National Academies Press: OpenBook

Engineering Employment Characteristics (1985)

Chapter: 6. International Comparisons

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Suggested Citation:"6. International Comparisons." National Research Council. 1985. Engineering Employment Characteristics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/584.
Page 34
Suggested Citation:"6. International Comparisons." National Research Council. 1985. Engineering Employment Characteristics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/584.
Page 35

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6 Intemational Comparisons The characteristics of engineering work forces abroad are pertinent to issues of international industrial competitiveness, and the greater emphasis on product mad process technology abroad is a serious con- cern, but the panel had too little specific information in these areas to support precise conclusions. The impressive technical progress of Japan led to a study by the panel of available data on that nation's engineering capabilities, from which the following remarks are drawn. The data must be viewed as approximate at best. Throughout the 1970s, Japan produced at least twice as many B.S. engineers per 10,000 population as the United States and on the order of lo percept moreinabsolutenumbers {Table 13J. From 1965 to 1980, the number of scientists and engineers employed in RED increased 30 percent in the United States, 82 percent in West Germany, 131 percent in Japan, and 140 percent in the U.S.S.R. {Table 14~. Definitional problems no doubt exist. The relatively high number of scientists and engineers reported to be working in R&D in the U. S. S.R., for example, does not square with the apparent lag in that nation's industrial technology. Even so, however, Japan is clearly producing more technically trained people than the United States is. It has been reported that only about half of lapan's engineers actually enter the engineering profession. The rest become civil servants or managers in industry. In fact, about half of Tapan's senior civil servants and industrial directors are said to have engineering qualifications, a 34

INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS 35 TABLE 13 Output of Engineering B. S. Degrees for United States and Japan: 1971, 1975, and 1980 Engineering Degrees {B. S. ~Engineering Degrees {thousandsJ per 10,000 Populations Year usAa Japanb'C USA Japan 1971 50.0 55.9 2.44 5.30 1975 46.9 65.4 2.19 5.86 1980 68.9 73.5 3.1 6.22 NOTE: Initial tabulations provided by National Center for Education Statistics. aNational Center for Education Statistics. bStatistical Abstract of Education, Science and Culture. 1981 ed. Ministry of Educa- tion, Science and Culture, Japan. CUNESCO Statistical Yearbook. MU. S. Bureau of the Census. TABLE 14 Scientists and Engineers Employed in R&D, 1965-1980 % Increase Total Country From 1965 to 1980 (thousands) . United States 30 645 (1980) West Germany 82 111 {1977) Japan 131 273 {1978) U.S.S.R. 140 1,254 {1980) SOURCE: Science Indicators, 1980 {Washington, D.C.: National Science Board, 1981i. circumstance that must be contributing to that nation's industrial suc cess. The data suggest that the concentration ratios for engineers in Tapa- nese industry may be higher than in this country. To assess the effects of high or low concentration ratios, however, one must compare the ratios for more and less effective companies or nations in particular industries, and the panel had too little information to do so. Even if the data were available, one would have to look at other variables, includ- ing management and national political decisions.

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