates who are not working in STEM. None of the conclusions are necessarily new. I graduated in the late 70s, and all those bright shiny math majors found out that there really weren't that many jobs for theoretical math majors, so they did programming, and even some jobs that were at least partly math related, like accounting and actuarial work. Then, there also those that majored in Eng.Lit. and History in a heavy-duty engineering and science school, so they ditched their STEM option even before graduation.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Would you pick a BSEE from Stanford or one from Texas A&M?

Not knowing the quality of the school at Stanford, I would choose the Texas A&M grad. After all none of those Eastern schools seem to shine very brightly in the Western US.
The quality of the grad's has little to do with the quality of the school in what I have seen. There maybe some edge, but it is not a complete advantage.

The problem as I see it is book smart does not always translate into being able to actually make quality decisions.

Also the company culture has a big influence in the employment outcome.

And the grad from down the street, who has lived in this community all his/her life is more likely to stay here.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

GregLocock take a look at grade inflation at Ivy League schools. At most of them (not all) if you can afford the cost and/or make a hefty contribution and/or have stellar grades you will be admitted. But once your in, a high GPA is almost guaranteed, unlike non-Ivy League schools where it's usually a "weed them out", "sink or swim" environment.

H. Bruce Jackson
ElectroMechanical Product Development
UMD 1984
UCF 1993

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I went to a state school and I think the retention rate inside the program was around 40%. The joke was look to your left and look to your right, both those people will graduate with an engineering degree. I have strong misgivings about that. There were a lot of people that were basically shredded by the weed out class, fourier analyses, which is nothing like what most people do on the job. A lot of the shredding felt like it was weeding people out for grad school.

If I were to try to hire on a trait of new hires, it would be the ability to self teach. It doesn't have to be complicated stuff but can you pick up a standard, read it, and actually understand what you read. Or even just dig into a hobby that required them to bootstrap themselves.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Regardless of the grade inflation or not; almost all the top schools have already selected the top 4-5% of high school students. And, the typical of these students have had something like 10 AP classes and, often, full IB diplomate classes, on top of 99% SAT scores.

Someone I know was able to get through the UC Berkeley EECS program in 3 years and with a $100k job offer on the table at the start of their junior year. but, obviously, that's a special case; there are also lots of CS majors still looking for jobs.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Many Ivy L schools graduates are not worth the paper, and not only in engineering, there are there because of the silver spoon and priviledged background. Fair to say some do get good training due to superior resources.

Weeding process should start even before uni/college acceptance. The inflation in number of students, a fact loved by gov and institutions, is detrimental in the long run as many waste their time and money in futile direction.

Factoring the globalisation that drives significant market changes and immigration, it is clear that the individual is a foot soldier who 's faith unknown.

Recently I notice in Australia at least, hundreds of job in engineering and related, advertised by 99% recruiting agencies. I thought wow the market must be hot ,,,, but I doubt I think is rather flat......so I wonder now what the many recruiting agencies are in fact doing ?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"Many Ivy L schools graduates are not worth the paper"

That would be true, in general, of any school you care to pick; unlike Lake Webegone, there is no school where every graduate is above average. Every school has slackers, party hardies, etc. That's not particularly meaningful nor useful. A B+ GPA graduate from UC Berkeley, Caltech, or MIT is still statistically more likely to be a better engineer than a B+ GPA graduate from most schools.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

A B+ GPA graduate from UC Berkeley, Caltech, or MIT is still statistically more likely to be a better engineer than a B+ GPA graduate from most schools.

I'd recommend a statistics refresher. Even adding the Ivys to those schools, you're still talking about a statistically insignificant number of graduates, <1%. You'd also be discounting a major chunk of the total population, not bc they didnt attend one of these schools but bc they werent eligible through no fault of their own. Collegiate grade inflation aside, many of these "top" schools only consider candidates from high schools which unethically inflate student grades beyond a 4.0 on an almost infinite scale, much the same as many colleges do today.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"inflate student grades beyond a 4.0 on an almost infinite scale"

Speaking of statistics, where would I find such as school, since the highest weighted GPA I've seen is 5.0, and I think it would be pretty obvious that something was amiss if a student graduated from high school with even a 6.0, don't you think? And, what is "almost infinite," is it like 3/4 of infinity or higher?

I suggest that you do some research on what you claim grade inflation, when most schools have a rigid formula for what classes get higher GPAs, which are those that represent AP or honors, or IB that impose a greater burden on the student to achieve an A grade, compared to a normal class.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

Would you pick a BSEE from Stanford or one from Texas A&M?

Some of that would depend (I think) on what I was doing. The Stanford guy would probably be good if I was at a R&D firm.....the A&M guy if I was doing more (straight up) design work.

Or would he? I worked with a A&M guy once (who was right out of school)......and he turned a (5 minute) single footing design into a 2 week research project. You never really know what you are getting.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

I suggest that you do some research on what you claim grade inflation, when most schools have a rigid formula for what classes get higher GPAs, which are those that represent AP or honors, or IB that impose a greater burden on the student to achieve an A grade, compared to a normal class.

I've been to more than a dozen state and national school boards' association conventions as my family has long been heavily involved in education, no need to research anything thanks.

Yes, some schools may adjust student grades back to 4.0 when using an extended scale and/or offering extra credit, unfortunately many do not. There is no national standard for K-12 scoring and even state standards are rather rare, the logic being that schools are free to grade as appropriate so long as students are passing standardized testing. In many districts this leads to students having GPAs above 4.0 on a 4.0 scale, with the only real limitation to their score being the amount of inflation the schools offer. The grading scale is indeed "almost infinite." Regarding AP courses and "normal" classes, I wouldnt differentiate the two. ~1/3 of students take and pass AP courses but most students are eligible, and many "top" students' local honors courses today are courses taken through a local university rather than the quasi-college AP offered to the masses.

