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5 Utilization of Engineering Resources A major element of the integrative approach that the committee attempted to bring to the examination of contemporary engineering was to address the question of how members of the engineering com- munity are employed in the workplace, and how engineering resources are utilized. The intent was not simply to include the study of utiliza- tion as an adjunct to the assessment of engineering education, but to view it as the other end of the pipeline, as part of the same system, and to attempt to highlight the interdependencies of the two. As was mentioned at the beginning of the report, the subject of the utilization of engineers has not received nearly as much or as system- atic a treatment in earlier studies as has education. Consequently, the Pane! on Engineering Employment Characteristics, which examined this subject, was in many respects tilling new ground. The panel relied for its statistical data primarily on the same sources that were employed by the Panel on Infrastructure Diagramming and Modeling in its research {see chapter 3, "Data Bases" I. Although the surveys conducted by these and other organizations supply a great deal of useful data, each agency collects information according to its specific needs and without reference to data from other sources or to a consistent set of definitions. This pane! likewise found that the data bases, taken as a whole, exhibit numerous gaps and incon- sistencies and are poorly suited to integrated analysis. To augment the available information and to develop more current data on the utilization of engineers the panel also conducted an infor 86

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 87 mat survey of employers of engineers. The survey was designed to yield an up-to-date picture of the quality of recent engineering graduates, the patterns of utilization of these personnel, and the impact of new tools on engineering productivity. In accordance with the flow diagram of the engineering community developed by the Infrastructure group, the panel also sought to consider engineers, technologists, and technicians and to compare them in terms of employment and utilization characteristics. This section of the report examines Current characteristics of the engineering labor force Issues relating to the quality of the engineering work force from the standpoint of employers Current and future issues of supply and demand for technical per- sonnel. The Engineering Work Force: Characteristics and Trends According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, between 1960 and 1982 the number of engineers in the United States nearly doubled, rising from 800,000 to about 1.6 million {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). Figure 9 shows that the average rate of increase has also grown since 1976, a fact reflected in the high enroll- ments at engineering schools since the mid-1970s. Moreover, in the same 22-year period the number of engineers grew faster than the overall employed population. Engineers comprised nearly 1.4 percent of the United States work force in 1982, compared to 1.2 percent in 1960 {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteris- tics).~ In recent years this growth has been especially strong in the manufacturing industries. Overall employment in these industries grew less than 3 percent during 1977-1980, while engineering employ- ment climbed 20 percent National Science Foundation, 1982a). Even in mature industries with declining employment, engineering employ- ment remained relatively stable. In fact, some 75 percent of engineers work in industry and business iNSF, 1982a). These trends reflect both the spread of high technology throughout industry and the efforts of older industries to upgrade their productivity and competitiveness. ~ However, because of a large increase in employment in non-engineering-intensive portions of the economy ti.e., the service sector), engineering employment as a percent of the work force has declined from a peak of 1.6 percent in 1970.

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88 1 ,600 1,400 1 ,200 Z 1,000 In o I 800 600 400 200 1 960 - O ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE - - - - - - - - - 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1970 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 YEAR FIGURE 9 Employed engineering personnel: 1960-1982. Concentration Ratios One measure of the technology-intensiveness of an economic sector or industry is the proportion, or concentration ratio, of technically employed people in its total work force. {Figures in this section are again based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ) Of the major economic sectors, for example, the federal government has the highest concentration ratio for engineers. The ratio rose from about 3.25 per- cent in 1960 to about 5 percent in 1978 (the latest year for which data are available) . About 6 percent of all engineers are employed directly by the federal government {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employ- ment Characteristics). When indirect employment is taken into account {i.e., prime contractors), the federal government employs some 30 percent of the engineering pool; second-tier indirect employ- ment via subcontractors adds another 8 percent to the total. {Although these figures may seem surprisingly large, they are roughly equivalent to the portion of the overall GNP accounted for by the federal govern- ment. ) The concentration ratios for engineers in other sectors are consider- ably lower: durable goods, 4 percent in 1978, with the trend being

