The post garnered an inbox full of responses; some angry, many frustrated, others in agreement. Some readers felt the argument was a political one, blaming one party’s policies or another.
Others felt the issue was situational, with too many tech jobs located in areas where fewer engineers could take advantage of them.
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“I wish I was 25 instead of 52 so I could just pick up my 5 lbs. of stuff instead of 50,000 and jump right over there,” wrote one unemployed software engineer from New Jersey.
Lack of work experience was blamed for many “average” engineering grads unable to get starter jobs right out of college, while other readers complained that the curse of unemployment made it even more difficult to get back on the job ladder.
“The engineer shortage is a fantasy of the high tech companies,” wrote reader Steve Sodos, holder of a BSEE from Stanford who lives in Silicon Valley. “I cannot get a job because I am unemployed. The high-tech companies are only interested in people who have a specific job skill set so they will ‘hit the ground running.” Sodos said the solution to the engineer "shortage" is simple: "Don't reject all of the applicants!”
Steve Anderson, self-proclaimed “lab guy” at Sonoma State University, said President Obama was the only candidate who gave "lip service" to STEM. "He is the one who said those words, and has committed to a program to support it," Anderson said.
On the other hand, Anderson argues candidate Romney just believes in supporting charter schools, which do not comply with No Child Left Behind testing. “The Republican main science plan is to bust public employee unions and demonize teachers,” he said.
Anderson believes one reason for the dropping rates of STEM students is because NCLB testing does not require physics, as it’s “too hard to put true-false science questions onto a bubble test.”
“Physics is science and science creates engineers,” Anderson added.
You're absolutely right, Sylvie. Retirement plans have become a thing of the past. Companies seem to offer savings plans to which they contribute, but not the old style retirement plan anymore.
I'm not sure how this would have been unpredictable, though, in the new global era. When workers compete globally, and corporations become multinational, how could it be otherwise? I mean, what mechanisms could be put in place to make it otherwise, I guess is what I'm really asking.
Tribal knowledge is underrated. Companies wizz it away like it's water when they downsize, then expect it to magically appear when they re-hire. This mentality has huge social costs, which companies should bear part of. Unfortunately, the government has no leverage because laws that would discourage off-shoring have been gutted. Mongo is only pawn in game of life.
I work there, too, and we have more than 200 open positions: all kinds of engineers, assemblers, business functions, interns...
You can see all of our open positions around the world here: https://www.selinc.com/careers/
I think we are well on track for companies in the $1 to $100 Billion range to have maybe 10 employees maximum. Everything else will be outsourced.
But the outsourced jobs won't be well paying jobs, they will gravitate to minimum wage jobs. It's going to be a "Brave New World" for our kids.
The +100K pensioned jobs in the Fortune 500 are going away. The last bastion of those secure-retirement jobs are in the civil service sector, and those folks are going to have a rude awakening in a few years. The world is changing rapidly--the future for American engineers now is in the smaller and mid-sized firms. The paychecks are smaller, and you'll have to learn to manage a 401(k), but the HR department is easier to punch through and the opportunities are usually better in the long run.
Identified soe typos from typing too fast--lets correct them ....
UNpatriotic US corporations won't hire US EE's out of school, BUT, they will hire and Indian or Chinese H1B right out of school. The H1B's sense this higher caste privilege and eke out bad behavior in the US workplace, literally reaching over the hand of a higher qualified, standup US EE's hand to ignorantly push buttons on a test equipment panel IN A SAFTEY CRITICAL PRODUCT supplier, cause mistakes on the test screen capture--thus distracting the good work and intentions of a US EE AND, NOT bat a eyelash or flinch, knowing that their low H1B salaries and obediency-willing to cheat(*) US regulations in safety critical environments, are GOLD to the US corporation. (*) H1B's have a higher caste--they get to do the design work and US EE's are low end pressured to do the verification/regulatory approval SIGNATURES work, allowing the H1B's to hide their lower quality-obedient level work from US regulatory standards. i.e. to US EE' the company's pressure is: take the legal risk approve their work or leave
UNpatriotic US corporations won't hire US EE's out of school, BUT, they will hire and Indian or Chinese H1B right out of school. The H1B's sense this higher caste privilege and eke out bad behavior in the US workplace, literally reach ove rthe hand of a igher qualified, standup US EE's hand topus buttons on a test equipment panel, cause mistakes--distractthe good work and intentions of a US EE AND, NOT bat a eyelash or flinch, knowing that their low H1B salaries and obediency-willing to cheat(*) US regulations in safety critical environments are GOLD to the US corporation. (*) H1B's have a higher caste--they get to do the design work and US EE's are pressured to do the verification/regulatory approval SIGNATURES, allowing the H1B's to hide their lower quality-obedient level work from US regulatory standards. i.e. to US EE' the company's pressure is: approve their work or leave
UNpatriotic US lawmakers claim H1B's are needed to come in, create companies and hire US engineers--please---H1B's have been eating US jobs--eating US EE's since the 80's, the soylent green machin they are, made in China and India to eat highly paid US EE's alive..
The wearables space is wide open and exploding with opportunity, but that comes with design and sourcing issues, which some believe could be alleviated in part by the strength of the maker community and an open-source approach to this segment.
An engineer who has experienced firsthand the changes that the engineering profession has undergone since the days of Bill Hewlett and David Packard argues that the loss of innovative capacity is the direct result of a vacuum in American business thought leadership.