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Why do people give up engineering?
7

Why do people give up engineering?

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

It would be interesting if the pollsters would have correlated engineering aptitude with career longevity.  I sometimes think that there is too much emphasis on being inclusive at the expense of encouraging talented individuals to enter the engineering trade.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

I believe there's longevity on engineering, because as long as you can see and can sign you can be an engineer.

although sometimes i wish i am a man, because of the fact that most of engineering job (in some places) prefer male. Maybe because of the danger that will happen since most of the jobs right now is in the "danger zone" for females.

Although the article is partly correct since some of engineers (at least in our country) prefer to go to the other industry because of the greater financial needs. I met a civil engineer whose in call center industry because of salary issues. Others tends to go to other profession since there's a lot of job opportunity there.

But for me, engineering is a rewarding job. You are not a doctor that treats people but you save more people than any profession in the world

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. engineers creates wonderful buildings, but only God can creates wonderful minds

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

A very good and interesting article.

As to "longevity", in Canada the majority of engineering grads and engineering immigrants leave the profession immediately upon graduation or immigration- their longevity is zero, as they never enter the profession.  The numbers are profound, with the 2006 census reporting that less than 1/3 of people with engineering degrees were working in "engineering jobs", including related jobs such as engineering management.

The reason is simple: we train and permit the immigration of vastly more engineers than our economy could possibly use.

Why do we do that?  In my view, it's because there's a non-sequitur argument prevalent in the governmental and academic sectors in our country:  since engineers are important to technological innovation and economic prosperity, dumping more engineers onto the job market will generate more innovation and prosperity.  These people are convinced that it's still the 1950s and engineers are actually in short supply.  When the profession is unable to retain 2/3 of its potential candidate pool, one thing is absolutely clear:  there is no shortage of engineers here.  Under those circumstances, recruiting ANYONE into the profession makes very little sense.  

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Personally, I do not know anyone that has left engineering for any reason, other than maternity leave or because it was the first step in launching their career.  The article mentions stepping stone.

It takes a lot of time and effort, both in school, and on the job, to simply move onto something else.  Granted, sometimes things pop up in life that may come into play, but to willingly leave engineering is something I cannot grasp.  Sure, you may hate it, but so do most people I work with.  Doesn't mean you up and leave a chosen career.  I have thought about it, but it was always to advance myself and use my engineering background a a stepping stone.

I guess it is possible, but the numbers in the article are a little far fetched imo.  I have to agree that maybe they were never an engineer to begin with, hit by a poor economy, or simply moved into management and they are possible not included.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

cksh, i think you are right on "they are not engineers to begin with" I've met some of them who just chose engineering because they dont know what to choose in college. They just "go with the flow". If you really have passion for your profession, you will really stay on it.

but in some places, engineers are pushed to change because there's a lot of competition in their job. And it hurtful that sometimes you are competing with non-engineers (or engineers with different field) in you job. Some of software or computer programs designed to help engineers (i.e. ETABS,STAAD,CAD)  are now can be studied by non engineers and they can do the job too. Some of the companies would like to hire these people because they have a lower salary than engineers. I don't mean to be "mean" with other profession but this is what i see right now. The division of labor is not followed that much.

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. engineers creates wonderful buildings, but only God can creates wonderful minds

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Has anyone looked at that some people may leave engineering because of job burnout? This is a real possibility.

Another problem is some people just are not cutout for it.

And my field, gaining experence isen't easy, and very few companies are willing to train people.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that a fair few people do the engineering degree and get a proper job instead. I can understand that. So you have to be a bit careful when looking at the stats.



 

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: Why do people give up engineering?

3
In my experience, many engineering undergraduates were wooed by the financial and management consulting companies during the milk round.  Kind of strange to see so many of these parasitic companies at the career's fair of a science & technology college.

- Steve

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

(OP)
SomptingGuy, perhaps taste of carrot is better than the milk!

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

I'd say when I was at uni we had as many if not more presentations etc by the accounting, management consulting etc. firms than serious engineering ones.

On my Aero course, many people were there not because they particularly wanted to be engineers, or had a passion for aerospace etc. but because they were good at math & physics and aero was considered one of the more difficult options.  I was never quite clear if they wanted the challange or if their parents/career advisors or whatever wanted to challenge them.  Either way, I suspect many of them were never going to go into engineering.

I'd guess at least half of the folks I kept in touch with didn't go into engineering but into IT or consulting etc.

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: Why do people give up engineering?

Confession time.