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 5 c, 4 LL o llJ o aid 2 Cal UJ 1 o 1960 1970 1978 1980 ENGI NEERS 89 1960 1970 1978 1980 1960 1970 1978 1980 TECHN ICIANS COMPUTER SPECIALISTS FIGURE 10 Engineerings, technicians, and computer specialists as a percent of total employed: All industries. NOTE: 1980 figures are estimated. SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics. downward; nondurable goods, slightly over 1 percent in 1978, with no change expected in the near term. Ratios vary widely across industries. They are highest in manufac- turing industries generally, as might be expected, although the highest ratio, 22. 7 percent, is found in the engineering services industry. Next highest are the aerospace industry {13.85 percent), commercial RED {12.1 percent), computers {9.2 percent), and electrical machinery {7.0 percent). Concentration ratios for engineers, technicians,2 and computer spe- ciaTists in all industries are compared in Figure 10. It should be noted that engineers {as defined) outnumber technicians and these figures include not only engineering technicians, but scientific technicians as well. In 1982 there were 1.1 million technicians of all types in the total work force, compared to the nearly 1.6 million engineers. Among eco 2 The category of technicians does not include those technicians who are performing professional-level engineering work and who are thus defined as engineers.

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9o ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE nomic sectors, the number of technicians {and thus the concentration ratio) exceeds that of engineers only in nondurable goods {e.g., fertil- izers and food products). Among industries, the technician ratio is higher only in chemicals, engineering services, and commercial RED. Computer specialists are a fast-growing category, but they currently outnumber engineers and technicians only in electronic computing and computer programming. It is difficult to find accurate employment data on engineering tech- nologists per se because the field is relatively new and because technol- ogists are often classified by their employers and by themselves as engineers. Another factor is the relatively low number of technology schools reporting on enrollments and graduates. However, if the total number of baccalaureate technology degrees awarded each year is around 9,200 {as it was reported to be in 1983), then the yearly output of technologists is about 13 percent of the yearly output of new B.S. engineers {72,500 in 1983) {Engineering Manpower Commission, 1984a). Therefore, since there are relatively few older technologists, the concentration ratios of these employees must be considerably Tower than those of engineers, even in the manufacturing industries where they predominate (see Figure 10~. The finding that there are apparently far fewer technicians and tech- nologists in the work force than there are engineers was initially trou- bling because as it seemed to imply an inefficient use of resources. However, the committee found that self-reporting of data distorts the picture considerably {that is, many technicians and most technologists define themselves as engineers). In adclition, there are many engineers who do technician-level work. Thus, there is a built-in asymmetry in the data for these groups. The occupational structure is actually not as top-heavy as it would appear to be. However, periodic monitoring of the situation would be advisable as one means of ensuring that engineering resources continue to be utilized efficiently. Predominant Work Activity By far the largest number of engineers are employed in the durable goods sector, which accounted for 40 percent of all engineers in 1978 {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). However, this percentage is decreasing steadily while the proportion of engineers in the service sector grows. The continuing predominance of manufacturing employment nevertheless is reflected in the fact that across all types of employers the most frequent activities of employed engineers {in 1982} were development, production/inspection, and management See Table 3~.

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES TABLE 3 Primary Activities of Employed Engineers, 1982 91 10.9 15.2 3.4 16.6 7.3 13.6 33.0 Activity Research Developmenta RED Management Other Management Teaching Production / Inspection Otherb Women Engineers {percent i All Engineers {percent) - 4.7 27.9 8.7 19.3 2.1 16.6 20.7 NOTE: These data are compiled by NSF's National Science Board from a variety of sources, including employer surveys and engineer {self-reporting questionnaires. Thus they reflect a considerable degree of subjectivity and inconsistency in the defini- tion of activities. a This category includes design activity. b Includes consulting, reporting, statistical work, computing, other, no report. SOURCE: Unpublished tabulations, National Science Foundation. Based on 1982 Post- censal Survey of Scientists and Engineers, July 1984. The predominant activities of engineers on the job differ from those of scientists in the same industries. Scientists are more likely to be involved in research, analysis, and teaching. Even of those engineers employed by educational institutions, only about half are actually engaged in teaching. The rest are involved in such activities as ROD, administration, and facilities engineering. Technologists and technicians are commonly viewer! as working in support of engineers' but in fact the association is frequently indirect. Often they perform tasks such as testing, inspection, and quality con- tro! in which engineering specifications are followed but engineers themselves are seldom involved. New technologies are also creating jobs that did not exist before that technologists or technicians carry out without direct supervision by engineers. Some examples are CAD/ CAM operator/drafter, operation of numerically controlled machine tools, and robotics supervision {Office of Technology Assessment, 1984~. Specializations In 1981 the largest engineering disciplines were electrical/electronic and mechanical engineering. Table 4 gives the numbers and percent- ages of practitioners in the six largest disciplines, out of approximately 1.5 million employed in that year. Since 1960 the fastest-growing categories have been the electrical/ electronics and industrial engineering disciplines. Figure 11 depicts