Circling back to the topic of "top" colleges, as mentioned many of these are proudly open only to those students with unethical, unrealistic scores that don't accurately compare them to their peers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

OK, obviously, your experience is quite different than mine. UC Berkeley has a fixed 4.0 scale for entering freshman and allows only a few extra points for advanced classes. Berkeley's standards pretty drives everything in the state, including the school schedule, now.

A lot of schools boast about "passing" the AP exam, which gets you a 3, and not much else, and even then their statistics show that 40% of their students get less than a 3.

In my local high school, having fewer than 90% of the students getting 5's would be a lousy year. The high school AP Calculus class is tailored to match the state college calculus class, and the student get state college transcript credit for that class.

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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (IRstuff)

even then their statistics show that 40$ of their students get less than a 3.

How many students can you buy for 40 bucks?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

So will there be a shortage of quality engineers?

Is book smart the same as actual ability?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

2
There's already a shortage, it just isn't across every industry. My generation is largely missing from the UK's power industry: the engineers are either gray-haired looking forward to retirement day, or they're relatively recent graduates. There aren't many mid-career engineers in this industry in the 40 - 50 y.o. age range because the denationalisation of the industry 30 years ago resulted in a decade-long gap in recruitment which has never been adequately filled.

The book-smart grads - most of whom who are far better qualified than I am, on paper - struggle because they have nowhere to learn the practical skills needed, and an operational plant doesn't make for a great sandbox for them learn safely. They have little feel for how things work in the real world, and although they are smart enough to recognise this shortfall they just don't have any way of fixing the problem.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I can say the same thing about power engineering text books. The new ones are great in theory, but that does not always work out in the real world.

I'm just waiting to hear the next person ask me if we can measure GIC (1/2 Hz waveform) with our current fleet of relays. Why is the answer not right there for those with electrical backgrounds?

All that for a maybe once in 100 year event.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Reagan Thacher globalization, I sure the middle age generations remember that.....we only ripe the dividents....

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Cranky - I agree. I have a handful of reference books which were published long before I was born, and they are really well written. One of my favourites is a book on protection by Metropolitan-Vickers: it's obviously all old-school stuff but the explanations of how it works are superb. New texts just gloss over the mathematical magic that happens inside a numerical relay. There's a similar set on switchgear - mainly bulk oil gear with some new-fangled air-blast types at transmission voltage. Again, brilliantly written.

spraytechnology - I remember Thatcher's reign all too well. cry

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

If you can make more money in engineering, than teaching, why would anyone bother teaching? There are a few who believe it is a noble thing to do. There are several who can't actually do engineering, so they teach. And likely there are some others.

The point is that not all engineering schools teach practical engineering. And for those who are better suited for lab work, great do that.

The same with text books. The real world requires some understanding, not just theory.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I disagree with that those who can't teach. All of my professors in graduate school were all well qualified and could have easily have had careers in industry. Dr.Mork at Michigan Tech. was with Burns and Mac before pursuing his Ph.D. Dr.Bohmann sits on several energy chairs. Dr.Weaver was with Caterpillar before got tired of the politics. Brian Johnson at University of Idaho could walk away from academia and be hired in as a consulting almost anywhere. They probably all had different motives but I think for the most part they got tired of industry rather than industry got tired of them.

I think what happens more often is that industry doesn't know what to do with someone that constantly wants to see knew stuff and gets tired of repetitive routines. Most of the Ph.Ds I have met in industry were very capable and the worst were being used in ways that didn't play to their strengths. The employer hired the Ph.D so they wouldn't have train them on certain software packages ,for example, but once past the initial training in there wasn't any room to progress.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Things have changed Hamburger- when I went to uni the only profs with meaningful industrial experience were already reaching retirement age- and the new crop of profs were all "publish or perish" academic/researcher types. I've been a volunteer instructor in a course at my alma mater for decades to provide at least a little industrial perspective that the particularly good academic prof teaching that course is entirely missing. I'm confident that this transition has happened elsewhere too.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

JME but most of the college professors I've known with a decent amount of industry experience were those who were teaching after retiring from industry. The rest typically maxed out ~10 years experience with <5 being fairly common bc in many cases they started in industry, went back to school for an advanced degree and stayed to teach. For MEs, teaching usually does involve a slight pay cut vs working but usually involves far fewer hours and also usually offers a fairly nice pension and benefits, so is well worth it to many.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (ScottyUK)

There's already a shortage, it just isn't across every industry. My generation is largely missing from the UK's power industry: the engineers are either gray-haired looking forward to retirement day, or they're relatively recent graduates. There aren't many mid-career engineers in this industry in the 40 - 50 y.o. age range because the denationalisation of the industry 30 years ago resulted in a decade-long gap in recruitment which has never been adequately filled.

I think this depends on the company you work for. I find that most of those missing middle-aged 'engineers' have tended to go down a project management route in the company I work for.

Also, given that most engineers never did work for nationalised industries, your diagnosis for this apparent shortage is highly unlikely to be true. Indeed you'd have to assume that a good chunk just left the industry completely upon privatisation, and we all know that is not what happened: the vast majority were re-employed, often in the newly-privatised companies they were given redundancy payments from; 'same old British Rail', and all that.