We did a careers test at the age of about 16.  Mine came out with "mathematician", "engineer", or "scientist".  I had no idea what a mathematician or a scientist actually did 9-5 and not much more about engineers - thought it might involve being in the air force, fixing planes or something.

The love of maths and physics led me into applying for an engineering degree (seemed the thing to do).  Likewise getting sponsored seemed sensible (very difficult & stressful though).  When we started the induction course, one of the first questions the training manager asked us was "so ... what do engineers actually do?"  After a bit of an embarassing silence, one guy offered "solve problems?".  That's when the penny dropped for me.
 

- Steve

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

(OP)
Steve, your confession gave me pleasure in deep.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

@Cranky108.

"Has anyone looked at that some people may leave engineering because of job burnout? This is a real possibility"

Ha takes me back to a project that I worked on ten years ago. Two Suicides and two heart attacks in two years. Life's too short for that kind of pressure...  

www.priamengineering.co.uk

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Well Sompting, I guess you were the Wheat in the Chaffwinky smile

I just wonder if some folks that are moderately intelligent, and have a real interest in engineering/being an engineer, don't get to study it because the grade requirements are pushed up/places taken but the 'good at math & physics' brigade that have no real interest in engineering.

Although, maybe that's the chip on my shoulder talking.

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: Why do people give up engineering?

well I think that if your intelligent enough to get into engineering you should do something else that will pay better (at least in the uk). Unless of course you have a mad love of engineering. I would guess one could love anything if your good at it.  

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

I knew people who got their P.E. and right after getting their stamp they went into some completely opposite field.  I was curious about going to Law School after graduating and was told that a lot of the better lawyers were former engineers.  My investment banker friend said engineers would make good bankers.  I sense a pattern here.

I could also see some people getting sick of working long hours, constantly using their brain, the stress, being yelled at and blamed for who knows what, and then thinking wow I could go make 3x as much doing an easier job.  Problem solved!

Civil Development Group, LLC
Los Angeles Civil Engineering specializing in Hillside Grading
http://civildevelopmentgroup.com
http://civildevelopmentgroup.com/blog

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Well there's always the dark side (Managment), which pays better. And I see a lot of that here.
However with the shortage of experenced people, the pay is increasing some for experence.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Brandon made the comment "I could also see some people getting sick of working long hours, constantly using their brain, the stress, being yelled at and blamed for who knows what, and then thinking wow I could go make 3x as much doing an easier job.  Problem solved!"

I'm leaving the architecture profession for civil engineering to major in structures. I enjoy the technical side of structures better than the art. However, I have heard this argument that civil engineers do not get paid enough. As an architectural intern, it can be very difficult to make any good money. Most start out with a 30,000-40,000 salary. The hours and stress from what I've scene are much more severe than in civil engineering. Making this change into civil engineering includes my desire to enter a profession that pays better, has less stress and better hours.

If you know of a job that is similar, easier and pays 3x, please tell me what this dream job is ?

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

@ jewelleeanna, im agree with you 100%

they said, sometimes we must not focus on art more because taste is always susceptible to change. We must value safety and technicalities  

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. engineers creates wonderful buildings, but only God can creates wonderful minds

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Jewelleeanna:  I will be easy on this.  Architects can get paid way more than engineers, depends on what your focus is.  I recently found out a friend (not licensed arch), wasn't making even close to me while we were working.  But I have a BS while he has a BA.  I still think this is a huge difference.  Don't get me wrong I am still considering to take Arch courses so I can get their point of view on the engineering side of things.  But art courses compared to science courses are pretty different.

3X money making job?  Investment bankers.  Umm that job would have paid me way more for less work and less use of my brain.  My IB friend who makes a killing even mentioned this as well.  I was working 80+ hour weeks at one of my last jobs.  Currently with my business, I won't be happy until I am working 15 hour days, 6 days a week.

But I like engineering quite a bit, and not in this for the money.  So you can click my link and see I took my brain a step further and started my own Civil Engr. company.

I know some extremely smart mechanical engineers who got their kicks racing their cars in the canyons after work.  Which was around 11pm.

Civil Development Group, LLC
Los Angeles Civil Engineering specializing in Hillside Grading
http://civildevelopmentgroup.com
http://civildevelopmentgroup.com/blog

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

brandoncdg: I found your message to be a little confusing though you said you would "be easy on this." You say architects make way more than engineers but it also depends on your focus. Also your friend made less than you since your friend had a BA

In my experience I have found that in general most engineers do make more money than architects. However, if architecture was making me millions, I don't think it is the profession for me anyways.  

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

From my experience in over 40 years in engineering, most of the engineers who left did so involuntarily. Their positions were eliminated and thus they were forced to find employment in other fields.      

