Sixty to 80 percent of jobless engineers are older than 50. That's not a statistic. That's a crisis.
The "money shot" in the accompanying post on the results of our engineering and age discrimination survey was this:
"...60-80 percent of all survey respondents who have been unemployed for any length of time are 50 years or older."
Sixteen percent of our more than 800 respondents (as of Thursday) are jobless right now. That's seven points higher than the national rate. Extrapolate that across the North American engineering cohort, and you're talking tens of thousands of good, qualified engineers looking for work
What's worse? Half of you (48%) have been out of engineering work for two years or more
. That's a stretch that's almost unimaginable to me.
How to help
So what can we do? Eight years ago, I came across an unemployed engineer, David Knuth
reached out after taking advantage of a free class we offered at
Embedded Systems Conference
that he took to stay current. I prevailed on
him to write a series titled Diary of an Unemployed Engineer
. It turned out that he was the son of an engineer
, which made the story all the more special.
He eventually found a good design job with the company that makes the robot vacuum cleaners.
Other than publicizing this present engineering tragedy, I want to help. If you're one of those 60-80 percent (and especially one of those 48 percenters), tell me your stories.
We'll create a new blog, highlight it on EE Life and post your stories individually under your byline. Post as much as you want. Tell us your layoff stories, how you're looking for work, using networks and friends; tell us your frustrations and insights.
Perhaps you're using LinkedIn
and other social networks as well as professional job-assistance channels, as you should. But publishing your story will help you and it will serve as some solace to the thousands of engineers in our community who are in similar straits.
I'll take other suggestions as well: Post resumes? Create a special site?
I'm all ears.
Meanwhile, send me your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org
and please write "Jobless Engineer Blog"
in the subject line.
(Tip of the cap to Mark Skillings, engineer, old friend and trusted advisor, for the inspiration for this