Nonetheless, the notion of a shortage of engineers seems to run against the evidently disappointing wages: if there was a shortage, then surely we'd be more in demand and have higher salaries? Or perhaps it's just because we're a male-dominated, fiercely competitive industry in a race to the bottom all of the time? I'm not sure what is depressing wages, but it is depressing and doesn't live up to the promises made pre-university. Sure, the work is interesting, but the wages should be better (at least here in the UK).

If there is a skills shortage then it is likely to be a good thing for those of us left in the industry. However, I don't believe there will be a skills shortage given the drive for automation in engineering - a large number of jobs will not be required in future.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Generation is a niche market, and it's very probably atypical of industry at large. I should have qualified my earlier post as 'power generation' because I don't personally know what the position is on the transmission / distribution side of the industry, although from talking to friends working in our local region it doesn't sound like T&D is radically dissimilar to power generation. Are you with the Grid or one of the DNO's?

You're exactly right that a lot of the guys who left with big redundancy payments in the late 80's and early 90's set themselves up as consultants and were immediately re-employed by their former colleagues who were still on staff. Those one-man-band consultants have no staff of their own to pass on their expertise to, and indeed they have good commercial reason not to do so. The last of those guys are hitting retirement though, and as they do a massive gap in knowledge is opening up between those who are retiring and those who would be replacing them if the industry had some kind of succession planning. The power industry in the UK is dumbing down, and the industry knowledge is becoming concentrated in a few big OEM's based overseas.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It's the same in the US, but we had no massive layoffs. But now we are seeing new people, but not engineers. The new people are compliance people who are telling us that no one ever needs to be in a substation.

I see the problem as the business people see no shortage, where as we see few qualified people. So I am guessing that the large number of unqualified people appear as there is no shortage, while we have open positions for several years because we can't find qualified people.

Sort of a disconnect in the business side and reality. In the end what do you think will happen? Say maybe large outages due to unqualified people doing the power engineering.

But it is correct that 'hard to fill' positions are not paying as well, and that maybe because most of us are not that willing to change employers.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"But it is correct that 'hard to fill' positions are not paying as well, and that maybe because most of us are not that willing to change employers."

There are a lot of things working against power engineering wages. You basically have to move to work for another utility. It is often less of a headache for utilities to just outsource the work. It is difficult to get on a utility's bid list so a large amount of outsourced work is sourced through a very small number of consulting companies. Utilities are regulated. Some consulting companies are only maybe 20% citizen labor. There is a prevailing belief that still carries that power engineering didn't pay well so it shouldn't have to pay well, even in a shortage.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Guys take a look at job descriptions for even the lowest level engineering jobs. They require skills that FEW IF ANY will have. If candidates are honest and pass those positions by because there are "must haves" they don't have, the employer misses out on good people. On the other hand, those that apply anyway are sometimes rewarded even though they don't have all the "must haves". It's par for the course that employers continue to look for something for nothing. They stopped investing in training and now seek to hire only people that were trained by someone else "no assembly required". It's a lot like with security clearances. No one wants to get them for their own people when they can simply hire people who already have them. With time, cleared people will disappear. With time, highly skilled people will disappear.

ElectroMechanical Product Development
UMD 1984
UCF 1993

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Probably what you see are the jobs /description/ads by recruiting agencies. Often the recruting agents 'emself are clueless as what the role and skills are all about as most are not technical people to start with. Maybe they serve a market need but we would bypass them on most instances. Often such perfect jobs do not even exist.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

tunalover makes a good point.

How often does a desperately stretched engineering team feel forced to settle for the least-bad candidate on the basis that any help is better than no help? I've done it - not through choice, but when faced with a shrinking pool of talent to recruit from and a ever-growing backlog of work sometimes you reluctantly accept that an imperfectly filled position is better than an empty seat.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

@ ScottyUK - Does your company have no on-boarding or training procedures? Why would you wait so long for the "perfect" candidate instead of taking the best presented and improving them?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

We at least don't take the best presented candidate, and will wait for a candidate who is acceptable (but not perfect). The problem is the best candidate is not always a trainable fit.
Some that apply simply don't even have a engineering background.

Now mind you I am in the US, and I believe ScottyUK is not. But it is interesting that both of us are in the same industry, and have the same problems, although in different conntries.

The other issue we have is that, at least here, is that it is difficult to bring in someone from another country because of the background check requirements for many of the engineering positions.
And that maybe one of the reasons why their is a shortage in the power industry.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Careful34,

When the best-presented candidate to pick from is still only 30% of what you're looking for, do you still take them and train them? I'm an engineer, not an alchemist, even though sometimes it feels like I'm expected to turn lead into gold.

cranky,

I agree, there's a global shortage of good, experienced power engineers. In the UK the chance to start training the kids with real potential was missed twenty, thirty years ago. They've entered other industries and made good careers for themselves, but in that time they've gained few of the technical skills we need, and it is impossible to set the clock back to repair the damage done to the industry years ago. The true extent of the damage has only started to show in more recent times, too little and too late.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

cranky and scotty

Since the markets are saturated with candidates good and not so good, frankly if you have a need and you really want to recruit someone you will. I know and have seen it before jobs get advertised and go on unfilled, mainly with the large entities, for years. Nevertheless nowadays have companies advertising for openings is another PR brands promotion exercise.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Actually we are doing a little better. We will take a new grad over some of the unqualified applicants, and we have started some intern programs. But most of those new grand and intern's come from a local university which does not have a power program. They are electrical engineers, just with no power background. Internal training is required.