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Not clear whether they consider promotion to manager level a transition out of engineering?  Some places they say they do include engineering managers in the survey, other places it seems clear they don't.  

In my experience, most companies' career paths dead end pretty quickly in the Engineering Dept, Management is the ultimate goal.


 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Hmm, my immediate cronies, of which 4 of us did mech eng, one did elec eng and one materials science (our equivalent of "switching to PPE").

One engineer
Two accountants
One book publisher
One "project manager"
One retired (!) lawyer

- Steve

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

I've always wanted to leave but never had the courage to, and being fortunate enough to be employed in engineering work since graduating has also made it difficult.

It just seems like there's easier ways to make a good living and if your passion isn't engineering, it only makes sense to pursue those other options. It is certainly not a glamorous profession.

I'm getting worried that I may get stuck in the profession forever as the older I'm getting (I just turned 30), it's becoming increasingly harder to leave.

Oh well.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Quote:

I'm getting worried that I may get stuck in the profession forever as the older I'm getting (I just turned 30), it's becoming increasingly harder to leave.

You're out of school only what? 6 or 8 years, and tired of it already?  Why did you become an engineer in the first place?  Are you going to go back for another 4 yrs of school to try something else for 8 yrs?!
 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

It is a thankless job and certainly not how portrayed to me before I started.


We make ok money (but not as much as a good real estate agent), but are hired reluctantly by customers that do not appreciate the solutions and are tardy to pay, because when a good solution is delivered, "everyone knew that".
 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Why do people give up engineering?
 
Because they can!
Because the pay doesn't reflect their level of training and qualifications! Because they don't get enough recognition from employers or society!
Because there is almost no job security.
Because they are young enough to change careers.
 
There are some good things about being an engineer if money is not important to you. Fred Dibnah is a perfect example of someone who loved engineering and had no interest in money.



 

Chris
www.value-design-consulting.co.uk

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Lots of replies but I'll toss in my 2 cents.

I'm a young ME, and if I can't find work that allows for flexible time (work/life balance) and interesting problems to work on I'll leave for another field soon.

I think if you ask people my age (mid 20's) in the field, money is not priority one, its can I live a full-life outside the office, work on interesting things in the office and have responsibilities commensurate to what I feel my abilities are.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

You want to work on interesting things and have some time to live a life go to grad school.  

peace
Fe

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

2
'and have responsibilities commensurate to what I feel my abilities are.'

The reality is that what you think your abilities are often don't match what your superiors believe your abilities are.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Why do people give up engineering?  Back in the recent boom years, it was hard watching developers put a contract on a piece of land, hire a civil for a small percentage to do the layout for the development and then sell the development for a huge sum.  The engineers typically did most of the work and many eventually realized that they could be doing the development and making the big bucks rather than some glorified real estate agent.  The same went for homebuilding, commercial development, even grading contracting.  I know of several engineers who went that route because the rewards at the time were far greater than you could find in engineering.  Unfortunately, after the bust, many of these engineers were in bankruptcy court along with all of the other builders, contractors,and developers who had sorely overextended themselves.  Many are now trying to get back into engineering.  But when the construction industry revives, I'm sure I will see many engineers follow the path to greater wealth and easier work.  I was tempted many times myself, but at least I kept to a field where I still have a job.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

10 years ago when I graduated from college many of the people I knew who majored in engineering never had any intention of working as an engineer.  They figured an engineering degree would make them more marketable in investment banking, etc.  

As for me, I didn't care much about money.  Since I was good in math and science, everyone said that I should do engineering.  Now I realize that math and science isn't that interesting anymore when you do it all day.  It's not fun and interesting like the Discovery Channel but efficient and mundane like an assembly line.

As for money, I realize that to some extent, I do care.  It's pretty depressing when I realize that out of the 10 years I've been working, the only year my raise kept up with inflation was last year when inflation was negative.
 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

negative inflation=>lol. science will always be interesting when you apply it to different problems.  

peace
Fe

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Why do people give up?
I firmly believe that the third who stay in the profession after graduation/diploma were probably the only third on the course who REALLY wanted to be an engineer. Most of my ex lecturers said they doubted a third of any year's intake were cut out for engineering. They had just stopped at "E" on the A to Z of careers.
If any of you have ever had the "joy" of interviewing other people to be engineers where you work, it is patently obvious which ones are real engineers and which aren't, and this is with candidates with a few years experience, and a good relevant degree under their belt.
I know the money of management is attractive, but the best advice I was ever given was "never say goodbye to the technology".
 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

I've not really followed this thread. But let's contrast 'The Banks' and 'BP' (BRITSH Petroleum according to the US president).

