I agree with Otta that the problem isn't only from the 2008 blip - it goes back to the 2000 drop in the NASDAQ
Before that young engineers were being trained, and assuming at some point in their career they could join a magic startup and make millions when it did it's IPO.
When the buble burst a lot of the job opportunities went off-shore in the interest of saving money, and the bright kids were lured into other places where the money seemed easier. It wasn't only banks but a raft of softer services. You only have to look back at the falling number of engineering graduates over the last decade or so to see the trend, plus factor in the percentage of foreign students being trained by US schools.
It's been obvious for a long time that the supply of competent engineers in the US is both aging and reducing. I believe other industries have similar problems - airline pilots for example.
In the end it's a product of our society and it's only society that can change it. It we want to continue the rate of innovation that's made us more productive and wealthly year on year since the beginning of the industrial revolution, we've got to shift the reward system so the technologists get better rewarded and merchants and people who take percventages of othr peoples money in the name of financial "services" are less well rewarded.
Meantime the electronics industry faces one heck of a problem in the US over the next couple of decades as engineers retire with nobody to replace them.
Generation gap is clearly in place. Downturn of year 2k is responsible. Same CEO's/WallStreet types that hired everyone who was capable of few keystrokes before y2k did mass layoffs for next 3 years. Even after this time getting hired for unexperienced young engineer was extremely difficult. My friend son finished university at summer 2002. No chance for a job, he applied for master (and everyone in his class also applied) was lucky and get master degree year later. Then lost 3 years selling furniture. Fortunately he become engineer after that... what is motivation for young people for engineering? There is a gap at least from 2000- 2006/7 where most of them lost their chance and lost interest. After all average salaries at investment banking sector in same time rising above $400k level. Thats direction country is steered to, why go against mainstream?
Lance Jones said: It could just be that we have heard for so long that everything is moving to Asia, that it has discouraged many of our young people from studying engineering.
Engineering students aren't stupid. When they get the impression that after 4-5 hard years of college and US$100K of debt, they won't be able to get a job because of no experience and even if they do they'll be discarded in 5 years because the employer wants to hire someone cheaper or move their jobs overseas, what exactly is the incentive? You do get some terrific engineering students who simply cannot imagine doing anything else. But those with alternatives are going to go where the money is -- Wall Street.