I also have a coworker who is teaching two power classes at the local university, who keeps an eye out for potential hires.

On the other hand, we are small as far as utilities go, but we also have other groups that do things other than electric, so we have a number of civil, chemical, mechanical, and industrial engineers that can fill in some of what was once looked at as electric roles (planning, resources, project management etc.)

We also use retired people for short term fill in's, and consultants.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Cranky,

What do you mean passing on the best presentec candidate?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I said 'best presented candidate'. Many times the applicants that we get for a job are all below the acceptable lower limits for the job. So we don't hire any of them.


RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote (spraytechnology)

Probably what you see are the jobs /description/ads by recruiting agencies. Often the recruting agents 'emself are clueless as what the role and skills are all about as most are not technical people to start with.
No hiring manager in his right mind would hire a recruiter to run "open loop" like that. These job descriptions I see look like "wish lists" written by hiring managers. Are these managers "shooting for the moon" and either good people pass the job by or they get flooded with applicants that know they don't meet the requirements but are just hoping for the best anyway?

My question is who succeeds more, the guy who reads the description and moves on when he sees a "must have" he doesn't have or one of the many who apply anyway? Is there an unwritten rule somewhere that says that hiring managers EXPECT no one will meet all their requirements? If that's the case then I've been playing the game wrong and missed out on many opportunities because I'm honest and believe the hiring managers are really stating their needs!

ElectroMechanical Product Development
(aka Electronic Packaging)
UMD 1984
UCF 1993

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I've been playing the game wrong, too, according to my wife.
Like you, I'm trying to be honest, and not waste anyone's time, and will not bother to apply if I don't have a 'must have'.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

It is only the unsuccessful applicant wasting time, and if applying for many positions wasting lots of time.

Recruiter gets his cut one way or the other the moment he finds a candidate well packaged for the client and the hiring manager is on company time.....

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I got a very good job even though I didn't meet all the bullet pointed requirements in the ad. My application letter covered each bullet point and demonstrated where I met the requirement or how I intended to meet it in the future. Pretty standard stuff really.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Maybe the difference is 1. you are applying for a specific job. 2. you apply to a company for a job.
If you want a specific job, you should meet most of the requirements.
If you want a job, you should meet at least one requirement the company needs.

The problem is often the manager knows what he wants, but has no information of the people market. (Knowing they won't find everything they want).
The personal department knows how to hire in the craft area, but not in the engineering area. (Believing there are 100's of people who qualify for the job).
So the two seem to find a way through the weeds.(With only a few who might qualify, but will not be everything they want).
It's always a tight engineering market.

Few people look for a great job, most look for a great place to live. So why do managers tell you how great a place it is to work, and so little about the community?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

found this on net:....correct and flawed at the same time in my view

"The traditional concept of the profession (the concept that is undergoing change) provides an interesting contrast to the concept of the profit-maximizing business firm. In the business model, the goal is profit maximization in a competitive environment that operates in a basically Darwinian fashion (survival of the fittest); risk is pervasive and both extraordinary profits and devastating losses are real possibilities. Employment and leadership in such an environment attract many and repel many. The people it attracts tend to be aggressive and daring. The ones it repel tend to be cautious and thoughtful.

In the traditional professional model, risk both upside and downside is trimmed by a combination of regulation and ethics both aimed at muting competition. With muted competition the lawyer or doctor can realistically aspire to a safe upper-middle-class income, but he is unlikely to become wealthy. The result, in combination with requiring postgraduate education and qualifying exams for entry into the profession and subjecting members of it to professional discipline, is to attract a type of person quite different from the entrepreneurial type—the latter a type exemplified by such extraordinarily successful college drop-outs as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. The professional model attracts a more studious, intellectual, risk-averse type of person.

Why does society value such persons and create a comfortable niche for them? The answer is that some goods and services involve a degree of complexity that makes it very difficult for consumers to evaluate the quality of the goods and services. Legal services and medical treatment are important examples. Both involve considerable uncertainty (even the best lawyer loses some cases, even the best doctor fails to cure some patients). When a consumer is unable to determine the quality of a product or service, the provider has to be regulated, either directly as in the case of the regulation of the drug industry by the Food and Drug Administration or indirectly as in the professional model, in which the conditions for becoming a member of a profession encourage self-selection by persons likely to be trustworthy, responsible, and ethical because less inclined to cut corners in order to make a killing.

The professional model in law began to wane in the 1970s, with the beginning of the deregulation movement, which loosened restrictions on competition in legal services. The trend continued in subsequent decades, and was marked by an increased spread in earnings within law firms, an increased dispersion in the size of law firms, and increased turnover—in particular, the tendency of successful lawyers to move from firm to firm (taking their clients with them) in quest of higher incomes. Today, law firms closely resemble business firms. I am speaking mainly of law firms that handle corporate business, not of criminal or tort lawyers, who tend to practice by themselves or in small firms."

I fully agree with the idea that engineering consulting has and will continue to evolve from the professional to the business model. The interesting point that Posner raises is, "The professional model attracts a more studious, intellectual, risk-adverse type of person." It will be interesting to see how this type of person changes in the new business model - - with a central focus on profit-maximizing activities in unregulated (or under-regulated) competitive markets. Greater movement toward the business model produces an environment of increased risk. Consulting engineers may not want just a comfortable upper-middle-class income in the future; they may want to be rich; and one reason is the increased risk they face.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

If you want a specific job, you should meet most of the requirements.
If you want a job, you should meet at least one requirement the company needs.

