Electronics companies are doing a lousy job of making engineers feel engaged.
That’s the top-line take-away from the job-satisfaction survey you participated in the past week on EE Life.
Trust issues with management
Tend not to feel a part of a
given company and
Believe strongly that there are not sufficient career
opportunities at their companies.
Only one in three of the more than 800 respondents to the online survey agreed with the statement "I trust the leadership of my company." Those who strongly agreed in the leadership were in the single digits (chart below). In fact, twice as many people strongly disagreed with that sentiment than strongly agreed. Wrote one respondent:
"Cronyism, politics, and favoritism kills moral in the work place. In addition, if management can become so risk adverse that innovation is stymied."
I trust the leadership of my company
leadership of my division or team
being “straight” (honest, direct) with me
being “straight” (honest, direct) with themselves
Wrote another respondent:
"10 years at a small start-up. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to say "start-up" after 10 years ... but:
10 years - Second longest serving employee
10 years - 8 Presidents
10 years - 10 VPs of Engineering
10 years - Never made a profit
10 years - Company valued between $1 and $200M over the years.
Shoot Me ... !
Puuuhlease, just Shoot Me ... !"
But amid the skepticism and cynicism, another number jumped out: Nearly 40 percent of
respondents are ambivalent about the question "I believe my company has
an outstanding future." One in three agree with that statement while the
rest (a little more than one in four) disagree.
MHK: That's a great insight. My question to you is what criteria do you use to judge those direct managers? Usually they don't have as public a presence as the CEO or COO and it can be hard to judge their impact.
What types of questions do you ask them to determine whether they'll be a good fit for you?
From my experience, I’d prefer to look into who is a direct above management level. How each of CEO or Director is doing is not directly relevant to my career goal, because my intended stay with one company won’t expect to be a permanent one. The last time an employment statement with a permanent employee statement without “… company can terminate you with or without a cause….” was with Digital Equipment Corporation. That was the end of such an era. I love them, and I miss Olsen. Once HP shred DEC in 2004, I look for a better direct management rather than looking at CEO or director.
They use me, as they needs. I use them as I need. That is a fair trade.
To Quickbadger, ThermalHunter and TFC-SD, if I understood your thread requests, I've sent you copies (via email) of the "tripping image" we used for this piece. If you wanted something let me know and thanks for asking!!
Maybe there are so few healthy corporate cultures because there are so few corporations with healthy purposes. Most corporations are in the business of selling people things they don't need, or of enabling other corporations to do so. Philip Morris, Coca-Cola, Nintendo, Nokia, Gucci, it's all the same story. There's no healthy way to sell Jack his magic beans.
Wow. Wonderfully eloquent and thoughtful comments.
A few responses from my pointy little head:
On VestigialNocron's comments on optimism v. pessimism.... I think it's not so much a Baby Boomer issue as a normal part of every generation's growth pattern. When you're young, you start out with endless possibilities. As you age, you experience a number of small and large dream-shatterings and you can become cynical and pessimistic. Then we tend to view the future through this lens. But we never predict positive outcomes because we tend to expect worst-case scenaria (probably a survival-mode thing). Yet positive outcomes probably happen as much as negative outcomes. It takes as much energy to be optimistic as it does to be pessimistic (probably less energy actually), so why not default to the former?
I second LiketoBike on not pitting older v. younger EEs against each other.
On the many cultural comments of management v. engineering, there are companies that appear to try to address this with Fellow programs. I have no insight into whether these programs do more than treat a couple of eminences grise with respect or are really an excellent career track (as LiketoBike suggests) for many engineers.
We all work in organizations where there are somewhat competing interests internally. Maybe the best workplaces are those in which management forces you to carve out time to do you own thing (a la Google with its 10 percent rule).
The really disturbing thing to me is that we have been studying corporate cultures for more than a hundred years and no one seems to have the right answer. Only a handful of companies are every held up as paragons of corporate culture (the old HP and the old IBM for example).
Sure, I'll comment :-)
It is not "old = good". There are actually two axes that intersect: the old-young axis and the good-bad axis. It seems that the "old-good" quadrant is being held up and explored because the workplace seems to be emphasizing the "old-bad" quadrant. All four quadrants exist: old/bad, old/good, young/bad, and young/good. I've seen and worked with them all.
I'm in my mid-forties. I have felt both the "you are too young to know anything" as well as the "you are getting older, and need to move into management soon (even though I keep current)" pressures.
Getting older engineers to teach younger ones? Sure, I've done that. I do it now. Optimally, the learning goes both ways. But in my experience, it was easier for this to happen in days gone by. Nowadays, there is no "time" allowed for that, only for the work itself. Certainly there is no charge number for it :-) I've actually been told that! (Doesn't sound like an older engineer's fault there...more like a short-term vs long-term view problem...)
In summary...let's not pit older vs younger (vs middle-aged?) engineers; the profession cannot afford that indulgence. Especially not right now.
David the surveys can indicate a problem and in my experience there are no good solutions to most of the problems. A few can be solved but the rest might not be possible or quite delicate to handle.Solving one issue will create another issue at another side.balancing all this is like walking on the rope tied between poles.
Hi Isleguard Prsently i am on my own. Previously i was working in two organizations and the surveys were taken on yearly basis. Even though the survey report said the over all satisfaction % is 90 to 96 people left the places regularly and lot of new occupied and this trend is continuing.That is why i feel these surveys wont give a strong support for the management to retain talents.
The survey results support what I have been saying about computer, semiconductor and software companies for some time: You have the wrong people. Only 9.10% strongly agree with, "I truly feel a part of my company"!
Many of your employees treat you like adversaries, rather than allies. Meanwhile, an astonishing candidate with high internal standards of achievement and genuinely enthusiastic about your product line, is trying to get in, but gets rejected by one of your existing employees, who underestimates what that candidate will do for your company, instead allowing himself/herself to get distracted by something insignificant.
It's time to clean house.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.