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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 ?

6
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 ?

3
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 ?

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 ?

2
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 ?

5
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.

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 ?

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.

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 ?

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.

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