I don't believe I've ever had so much as a phone screen for a position that I didnt meet every requirement and at least several of the preferred qualifications. I've also had recruiters tell me many times both as a job candidate and as a hiring manager that neither they nor their system are allowed to pass along candidates who do not meet every requirement, often this results in positions going unfilled for years.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I have seen people who just want a job apply for every position possible. Likely their skills don't match everyone of those jobs.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Like in any business cut out the middlemen and everyone will be better off.
Hiring managers are likely to get what they are looking for, and yes they need to invest their own time and candidates get closer to their dream job.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Major corporations use screening software - if there is anything in the job description that is not matched on the resume, the software will chuck it and no one will see it. Similarly, if it gets to Joel Spolsky's desk and there is any mismatch, it hits the waste can (see Joel Spolsky's article on hiring and why he is intolerant of people who won't follow directions before he hires them as indicator they won't after he does.)

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

From my brief time on the hiring side perspective:

One of my adventures was with a manufacturing company. We had a modest number of CNC machine tools, and advertised for experienced help.

A really nice guy showed up, with no applicable experience, but a really strong Positive Mental Attitude, a photographic portfolio, a sweet smile, and a sad story about how badly he needed the job. ISTR he was a musician, and maybe a luthier too, but he didn't have enough experience with power tools of any sort to be scared of them.

The shop boss tried him in four jobs; in each, he listened to a briefing, indicated understanding, started off strong, then screwed up and damaged the machine or himself. He lasted most of a month. We were sad to say goodbye, but we feared the next personal injury would be a really bad one. He had not grown up with high forces and stored energy anywhere in his environment, and was not learning to appreciate the risks in ours, despite instruction.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Lately I ve notice recruiting agencies seeking many project controls professionals. (often engineers) . But what surprised me was the stated salaries that seem to be way over generous than what I would say market bears. Just curious if this is a new strategy to canvas resumes with the attractive tag price? By the way I am in Australia.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

spraytechnology,

...Nevertheless I could never understand why in Canada and Australia would be migrants with engineering qualifications would migrate on that basis while clearly most of them will never make it or find a job in engineering. Am I missing something here?

As I recently cleared a migration procedure for skilled engineers which allowed me to move to Canada, I also don't understand this situation (... well I prefer to say I don't...). Paradox here is that, it is more likely for us to find a job in a country where clearing work permit stuffs is considered to be difficult. I kind of experienced having an engineering job with work permit limitation and having unlimited work permit without job, it was either one or the other.

The later situation is the most dangerous as it DIVERT people and push them to undertake any type of survival job or job that is not fit for their qualifications with the risk of staying there for their entire life.

What the local economy gets however is a fully (abroad) educated taxi driver, cooker, security guard - so the upside, if there are any, will be at zero investment cost for sure.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

rotw,,, I will say it as unpleasant it may sound.

Migration in Canada Australia New Zealand is a mega business. It has no migrant best interests at heart. The economy feeds of the large intake drives real estate prices high stimulates demand, consumption but in the globalized world not necessarily creates jobs.

In US if you can clear the visa hurdle very likely you ll get a professional job. In the other countries the professional markets are very small and with a huge oversupply of professional engineers that cleared the visa hurdle, the competition is fierce. Without an anglo degree the chances are slim to get a professional job.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

spraytechnology: I agree with everything you've said, except I'd add that thousands of immigrants DO succeed in finding professional positions in Canada every year. The problem is that 10,000 come every year, which leaves thousands disappointed, leaving, or in survival jobs. The even sadder part is that the thousands who do manage to find work, tend to displace the children of the previous generation of immigrants from entry-level positions that they would ordinarily be destined for. An oversupply marketplace hurts new entrants of both kinds- fresh grads and fresh immigrants both- and the fresh grads are, substantially, the children of the last cohort of immigrants who took survival jobs to provide better opportunities for their children.

We need to get real, in Canada in particular, that the economy is just not capable of creating a cushy white collar job for every kid capable of graduating from university- and changing what courses you teach in university really doesn't and cannot change that fact.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/gdp shows Canada's GDP has fallen about 15% from its 2013 peak, so I'd imagine that compression has to show up somewhere in the employment figures.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

moltenmetal....so what is the solution? the demand from would be immigrants will always be there.

I do like the US systems where the legal migration is heavily regulated, by doing this US keeps a somewhat a balanced economy.

And what professional jobs migrants do find? are career jobs or fill in demand jobs, temporary or contracts? In Australia now many jobs are term or contract, kinda a shift to the gig economy even in engineering.

Since most Universities depend on goverment funding, they should restrict intake lifting standards of entry with a view to future market demand, no point to churn out graduates to jobs that do no exist.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

"I do like the US systems where the legal migration is heavily regulated, by doing this US keeps a somewhat a balanced economy"

Hah! Someone has bought into the newspeak. Our H1B program has almost never been about filling a hiring gap. We used to have a couple of H1Bs at a previous company, and the putative job requisition was curiously written around the exact qualifications of the subjects, even though, much as I liked them, were not particularly stellar as engineers. Moreover, it's only been recently that the State Department decided that the setting a minimum salary was necessary, because the bottom line was that our H1Bs got paid significantly lower than US residents and citizens.

And, one has to wonder whether some of the 50% that opt out of a STEM career do so because they were supplanted by an H1B. Given that starting engineers in Silicon Valley are now routinely getting $100k+ starting salaries, paying even $85k for an equally qualified H1B would seem to be a bargain.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

spraytechnology: the solution for whom?