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92 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE TABLE 4 Distribution of Engineers Employed in Six Largest Disciplines, 1981 Discipline Electrical / Electronic Mechanical Civil Industriala Chemical Aero/Astro NOTE: Totals do not add to 100 percent because of the large number of smaller disciplines. a Based on 1980 data adjusted upward. SOURCE: NationalScience Board, 1983. Engineers Employed Number Percent 279,200 18.9 249,500 16.9 200,300 13.5 143,000 9.7 79,400 5.4 50,200 3.4 these relative growth rates, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statis- tics. {Note that the curves do not reflect absolute numbers of practi- tioners.) The rapid growth in the "other" category, as shown in the figure, reflects the recent emergence of engineering fields such as envi- ronmental engineering and biochemical engineering {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). The growth in electrical/electronics engineering has been widely observed and is, of course, the result of breakthroughs in the develop- ment and application of microelectronics and computers {see Figure 11~. The steady growth in industrial engineering is a consequence of industry's efforts to improve productivity, product quality, and cost- competitiveness. Industrial engineering is a good example of a field in which many practitioners are technologists, upgraded technicians, or individuals with technical degrees in other fields a fact which is reflected in its large size relative to B.S. engineering degree output. Women in Engineering Women continue to be underrepresented in engineering. This con- clusion is based on the committee's finding that the percentage of women is markedly lower in engineering than in other science and technical fields. While some 20 percent of chemists and 29 percent of computer specialists, for example, are women, only 5.8 percent of engineers are women {Report of the Pane! on Engineering Employment Characteristicsl. However, the percentage of women in engineering practice more than tripled between 1970 and 1983, and the disparity in

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 350 _ 300 _ Scale: 1960= 100 o IL ~ 250 , LL 200 o car _ / ~1 50 o o O 100 50 _ O 93 it/ Electrical/ Electronic - ~ Chemical _ Mechanical ,,~, / Other i\ _-' - ; / ,,~_ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1960 YEAR 1970 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 FIGURE 11 Relative growth rates of engineering disciplines, 1960-1982. female representation in engineering now shows signs of rapid improvement. As a case in point, some 15 percent of undergraduate engineering students are now women; freshman female enrollments are even higher 17 percent in 1983 although there are indications that the latter trend is leveling off {Engineering Manpower Commis- sion, 1983; 1984b). Of the major engineering disciplines in 1982, civil engineering had the largest proportion of women practitioners {12 percent); 11.7 per- cent were in electrical and electronics; 11.7 percent were in mechani- cal; and 11 percent were in chemical engineering. The percentage of women engineers engaged in research { 10.9 percent) is more than twice that for men {4.7 percent), and the percent in teaching {7.3 percent) is more than three times that of men {2.1 percent). While we have no reports of undue resistance in hiring or on-the-job discrimination by male coworkers or supervisors, it is obvious that some women will experience discomfort in an environment substan- tiallypopulatedbymen. There is a relative scarcity of women in middle and upper management positions, but this could reflect the fact that

