AAA Drafting Blog

A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Western Engineers - On the endangered species list

According to a report in the December 2006 issue of the International Fluid Power Society newsletter:

- Less than 6 percent of high school seniors in the US plan to pursue engineering degrees. This is down 36 percent from ten years ago.- In 2000, 56 percent of China's undergraduate degrees were in the hard sciences. In the US the figure was 17 percent.

- In 2007, China will produce six times more engineers than the US. While Japan, with half the population of the USA, has produced double the engineers in recent years.

- If these trends continue, 90 percent of the world's engineers will be living in Asia by 2010.

In 2008 this shows no sign of slowing down. So long as Indian and Chinese Engineers work for a fraction of the salaries that their US counterparts command, there will be a steady stream of US corporations eager to outsource their "costly" engineering departments.

There are already Chinese and Indian companies established in the USA and Canada, set up to feed their own workforces in China and India. Work in the USA and Canada is so prized that many qualified overseas engineers will work for free for a few months to get a foot in the door. There are even local government programs that encourage this.

Now there will always be a need for Engineers and Technologists in the west to handle local assignments. Sometimes theres no substitute for being there. But an ever growing portion of tasks the can be handled offsite, in another country, will be.

A free market economy is supposed to be good for all. Have we conciously made the decision that low prices for machinery and other goods is worth trading our engineering intellectual capital for ?

It gets worse when it comes to fluid power.The same study found 95 percent of all Mechanical Engineeringgrads in the US have not been exposed to fluid power.And the situation is similar here in Australia,at both degree and trade level.So is this a threat or an opportunity?I say it's both. If you're someone who hiresfluid power expertise - it's gonna get harder to find.And the law of supply and demand suggestsyou'll pay more for it.If you're a mechanic, fitter, technician or engineerit's an opportunity:Pursue fluid power as a specialization and you'll haveas much work and as many job options as you can handle.


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