As far as the government is concerned, the current situation IS a solution...They can't count on real economic growth continuing at the pace it happened in previous decades, so they're trying to plaster over the resulting gap with demographic growth in the hope the population doesn't notice the difference. The population aren't having kids at the rate they once did, so how do you keep the population growing so you can keep the pyramid scam afloat? Allow mass immigration... They're terrified of the country becoming Japan, with an aging workforce which will become a revenue drain rather than a revenue stream for them by means of income taxes, and they see immigration as a way to avoid that.

The real problem, though, is that demographic (population) growth is very different in its economic effects and benefits than real economic growth. Demographic growth does increase economic activity as measured by GDP- the new people at minimum have to pay for food and rent, for instance. However, the GDP growth from demographic growth isn't as efficient at generating wealth as organic economic growth is. GDP is a poor measure of what we really want, because a war or a natural disaster both increase GDP by forcing people to spend money while destroying wealth. So, part of the problem is that we're controlling by using the wrong gauge of success.

If you're asking what the solution is for immigrants to Canada, the answer is simple: let fewer of them come, and tie the immigration of working-age people to the labour force demand for their services. The ones who do come, will do better, because they will no longer be the overflow in a flooded labour market. That's also the solution to reduce the damage being done to our cohort of fresh grads: businesses will hire them and train them, but only if they can't find people who have already been trained at others' expense. There's room, on top of that, for some refuges and asylum seekers who will be grateful to come even if they end up with poor economic attainment as a result. But economic immigration, of working age people whose lives are not under threat in their home countries? It should be done ENTIRELY on the basis of the MEASURED labour market NEEDS of Canada- not the "wants" of its employers, because they will always want more supply so they can pay less for labour. There is no other basis upon which it makes sense to allow economic immigration, especially in a country with the generous social support system that we have here- universal basic health care, free public education (including now at the post-secondary level in some provinces) etc. etc.

Canada's entire labour market policy makes no sense to me whatsoever, and hasn't for decades. It certainly does not, to me, seem to be consistent with Canada's national interest.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Seems to me that by your argument, if there's no demonstrated need, per the GDP, then there should be no immigration, and you would, therefore, be in exactly the same situation as Japan, which is what you supposedly don't want.

The US, on the other hand, depending on who you believe, is either controlling its immigration well, or is being overrun by illegals. Regardless of that, the US GDP is still growing.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

To correct your misperception IRstuff: I'm not against immigration- just against economic immigration that doesn't solve a legitimate labour market purpose. Hundreds of thousands immigrate to Canada every year under other classes- refugees/asylum seekers, family reunification etc., and that's OK with me.

I have no fear of Canada turning into Japan- others fear that far more than I do. Demographic growth for its own sake isn't in the Canadian national interest in my view- our focus should be on real economic growth, and dealing with the consequences that arise from not having it when it isn't happening rather than pretending that it IS happening. Providing that false veneer of demographic growth over the economic growth figures is definitely in the political interest of the people making the decisions about economic immigration numbers.

In the US, AT LEAST you have the H1B visa system. We have no such system here- economic immigration isn't subject to the type of controls you have working in the US, like them or not. And you have more trouble with illegal immigration by far than we do, but we still have a problem with it- something like 600 people crossed the Quebec border from the US illegally in the last week alone, most of them being Haitians seeking asylum in Canada. Doesn't sound like much? Donny was mobilizing the military against a group about that size, last I noticed- and we're 1/10th your population.

http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/more-than-32...

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Sorry, I don't think I was even thinking that deeply about motivations, on anyone's part.

I was struck by a comment I heard on NPR this morning from a person on the verge being of totally homeless, even though he's working multiple jobs nad has an MBA. He asks, "why don't "they" create more jobs?" He, in a nutshell is a poster-child for many of our problems. "They" are some formless, unknown beings who will create jobs where none are needed, and who will build affordable housing where housing prices are so high that even if "they" did build something, the prices would simply get bid up by the people who are higher up on the economic food chain than he is. To that degree, while we have nearly full employment, some of our citizens are clearly worse off than their $100k-debt fueled MBA lives were expected to turn out. And, it's doubly surprising that an MBA, who surely must have come across Econ 101 at some point in his 46 yrs, doesn't understand how economics works, or can't seem to apply his book learning to why his situation is the way it is. Of course, one might be cynically thinking that this disconnect in thinking is probably why he didn't get hired for the MBA-level jobs he applied for when he got his degree.

One of my great disappointments in life was that realization that not everyone is above average, and that the bell-shaped curve is validly applied to certain people who simply don't have the mental horsepower or fortitude needed to succeed, even a little bit. These people continue to live and struggle, believing in the American Dream, but reality puts them far away from that ideal. But we, as a society, seemingly need to have those people lead their lives of quiet, or not so quiet, desperation so that the rest of us can buy that Double-latte, served by a smiling person carrying a $100k debt that secured their now-useless MBA. So, while the US seemingly appears to be soft and rosy, the reality is grimmer and grimier than that casual glance can encompass.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Quote:

so that the rest of us can buy that Double-latte, served by a smiling person carrying a $100k debt that secured their now-useless MBA.

The sad reality is that in years gone past someone like that could've fairly easily stepped into an unskilled or low-skilled labor position as their fallback and survived if not prospered. Depending on where he lives however that's often nearly impossible in the US today so the choice is serving coffee, fries, or Walmart.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

If that person is "on the verge being of totally homeless", let's not add insult to injury by badmouthing them, pointing out for instance to their lack of aptitudes. Just a personal perspective. Speculating why they did not get hired due to their "thinking disconnect" is literally and cynically disgusting.