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94 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE women engineers are still too few and predominantly too young to be in competition for those positions. In addition, two recent reports point out that women engineers are paid 10 to 20 percent less than their male counterparts with the same experience although neither report presents its findings as being conclusive {Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, 1984; National Science Foundation, 1984~. Other data indicate that women's entry-level salaries, at least, are sub- stantially the same as those of men. Anecdotal reports on the progress of women in engineering ecluca- tion suggest that female engineering professors are not obtaining ten- ure at the same rates as are their male counterparts Report of the Panel on Graduate Education and Research). There is also a perception of discrimination against female faculty members in assignment of teach- ing responsibilities and in selection for research teams. Such a percep- tion discourages women from entering graduate school and then academia-certainly an undesirable result in view of the current short- age of faculty. College administrators should make a candid assessment of the negative aspects of campus life for women faculty members and, if they are found to exist, should take firm steps to eliminate them. Minorities Minorities made up 4.6 percent of employed engineers in 1981. The largest minority grouping was Asians, which increased by 45 percent between 1976 and 1981, to 2.8 percent {or 41,800) of all employed engineers. The number of black engineers nearly doubled during that period, but still constitutes only 1.4 percent {or 20,600) of employed engineers. Hispanics were even less well represented, making up 0.3 percent for some 5,000) of employed engineers in 1981. The number of American Indians employed as engineers was very small {National Science Board, 1983~. Some of the possible reasons for this disappointingly Tow participa- tion by minorities were discussed in the previous section on the status of engineering education-particularly with regard to blacks. On the job, cultural factors play a large part in that minority engineers must still cope with a considerable degree of isolation in a work world in which they are ethnically almost alone. In many localities, minorities in certain professions (medicine, law, etc. ~ can serve their own ethnic communities. There is no such parallel professional engineering estab- lishment serving the minority communities. That fact may steer many professional-minded minorities away from engineering. Also, there are questions regarding the upward mobility of minori

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 95 ties. However, as is the case with women, the relative newness and low numbers of minorities in engineering are certainly factors in their underrepresentation in management positions. It may be that, as was seen in the case of women, the fuller participa- tion of blacks and other minorities in engineering will be a process that is slow to develop but quick to accelerate when the necessary condi- tions are created. Consequently, the search for ways to encourage minorities to enter and remain in engineering must continue. Quality of the Engineering Work Force One of the most critical characteristics of a work force is its quality. But quality is invariably a matter of perception; its assessment depends on personal experience and personal criteria. Many observers in recent years have expressed their concern that the quality of the engineering work force in the United States is declining. These commentators point to problems in the nuclear power industry, recalls of automo- biles, and the general decline of our smokestack industries as symp- toms of poor engineering quality. On the face of it, it seems unwarranted to blame engineering for these signs of widespread industrial malaise. Industrial decline has many interrelated causes. Certainly among the most prominent are short- sighted management, national priorities, economies in production made possible for competitors abroad by relatively cheap labor, and less stringent environmental regulations in many countries abroad. Never- theless, just as sound engineering is essential to industrial success, inadequate engineering must eventually be reflected in industrial decline. But it would seem to follow that the recent sustained improvement in economic indicators, the apparently successful retooling of the auto industry, and the continued strength and competitiveness of the U.S. electronics industry all owe something to high-quality engineering. To acquire some sense of the present and future quality of the engineering work force, the panel asked its survey respondents to characterize the most recent graduates in terms of quality.3 The majority of respondents noted an upward trend in the quality of graduates, with few respondents reporting declines in quality. A sub 3 Survey questionnaires were mailed to 350 engineering-based firms across the coun- try. A total of 107 responses were received. Findings based on the survey should be viewed in the light of this relatively small sample size.

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96 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE stantial increase in the quality of computer hardware and computer software engineers was noted {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). These findings, although they are sub- jective, may reflect the greater intrinsic ability of engineering students that was describer! in the section on education. That is, it is difficult to say whether the assessments of quality refer entirely to technical train- ing and knowledge or whether they include an acknowledgment of the fact that these graduates are simply brighter and more well-rouncled than may have been the case in the past. Certainly the current over- crowding of classrooms ant! obsolescence of teaching equipment must be limiting the educational quality that might otherwise be expected in these graduates. Despite the satisfaction with the overall ability of recent graduates, most companies fine! that they lack the ability to step into a job and become immediately productive. Often, additional training of six months to a year or more is required to properly acclimate the new employee to the requirements of the job. Offering this finishing train- ing is a particular problem for smaller companies because of its high cost. The crux of the problem is that to make the transition from a high school graduate to a competent practicing engineer requires more than just the acquisition of technical skills and knowledge. It also requires a complex set of group-interaction, management, and work-orienta- tional skills. Other very important skills are those needed for commu- nicating effectively, both orally and in writing. These skills are not sufficiently emphasized in the educational background of most recent engineering graduates. New technologies can improve both the productivity of engineers and the quality of their work. For example, computer-aided design (CAD) unquestionably increases an engineer's productivity in terms of hourly output {by as much as 50 percent, according to the limited survey in Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteris- tics). However, it is misreading to assign a number to the productivity increase, because CAD also changes the nature of the work. It may permit the engineer to design a part with greater precision, for example, or to Took at 10 design options instead of 2 within the same period of time. Also, designing with CAD facilitates the handling of routine tasks and permits engineers to more fully exercise their engineering skills, concentrating on more complex design questions. The resulting gain in efficiency is difficult to quantify, but is nonetheless real. Although CAD relates mainly to engineering work in the manu- facturing industries, the use of computers and computerized tools in