In one case you get re-capitalised by the state, and you keep or quickly re-instate your bonus. In the other case you are berated and it costs you and your bosses (share-holders) a great deal of money. But you fix the problem at great expense to your company.

One business deals in money tokens, where workers, directors etc. are well rewarded. The other business deals in real wealth.

What do you choose?

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

I would also say people and culture play a big role, and its some engineer specific traits. I worked in Automotive in Detroit and the people are why I left. It was a 100% car-guy mentality. While I never had any problems with co-workers, their close mindedness on issues such as dealing with managers, new products (especially "green" products) and things like culture and the arts ultimately made me decide to at least try and find work in a place where traditionalism wasn't placed on such a high pedestal. Again, always got along with them, but couldn't help but feel my ideas, which really didn't even go too far against the grain, would not be valued.
 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

As one that left Engineering for Management, my personal reason was the lack of respect shown Engineering in the US.

If you want respect at least here, you had better be a Ball Player, a CEO, heck, a stinking ACCOUNTANT.

I figured if I was going anywhere, I might as well make it pay.
So, when the chance came, I took Management.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

When I left university 15 years ago there was a high number of the home students went in to accountancy, law and programming.  They used engineering as a stepping stone and like many other have said never wanted to be an engineer.  That side of it doesn't really concern me too much.

I find it more concerning that many young graduates are simply chasing the money so move over in to trading and banking after a couple of years as it's easier to make lots of money sooner.  I've also noticed that good engineers with 5-10 years experience often move over to projects then head down the project management route.

Perhaps I'm just lucky but I've got a part time engineering job that perfectly suits me at the moment.  It takes flexibility on both sides to achieve this not just the employer.  If I'd gone down the management or projects route I couldn't have the working pattern that I have now and I don't think I would enjoy my job as much.  I'd have earned more moeny though and had a higher status.

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

Anyway being upbeat about it all - I firmly believe that real engineering is due a monumental renaissance, for the following reasons.
Whether we like it or not, oil, gas and coal are all running out, and for us in the UK, running out a lot faster than people give it credit for. I heard 2020 for North Sea gas no longer being commercially viable. There is just 40 years supply of commercially available oil left in Saudi. No doubt a few advances in technology and deeper drilling/better processing will increase these numbers, but they aren't going to change THAT much. This is irrespective of any climate change requirement, that's a topic for another day. Of course in Europe we could all just let Russia provide our oil and gas, but for how long and what cost?
This means that new technology for energy extraction (?) is required all the time, across all fields, hydro, tidal, wind, wave, solar, nuclear and anything else you care to put on the list. This means a MASSIVE investment in engineering of one kind or another.
The demise of oil means a complete change in the way we live our lives. Take for example how the food chain works for most of us today. The demand for food is only going one way, population growth sees to that. Ergo - The farmer is required to grow food.
•    He orders the grain from his PC = electrical energy,
•    The grain is delivered = diesel = oil
•    He plants the grain with his tractor = diesel = oil
•    He uses herbicides/pesticides – oil is the feed stock
•    The food is dug up = diesel = oil
•    It is packaged = plastics = oil
•    It is transported to a warehouse  = diesel = oil
•    It is kept in a chilled environment = electrical energy
•    Transported to the supermarket  = diesel = oil
•    Maintained at the supermarket, and lit etc...  = electrical energy
•    We go and buy it  = diesel = oil
•    Its bought home and put in a container = plastics = oil
•    It's stored in the refrigerator = electrical energy
•    The fridge is made from plastics, and covered in paint = plastics = oil
•    And people have to be transported, clothed, fed and watered and lit to enable all of the above = even more oil.
You can keep adding on more and more lines to this chain of events, waste handling, recycling packaging, even sewage processing!
Now take oil away from the above, and ask yourself who is going to create a way to make this happen in the future. It's not going to be some numpty sat in a bank, that's for sure. I can assure you, the creative problem solvers (in the main = us!!) are going to be very, very busy.
 

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

hoyle - Don't count on (or worry about) population growth. Now that the only child has been shown not to be a bad thing, (Time July 19, 2010), Europe and Japan are worried about declining population and the US is likely just a few decades behind.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

RE: Why do people give up engineering?

hoyle,

don't forget the stuffed wallets (political influence) of the big oil company's.

When production goes down, prices will go up (as demant is still there, like you elaborately pointed out). So why would this be a bad thing for the big oil guy's? and why would they not lobbying against alternatives i ask?

These "energy things" are not that simply i believe.

 

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