(Editor's note: A full analysis of the 2009 EE Times Global Salary & Opinion Survey is available here.)
The struggle for relevance in a technology world that is rapidly shifting resources and manufacturing to China appears to be taking a heavy toll on Japanese engineers.
Or perhaps it's more correct to say that Japanese EEs, jaded by years of painful restructuring actions that have failed repeatedly to deliver the hoped-for results, suspect their employers lack the skills and the tools to restore the country's high-tech competitiveness.
Whatever the reasons for their malaise, it's clear Japanese engineers are less enthusiastic about the profession than their colleagues in China, Europe, India and North America. As a result, as a group they are far more willing today than in the past to forsake their employers for greener pastures, according to the 2009 EE Times Global Salary & Opinion Survey. About 20 percent of Japanese respondents to the survey indicated they would "like to change" employers "within a few years" or sooner.
Of course, old habits die hard: 76 percent of Japanese respondents still indicated an inclination to "work for my com- pany for many more years," the highest rate among all regional respondents.
Nonetheless, companies in the country once known for its cradle-to-grave employment mentality are starting to mimic their North American and European counterparts by laying off employees and accelerating the massive shift of manufacturing to China. In this environment, it's no surprise that the Japanese respondents to the EE Times survey trail their colleagues elsewhere on most metrics used to determine level of satisfaction with the profession.