Subject: Fwd: Joyce Lain Kennedy Article
Abstract: Career columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy outlines in an article dated October 23, 1994 many of the challenges facing those individuals who have either chosen or are thinking about an engineering career. Many of the items are also applicable to scientists. Relevant contact information for further reading is also supplied. Strong evidence for a glut of engineers is provided. This evidence provides more rebuttals to claims that we need to import more foreign engineers (which was one of the motivations for the Immigration Act of 1990.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ "Changing Needs Leave Engineers Wrestling With New Realities" by Joyce Lain Kennedy, from The Dallas Morning News, October 23, 1994, Page 45D. Ms. Kennedy's address is Careers, Joyce Lain Kennedy, Box 3090, Carlsbad CA 92009 - 3090, (c) 1994 Sun Features Inc.
Dear Joyce: What do you think of engineering as a career choice today? - K.L.M.
If you like and are good at the work, and if you're willing to enrich your employability bank by continuously upgrading your technical skills, engineering is as profitable a career selection as any.
The same observation can be applied to virtually any professional or managerial occupation today as job insecurity becomes the norm of the times. The de facto job agreement of days gone by, the one that traded loyalty for job security, is fading like yesterday's technology.
Some - not all - superbly trained young engineering graduates have discovered their skills have peaked in as few as five to 10 years after graduation and that they are being replaced by more recent graduates.
Even the engineering establishment's umbrella professional organization, the American Association of Engineering Societies, Inc. (AAES), recognizes stunning change in its new study At the Crossroads: Crisis and Opportunity for American Engineers in the 1990s
(This comprehensive 26 - page study is one counselors and engineering wannabes should read carefully; it's available for $18.00 from AAES, Suite 608, 1111 19th St. NW, Washington DC 20036, (202) 296 - 2237)
According to the study, military needs, a mainstay of engineering practice for centuries are shrinking dramatically. Automation is boosting productivity, including the productivity of engineers, which adds to downward job pressures. General corporate downsizing is reducing the number of technical and management opportunities for members of the profession. Global markets are forcing U.S. engineers, as well as other kinds of workers, to compete with people from every part of the world.
New graduates are learning, like many professionals, that the mere possession of a degree does not lead easily to ideal placement and high pay.
The extra people thrown into the job market by military cuts are pushing technical salaries down - at least for the next decade or so.
"Because of the huge buildup of the technical work force between 1975 and 1985, the nation now has the largest, youngest, most talented technical labor pool in American history - and we also have the worst levels of unemployment and underemployment of that work force in the postwar era," says the AAES study.
Older engineers are at an even more severe disadvantage. The American Association of Concerned Engineers (Dick Lourie - Editor, American Association of Concerned Engineers, Box 667, Trilby FL 33593 - 0667,(904) 567-0433) focuses on their employment mishaps. AACE's most recent newsletter says, "The job situation, although still not good, has improved a little." [Also Billy E. Reed - President, The American Engineering Association, P.O. Box 820473, Fort Worth TX 76182 - 0473, (817) 656 - 2324, email: Billraea@aol.com should be mentioned, since they have similar interests as the AACE - GN]
The outsourcing of engineering, like the fields of data processing and advertising, may spread, with employers calling engineering services instead of hiring new core employees.
No one knows what lies ahead. As the AAES study concludes, new realities "raise the possibility of an increasing oversupply of qualified workers of all kinds, including technical professionals. At the same time, those who do succeed as engineers may experience unprecedented opportunities."
Although new actualities are casting shadows over the engineering profession, remember that it has always been cyclical, with demand rising and falling with times and events.
/gn File: JLK10234.txt October 23, 1994
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