6 responses to “Engineering, a Respected Profession?”

  1. Emil

    “The invisible hand of Adam Smith — supply and demand — ultimately determines how we’re paid.”

    Does it? I live in a European country where the media regularly brings up the fact that we have a shortage of engineers. The government is sponsoring campaigns to encourage students to pursue engineering. And the starting wage for a newly graduated engineer? About 2,500 Euros per month. That’s after you pick up some experience interning or, as I like to call it, WORKING FOR FREE! If supply and demand had anything to do with how engineers get paid, they’d be getting paid a lot more.

    1. Fluxor

      I can’t speak of the European experience having never lived there nor looked into the issue. However, the media in North America also often trots out the shortage of scientists and engineers trope. But is there really a shortage? Data seems to point to the fact that there is indeed not an under-supply of scientists and engineers. Cherish mentioned this in her post on US work visas two weeks ago and FrauTech has also discussed this topic over at her own blog. The supposed shortages are also very sub-industry specific. I imagine the situation is similar in Europe.

      Having said that, 2500 Euros/month isn’t all that much lower than what a new graduate gets paid in Canada, if at all, once you figure in the longer vacation times and the higher overhead per worker in Europe.

  2. Wulf The Engineer

    I would be interested to see if a poll of Americans would produce the same distribution. Canada has a considerable French influence. From what I understand Engineers in non-Anglo-Saxon countries are held in higher esteem than in English speaking countries. In Anglo-Saxon countries Engineers have roots in the trades and in France and other countries they derived more from the University influence and had more prestige and exposure to the public as people who made the world more livable.

    Engineering in America consists of anonymous Engineers creating for wealthy politicians or business people who in turn claim they did it. It’s much like a woman who has taken nine months to create a human being and the doctor spends twenty minutes with her, delivers the baby, and gets the credit for bringing a child into the world. Who is Donald Trump?—why he built the Trump Tower–you didn’t know that?—you’re fired.

    Oh….and if Engineers made a median salary of $900,000 per year…there would be television programs about them—hopefully better than Cribs—or Engineer Fred MacMurray on My Three Sons.

    1. Fluxor

      Canada is one of five Anglo-Saxon countries. Sure, it has a large French speaking population, but I think you overstate the French influence in Canada outside of the monolingual French-speaking province of Quebec, where the vast majority of francophones are concentrated. The survey was taken in the monolingual English-speaking province of Ontario only.

  3. Not Your Father's Career | Engineer Blogs

    […] what engineering means as a profession. I remember earlier this year when we asked on here whether engineering was a respected profession. But now I think there’s a new question being asked: whether engineering is a stable […]

  4. Eothel

    I would like to check the methodology of this survey, as it is most likely highly biased. It was commisioned by the society of professional engineers, which are hardly an impartial party. On the contrary of what is indicated by this survey, I believe from my experience that 50% of people have no idea what engineers do, and the rest think that engineers are mechanics/technicians.