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98 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE changing technologies. On the whole, BLS foresees an overall balance of supply and demand for engineers throughout the 1980s iSTaughter, 1981~. However, the BLS predictions are based on a balance achieved through the adjustment of supply, including continued high levels of participation by women. Some academics are concerned that problems in the educational system {i.e., faculty shortages and outdated, inade- quate facilities) could, unless properly and promptly addressed, affect their ability to provide adequate numbers of high-quaTity graduates. Furthermore, it is misreading to refer to an overall balance between supply and demand because the difference between stringent shortage and painful surplus in any discipline is about 5 percent in either direc- tion. Spot surpluses have also existed in recent years, although these have not received as much attention. Chemical engineering has felt the impact of surpluses because of economic downturn, decreased demand for petroleum-based products, and reduction in support of alternate energy programs. Civil engineers have likewise been in oversupply as a result of the impact of recession on the construction industry and of a lessened demand for environmentally related work. It is important to emphasize that neither of these conditions {surplus or shortage) is static; they vary across time and in each discipline some- what independently. A major initiative to rebuild the nation's aging network of highways and bridges could rapidly increase the demand for civil engineers, for example. Consolidation among the producers of electronics goods or successful entry of Tow-cost foreign producers could reduce demand for electrical, electronics, and computer engi- neers in this country. Change in the patterns of demand will certainly be seen, and it is likely to occur more rapidly than in the past. r Salaries One indicator of demand for engineers is their salaries. The most recent earnings surveys show that engineers in industry remain among the best paid of all non-self-employed professionals. Figure 12 shows that industry-employe(1 engineers as a group earn more than chemists and accountants and that since 1963 the percentage differential has remained essentially the same (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1983~. The comparison for entry-level engineers is similar. They earn more than their counterparts in other fields, and after about 1977 the differ- ential began to increase noticeably Figure 13~. By March 1984 the average entry-level B.S. engineer was earning $25,750, considerably more than entry-level employees in the other fields College Placement Council, 1984~.

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40,000 ^ 30 000 < 20,000 1 0,000 99 Engineers - Remit _____ Inns o ~1 I I I 1 ~1 ~1~3 1~8 1 YEAR FICU" 12 Median salaries for selected occupations in private industry f 1963- 1983J. 30,000 25,000 ~ ~00 1~0 1 0,000 S,OOO o - Engineers - Chemists ____- I ]_ I I I I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 i 1 ~1~5 1 ~1 ~1- 1~3 YEAR 1~5 1~7 apt 1~1 1~ [1GU" 13 Ent~devel median salaries in private industry for selected occupations I 19~i9~1.