This was a comment aside.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

IRstuff: great post.

Like I said, the problem is that we're collectively feeding people the lie that there's a nice, cushy white-collar job waiting for you if you can just get through that bachelor's level engineering degree, MBA, or what have you. They're believing what they're being sold, and then being disappointed when it doesn't come true. It's not their fault- it's the fault of the dishonest people who are peddling false hope to them. Then we rub salt into the wound by telling them that if (for about half of them it's more properly "when") they fail, it's all their fault- they chose the wrong program, or the wrong discipline, or the wrong region of the country, or the wrong industry etc. etc.- just look at all those businesses claiming that they have jobs going unfilled because they can't find qualified candidates! Look at those jobs at Google and Facebook etc. paying all those big bucks!

The comfortable lie is preferable to the truth in this case, to both the liar and the gullible believer- for a while, until economic reality catches up with them personally. False hope is preferable to despair. Unfortunately, until a problem is acknowledged as existing, it cannot be analyzed and real solutions cannot be implemented.

That anyone 40+ yrs old with any kind of post-graduate level education (if an MBA qualifies as education) would be capable of, without irony, expecting that there's a "them" out there who COULD make a job for them, but chooses not to in some kind of economic fit of pique against people like him/her, is pretty tough to imagine. That said, my experience with people grows daily, and regrettably teaches me repeatedly that people can usually be counted on to challenge your minimum expectations. Fortunately I'm smart enough to realize that I need to constantly recalibrate my minimum expectations as a result, rather than grinding myself up over being disappointed by people not meeting my imagined standards.



RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

CWB1: also dead right. If I were to lose my job and seek one at the local Tim Hortons coffee shop, I would be out-competed for that position by Phillipine guest workers who are sending all their money home to help their poor relatives. Hey- they likely therefore need that job way more than I do, so I guess from a global perspective it's all fine- but looking at it from the position of Canadian national interest? Not so much, in my opinion. Not only have we exported many opportunities at the bottom of the labour market (retail and service industry jobs like working at Timmies) such that 3/4 of the jobs high school kids might have taken as an entry into the experience of working for a living, but the money being generated from that labour isn't even circulating locally any more- it's going out of country in a Western Union money transfer.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Yes people are being replaced by machines, and we are exporting those machines. So it makes since that there is a need to import job seekers, as the global demand for low IQ jobs dries up.

It's a global economy, that gets smaller every day.

Cheaper and faster seems to be the business cry.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Reading the news in Australia. Current intake of migrants is at 190000 and subject to hot debate as it puts lots of demand on the infrastructure in particular in Sydney and Melbourne leading to a substantial drop in standards of living,i.e. commute, congestion, pollution, cost of living etc.....

What puzzled I was the long list of occupations listed with the Immigration Dept and approved by Engineers Australia. Many migrants pass the visa hurdle within many of the listed professions but can tell for sure there are no jobs listed in the open markets for some of the disciplines, maybe in the hidden market but doubt it.

sample below

Ship's engineer 231212 AMSA
Ship's master 231213 AMSA
Ship's officer 231214 AMSA
Architect 232111 AACA
Landscape architect 232112 VETASSESS
Cartographer 232213 VETASSESS
Other Spatial Scientist 232214 VETASSESS
Surveyor 232212 SSSI
Chemical engineer 233111 Engineers Australia
Materials engineer 233112 Engineers Australia
Civil engineer 233211 Engineers Australia
Geotechnical engineer 233212 Engineers Australia
Quantity surveyor 233213 AIQS
Structural engineer 233214 Engineers Australia
Transport engineer 233215 Engineers Australia
Electrical engineer 233311 Engineers Australia
Electronics engineer 233411 Engineers Australia
Industrial engineer 233511 Engineers Australia
Mechanical engineer 233512 Engineers Australia
Production or plant engineer 233513 Engineers Australia
Mining engineer (excluding petroleum) 233611 Engineers Australia
Petroleum engineer 233612 Engineers Australia
Aeronautical engineer 233911 Engineers Australia
Agricultural engineer 233912 Engineers Australia
Biomedical engineer 233913 Engineers Australia
Engineering technologist 233914 Engineers Australia
Environmental engineer 233915 Engineers Australia
Naval architect 233916 Engineers Australia
Agricultural consultant 234111 VETASSESS
Agricultural scientist 234112 VETASSESS
Forester 234113 VETASSESS
Medical laboratory scientist 234611 AIMS
Veterinarian 234711 AVBC
Metallurgist 234912

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

If I use an average of $700 AU for the assessment fee that these organizations require, that comes out to $14M AU for the lot, so a not insubstantial monetary incentive to bring migrants in.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Its $133M dollars by the way. But I hope this was ironic.
Each is going to bring at least 20/30 k dollars per year (and believe me spend almost of it).
e.g. in Canada, you are required to bring (justify) about 20k per year to pass the border officer during the landing.
$30000 x 0.19 M = $5.7 billion. I am pretty sure, a good portion of it is going to form the next generation of highly educated waitress. A certain portion, will land a qualified job. I hope I speak out of frustration and my view is biased...and that all this is not a massive scam.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

From today s paper in The AGE, some key paragraphs......

790000 are listed as out of work, how many more do not show up in this number, aka being on other benefits or not entitled...I assume is double the number...

""""That's very good news but it hasn’t made much difference to the unemployment rate. The latest figures put the rate at 5.6 per cent, exactly what it was six months ago.

