TABLE 5-1 Comparison of Career Experiences of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Tokyo Engineering Graduates, 1993

 

MIT

Tokyo

Have never changed companies in career

29.8%

83.8%

Most desired career path

have own company (25.7%)

climb the organizational ladder (40.2%)

Defense-related job

14.9%

  0.9%

Technology-related job

54.8%

67.8%

Manufacturing-related job

  5.0%

12.1%

NOTE: The survey was sent to engineering graduates from both schools for years 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1985.

SOURCES: Compiled from Masamichi Ishii, Yoshiko Yokoo, and Yukihiro Hirano, “Comparative Study on Career Distribution and Job Consciousness of Engineering Graduates in Japan and the U.S.,” NISTEP Study Material, No. 28, March 1993.

industries.2 In the mid 1990s, the gains in competitiveness made by U.S. companies in industries such as automobiles led to a renewed demand for engineers. At the same time, defense budget cuts have led to layoffs of engineers at defense companies. This has led to growing interest in alternative careers for engineers from defense industries.3

Corporate Context for Continuing Engineering Education in Industry

Since job mobility is high among U.S. engineers, companies are reluctant to invest large amounts of resources in training and continuing education. Education is considered a benefit rather than an investment in essential capabilities. In tough times, education budgets are among the first to be cut. Also, there is a wide variety of engineering education practices among U.S. companies. Some large companies have extensive in-house programs and provide educational benefits such as time off and support to pursue outside training, while others do not.4 Smaller companies and consulting firms are generally unable to provide in-house training, and are financially constrained from offering educational benefits.

Competitive Context for the Content of Continuing Engineering Training

Particularly in U.S. manufacturing companies that have had to cope with competition from rivals in Japan and elsewhere, a significant focus of attention and resources for training has been in the adaptation of methodologies associated with the Toyota production system and other “pull-based” manufacturing systems, such as just-in-time inventory management, total quality management, concurrent engineering and others. Within manufacturing companies, the demand



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