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100 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE The increase in actual salary differential suggests that employers considered engineers to be in short supply after 1977. Recent reports suggest that entry-level salaries in 1984 have begun to level off (Report of the Panel on Graduate Education and Research); if true, it would corroborate the earlier assertion that spot shortages are being filled. However, within narrow bands salaries may not be a particularly accu- rate index of demand; entry-level salaries paid to chemical and nuclear engineers, for example two specialties in which demand has been low in recent years are among the highest in any category {College Place- ment Council, 1984~. It should be noted that demand for degreed engineering technologists appears to be driving their starting salaries up to a level comparable to that of engineers. By early 1984 the average starting salary offer to a bachelor of engineering technology was $24,730, just $1,000 Tower than the average offer to a B.S. engineer {College Placement Council, 1984). Salary data also shed light on the relative reluctance of engineering students to pursue the Ph.D. Rough calculations by the committee suggest that a Ph.D. engineer does not surpass the total accumulated earnings of a B.S. engineer until about 21 years after each has received the B.S. {see Figure 14~. The salaries paid by industry for Ph.D.s are said to be a major lure for academic scientists and engineers alike. As was discussed in the sec- tion on faculty shortages, the disparity between engineering faculty and industry income is considerable, particularly for younger faculty members. As is the case in universities, the federal government pays engineers at most experience levels and in most disciplines less than they can earn in industry. Federal salaries are limited by civil service regula- tions, and the salary differences particularly at the higher levels can be dramatic. Lower-level engineer salaries are also considerably below those in industry and are a major reason for the difficulty that govern- ment has in hiring engineers out of college. However, as in universities, government employment also has some offsetting benefits. Employ- ment security, early responsibility, and the civil service retirement program have traditionally led the list {although the latter situation is now changing). In view of the strong direct dependency on engineering talent for many of its most important activities, the federal government should review its compensation policies to ensure that it can com- petitivelLy recruit and maintain a high-quality engineering work force.

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 700,000 630,000 560,000 490,000 69 - U) 420,000 Or 350,000 280,000 2 1 0,000 1 40,000 70,000 o /' /' /k 101 '/~ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 24 26 28 30 32 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 FIGURE 14 Cumulative B.S./Ph.D. salaries. Unemployment Rates 14 16 18 20 22 YEARS AFTE R B.S. Another indicator of demand for engineers is unemployment rates. The rate for engineers traditionally has been markedly Tower than for the labor force as a whole. Between 1963 and 1982, unemployment among engineers exceeded 2 percent in only four years; the rate peaked at 2.9 percent in 1971 {when aerospace cutbacks were most deeply felt) but hovered around 1 percent throughout most of the period. The rate in 1980 was 1 percent, compared to 7.1 percent for the labor force as a whole; in the same year it was 1.8 percent for physical scientists and 1.6 percent for social scientists {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). Although unemployment rates for engineers {as well as other profes- sionals) may be understated somewhat because they are self-reported, it is nevertheless clear that engineers as a whole are seldom out of work. Mobility Another explanation for the low unemployment rates among engi- neers may be their mobility, both across fields and into and out of

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102 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE engineering. Data on the mobility of experienced engineers show a net flow of 18.5 percent out of the field during the period 1972-1978, cor- responding to the highest unemployment years {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). The data depict a net flow into management, a net flow out of production and R&D, and a small net flow out of teaching during those years. Later data show a small net flow out of teaching during 1980-1981 and a small net flow into teach- ing the following year Ceils, 1983~. Engineers frequently move inter- nally within a company to gain broader experience. The most common move is from one assignment to another at the same location. Engi- neers may also move {or be moved) geographically to take a new posi- tion or obtain a range of experience at different facilities of the same company. Aging an`dRetirement Another supply-side factor in the supply-demand equation is aging and retirement of engineers. The data on age distribution presage no age-related shortage of engineers overall; the greatest number of engi- neers today are in the 30-34 age bracket, while the average age is 42-44 {Figure 15~. Data on specific disciplines do suggest that the nation faces a potential age-related shortage of experienced mechanical engineers when those now in the 45-55 age bracket begin to retire, unless demand drops proportionately {Report of the Pane! on Engineering Employment Characteristics). One ameliorating factor in the retirement equation is that engineers who retire do not necessarily stop working. Retired engineers com- monly work as consultants, part-time employees, teachers, and so on. The Importance of Adaptability A`daptabiiity of Engineers The research of all the panels demonstrated that adaptability to changing demand has been, and is, one of the most valuable character- istics of the engineering community both individually and on the whole. This large, highly specialized work force has shown a remark- able capacity to adapt to fluctuating national needs while retaining the vitality needed to meet those challenges. This capacity for adaptation is often in evidence when new technolo- gies are introduced. A dramatic example was the substitution of tran