So what’s going on? The Reserve Bank puts it this way: employment growth has been “strong enough to absorb growth in the working-age population, although not high enough to reduce the unemployment rate further”."""

""" When you have a growing population like ours you need be hitting record levels all the time just to keep up – that goes for jobs as well as spending on things like infrastructure and social services."""

"hese days, politicians don’t talk much about unemployment.

When I searched the flurry of transcripts for media interviews and speeches done by Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten so far this month the words "unemployment" or “unemployed” never appeared.

And it's not just politicians – journalists don’t often ask about unemployment.

Somehow those 730,000 Australians without a job seem to have slipped down the political agenda.

That’s a pity because there are some worrying trends buried in the unemployment numbers.

The latest trend figures showed 94,000 Australians have been out of work for two years or more, the highest in 18 years.

Also, there has been a sustained rise in the share of jobless Australians who are experiencing long-term unemployment – those who are out of work for 12 months or more.

In early 2009, just before the economy felt the effects of the global financial crisis, one in eight jobless Australians had been unemployed for a year or more. Now that share has risen to about one in every four.

There’s significant human cost behind these statistics because unemployment is much more than an economic issue.

Many studies have drawn attention to the misery and unhappiness associated with being out of work.

Long-term unemployment is especially damaging.

The Fairfax-Lateral Economics Wellbeing Index estimates the economic cost of long-term unemployment was $13.6 billion last year.

Even so, these thorny challenges exposed each month in our official jobs figures rarely figure in political debate.

With global growth the strongest it has been in sometime Australia is lagging many advanced country counterparts when it comes to unemployment.

The United States (4.1 per cent) Britain (4.3), New Zealand (4.5) and Germany (3.6) all have unemployment rates well below ours.

We know the Australian economy can produce much lower rates of unemployment.

The trend rate of unemployment was 4.5 per cent or lower for most of 2007 and 2008, prior to the global financial crisis.

One key figure who does still talk a lot about unemployment is the Reserve Bank Governor, Philip Lowe. One of the bank’s mandates is “the maintenance of full employment in Australia.”"""

“Immigration is a no-brainer, you know that it is not a problem when the unemployment rate is continuing to trend down," he said.

Employment rose every month in a calendar year for the first time in four decades in 2017 after the economy added almost 400,000 jobs.

NSW finished the year on the precipice of the natural rate of unemployment at 4.8 per cent while Victoria hit 6.1 per cent.

There are only two Labor-held areas identified by the report as having up to 70 per cent population growth owing to immigration, they belong to Anthony Albanese in Sydney’s inner-west and Julie Owens in Parramatta.

Immigrants consume less in government services than they pay in tax, making the federal government billions over their lifetimes, a landmark Treasury analysis has found, even when their expensive final years of life are taken into account.

But the research, published by Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs, has come under fire from some population experts who believe it glosses over the link between migration and higher home prices, congestion, and strain on the environment.

The landmark study found in total, permanent skilled migrants deliver the federal government a profit of $6.9 billion over their lifetimes, temporary skilled migrants a profit of $3.9 billion, and family stream migrants $1.6 billion.


RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

I think that 100% employment is theoretically, economically, and practically impossible and possibly undesirable. With 0% unemployment, the supply curve is inelastic, and this results in essentially infinite wages, which is impractical and bad for the economy, in general. Given that we have not had, for centuries now, non-specialized jobs, matching skills to available jobs is continually moving target and not practically achievable.

What we, as a society do with those that cannot fit into the economy is something that likely needs to be outside of the supply/demand environment of the jobs market. Just as there those that refuse to be law-abiding citizens, there are going to those that won't, or can't, ever fit into the jobs market. Whether they need to, or should, be put on welfare or something else is societal problem.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Surely the real question in Oz is what proportion of talented qualified engineers (as opposed to people with rather hopeless engineering degrees and undue optimism) are out of work? In 30 years the company i worked for, and indeed the entire sector, has stopped manufacturing cars, yet of the rather large number of engineers who have perforce had to work elsewhere, in my experience very few have actually stopped working as engineers, except those who retired. Anecdote is not data but it seems odd that so many of my friends and colleagues have found work as engineers outside the car industry, if there is in fact a glut of qualified talented engineers.

For heaven's sake, my department was 25% understaffed for years, not for want of trying to recruit. I am glad to say that they've just restarted a graduate recruitment program.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

spraytechnology, my graduate advisor required us to read the WSJ, track the economy, track government actions, etc. One thing he emphasized repeatedly was revision of definitions regarding the economy, by the feds, to make things appear better than they are. A fellow EE posted something on FB several years ago about unemployment stats, which prompted me to do some digging. When I looked at the same numbers using older definitions, my numbers were in depression range. His were in severe recession range. I've not looked at anything since but be aware of changing definitions.

Companies always want everything for nothing. Employees are not charities and companies sitting on billions in cash should be the last to view employees as charities.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Greg Locock....the argument was around migration and the oversupply of engineers in local markets....

I would expect that a local groomed engineer with local experience would have no mobility issues in the Australian market even when they switch fields.

The issue is more to do with new graduates and foreign trained engineers that flood the market. Their chances to land a proper career role is less attainable and no doubt and regardless of what Engineers Australia say, there is a huge mismatch between demand and supply.

RE: A coming engineering shortage ? ---- Who agrees ?

Yup, the demand for non experienced fresh graduates with no demonstrable engineering skills and degrees that bear little resemblance to the education 'we' had, coupled with problematic spoken English at best, is not especially large.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

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