It is perplexing for me that "Digitally Savvy Youth" are losing interest in STEM related careers. There must be some research conducted to go beyond just knowing the rate of students losing interest and inquiring the reasons behind this phenomenon so that this problem that could hurt the country's economy badly can be coped with.
Very informative and thought provoking post indeed! However I could not understand the connection between the two figures related to the growth of STEM related professions and rate of students losing interest in STEM related professions. Healthy projected increase of 20.6 % in STEM related professions, but at the same time 57 % students losing interest in STEM, indicate that this decline in interest in STEM related profession is not job market driven.
I don't think we need to go down the road of China, William K, though it may be tempting sometimes. Some public companies have done all right if the major owner has control (like Facebook) and decisions can be made from the point of view of long-term business health rather than quarterly returns.
I certainly agree with most of the comments made so far. At one time in my career I was an engineering program manager with an international group providing contract services to South America, the Middle East and Western Europe. I was absolutely amazed at the difference in attitude shown by managerial personnel in these areas relative to the attitudes shown by management in the USA. In the "states" we are basically considered the means to an end--pawns if you will until the need for our services is gone. It was an absolute pleasure working for a qualified engineering manager as opposed to an MBA. The level of understanding was ten-fold in comparison. I think these attitudes become known at a very early level in the educational process and this is one reason more students do not consider the STEM professions. Now, these remarks are not meant to be condemning and I have worked for several terrific managers over my 50 plus years as an engineer BUT working for an individual that is schedule and cost driven is not that much fun.
Rob, you are certainly correct. And the very worst of it all is that the boards are so very short sighted. Unfortunately, in a free country such as ours there is not a lot that can be done about it. In China they routinely solve business problems with hangings, at least that is what I read in their paper when I was there a while back. Drastic, but certainly effective against repeaters.
Good points, William K. The eagle eye to the quarterly return has worked against true business health for decades now. Oddly, the CEO is in the same bind. If the CEO doesn't slave to the quarterly return, the company will find a CEO who will.
I have ben a contract engineer at a few jobs and in most cases the contract cost was about twice what I was paid, which was costing my employer a lot more than what my medical insurance would have cost.
So I would submit that the benefit of hiring contractors is the ability to dump them the moment that they perceive that they are not needed. That is typical MBA thinking, having no understanding that engineering talent and skills are not evenly distributed, and that it is seldom simple for one to step in to replace another without a bit of cost penalty.
The way to solve the engineering shortage is to start regulating the daylights out of the financial manipulator crooks, so that there will be far less of the very high profits for them. Then suddenly an engineering career will be more lucrative looking. And the secondary results could be that we don't have another financial crash that injures the rest of our country while thye dishonest weasels get rich.
Note that this is not an original opinion, but it is one that I agree with completely.
Check the "smart Van" blog/website and it will become clear that well qualified service people are indeed in great demand currently, and probably will remain in demand even if the economy collapses, since then replacing things will be much less of an option.
And right now the severe engineer shortage is really a shortage of engineers that will work for lower pay under poor conditions. Good engineers that would work in reasonable conditions for a competitive income are available in adequate quantities.
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