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 20 15 IJJ cr: 1 0 Total Engineers Total Employed Total Employed in Science or Engineering 24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 50-54 54-59 60-64 65-69 70 and Under FIGURE 15 Age distribution of engineers. AGE 103 and Over sisters for vacuum tube technology in the mid-1950s, followed in the next decade by the substitution of the integrated circuit for transistors. Contrary to what might have been expected, the impact on engineers of those two events was relatively minor. In each case, the fact that there were virtually no engineers trained in the new technologies and that the changes came so quickly meant that practitioners of the obsolete technology were the best positioned and best prepared to apply the new technology. They adapted {Report of the Panel on Engineering Interactions with Society). A different form of resiliency is seen when cross-disciplinary move- ment is required. For example, when the manned space program geared up in the late 1950s, there were virtually no qualified aerospace engi- neers. Instead, aeronautical, mechanical, and electronics engineers, mathematicians, and scientists of all types were able to adapt their knowledge to the requirements of the spaceflight regime. When the Apollo program ended rather abruptly in the early 1970s, those several thousand engineers were eventually reabsorbed by industry although the process was traumatic for at least three years, and its repercussions may still be seen in the careers of individual engineers.

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104 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE The energy crisis of the mid-1970s was another example of engineers responding rapidly and effectively to new conditions from the design of fuel-efficient automobiles and energy-saving devices of all kinds to the development of alternative fuel sources and processes. In one aero- space company, engineers who had been working on the design of spacecraft life-support systems turner! their abilities to the design of energy-saving systems for company buildings {Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics). On a profession-wide basis, there are a number of features of the engineering community that facilitate the response to changing demand, apart from the cross-disciplinary movement just described. An important resource is engineering service contractors, either indi- vidual or corporate; they tend to have a highly flexible staffing structure that lends itself to versatility and rapid changes in size. Upgrading of technicians or technologists from within a company staff represents another important adaptive response. However, these adaptational mechanisms cannot completely solve the problem of rapidly changing demand. Their success in doing so on a broad scale tends to obscure the significant problems encountered on an individual scale particularly when what is involved is the termina- tion of large federal ROD programs. For one thing, severe individual hardships are brought about through career dislocation. There is also the question of whether the nation can afford the diminished utiliza- tion of technical resources that takes place when such dislocations occur. Retraining programs offered by industry or government are of course one solution to this problem. Certain new emphases in the undergradu- ate engineering curriculum will help considerably {see the following section). However, the committee concludes that effective continuing education throughout a career holds the greatest promise for keeping engineers professionally flexible enough to anticipate and avoid great harm from technological obsolescence and changing demand. Adaptability of the Engineering Organization Adaptability of engineers is only one side of the equation governing engineering effectiveness. Although the committee did not Took closely at the utilization of engineers from a managerial standpoint, many findings suggest that this is a very important issue. The ways in which engineering resources are allocated and managed within an organization appear to have an enormous bearing on the effectiveness

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 105 of engineering practice in the United States. Management practices that foster an atmosphere in which creativity and innovation are encouraged can tap those potentials in their engineering staffs. Accordingly, there is a need for corporations and government agen- cies to examine the relationship between their engineering manage- ment practices and general management goals. Attention to these issues would have great implications for the effectiveness of an organi- zation. Findings, Conclusions, end Recommendations 1. Between 1969 and 1982 the number of engineers in the United States nearly doubled, rising from 800,000 to about 1.6 million. Some 75 percent of engineers work in industry and business predominantly in the manufacturing industries (aerospace, 13.85 percent; commercial R&D, 12.1 percent; computers, 9.2 percent; and electrical machinery, 7.0 percent). 2. The federal government is highly dependent on engineering tal- ent for many of its activities: About 6 percent of all engineers are employed directly by the government, and there is a higher proportion of engineers in the total government work force than in any other sector. Yet civil service regulations make it difficult for the federal government to compensate engineering employees at most experience levels and in most disciplines in a competitive fashion relative to indus- try. In view of the strong direct repellency on engineering talent for many of its most important activities, the federal government should review its compensation policies to ensure that it can competitively recruit and maintain a high-qua~ity engineering work force. 3. The fecleral government has become a dominant user of engi- neering goods and services throughout the economy, employing {directly or indirectly) approximately 30 percent of the engineering work force and driving a large share of the nation's R&D. 4. Data indicate that there are far fewer technicians and technolo- gists in the work force than there are engineers. The committee was initially concerned that this apparent weakness in engineering support implied an inefficient use of engineering resources. However, the com- mittee found that there is a built-in asymmetry in the data for these groups. That is, many technicians and most technologists define them

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106 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE selves in surveys as engineers, and many engineers do technician-level work. The occupational structure is thus not as top-heavy as it would appear to be. Because the system appears to find the most appropriate balance through market mechanisms, there is no need at the present time to take action to alter the technician/technologist/engineer balance. However, periodic monitoring of this balance would be advisable. 5. There is a recurrent perception of discrimination against female faculty members in assignment of teaching responsibilities, in selec- tion for research teams, and in granting tenure. College administrators shout] make a candid assessment of the attractiveness of academic life for women faculty members and, if negative aspects such as these are found, they should take firm steps to eliminate them. 6. Based on panel survey findings, industry generally believes that there is an upward trend in the quality {i.e., technical and/or intrinsic ability) of recent engineering graduates. However, most companies find that the contemporary graduate lacks the ability to step into a job and become immediately productive. Often six months to a year of additional training is required to acclimate the person to the require- ments of the job. Key shortcomings here are skills in communication, group interaction {teamwork), and technical project management. 7. With the exception of short-term problems in certain industries, the committee found no evidence of an overall imbalance in supply and demand for engineers. These problems appear to be recurrent and even- tually self-correcting {relying on market forces). However, the flexibil- ity and responsiveness of the educational system is a critical factor. 8. Given present limitations in our ability to forecast economic trends and other national and international factors, it is impossible to design systems for predicting or managing supply and demand for engi- neers in any meaningful way. 9. The engineering educational institutions have proven to be remarkably adaptable over a Tong period of time, and individuals have been generally flexible in responding to change-although spot short- ages and individual hardship have not been entirely avoided. Despite numerous stresses the system continues to function reasonably well today. No actions should be taken that would fundamentally alter the functioning of the engineering system. However, serious problems of

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UTILIZATION OF ENGINEERING RESOURCES 107 support, of curricula, of policy and practice must be addressed if that adaptabilityandflexibiJityare to bema~ntained. 10. There are serious concerns about the dislocation of engineers that takes place when major changes in demand occur. Often, it is shifts in government funding for defense that drives these changes. Such events cause considerable stress for individuals and within disciplines. They also result In inefficient use of engineering resources. The com- mittee finds that effective continuing education throughout a career holds great promise for keeping engineers flexible enough to anticipate and avoid great harm from technological obsolescence and changing demand. 11. The utilization of engineers from a managerial standpoint is an important issue. Management practices that foster an atmosphere in which creativity and innovation are encouraged can tap those poten- tials in their engineering employees. Thus there is a need for corpora- tions and government agencies to examine the relationship between their engineering management practices and general management goals. References Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1983. National Survey of Professional, Administrative, Tech- nical, and Clerical Pay. College Placement Council. 1984. College Placement Council Salary Survey, No. 2 {March). Engineering Manpower Commission. 1983. Engineering and technology enrollments- Fall 1982. Pt. I: Engineering. Washington, D.C.: AAES. Engineering Manpower Commission. 1984a. Engineering and technology degrees, 1983. Pt. m By curriculum. Washington, D.C.: AAES. Engineering Manpower Commission.1984b. Engineering Manpower Bulletin, No.73. Ceils, J. 1982. The faculty shortage: The 1982 survey. Engineering Education ;Novem- ber), pp.147- 158. IEEE United States Activities Board. 1984. Profile of U.S. IEEE Women Members: Their Salaries, Demographics, Attitudes Toward the Workplace and Professional Status. New York: IEEE. National Science Board. 1983. Science Indicators: 1982. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation.1982a. Changing Employment Patterns of Scientists, Engi- neers, and Technicians in Manufacturing Industries: 1977-80. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation. 1982b. University-Industry Research Relationships: Myths, Realities, and Potentials. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation.

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108 ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE National Science Foundation. 1983. U.S. Scientists and Engineers. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation. 1984. Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resource Stud ies. Office of Technology Assessment. 1984. Computerized Manufacturing Automation: Employment, Education, and the Workplace. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Report of the Panel on Engineering Employment Characteristics, in preparation. Report of the Panel on Engineering Interactions With Society, in preparation. Report of the Panel on Graduate Education and Research, in preparation.