Is There an Engineering Shortage in the United States?

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Can you imagine a world without engineers? Without them, there would be no road and bridges to connect states and the country to the rest of the world. There would be no robots, appliances, and mobile phones. Humans could not go to space.

It’s safe to say that without them, survival on this planet would be difficult, if not impossible. That’s why the lingering question of whether there’s an engineering shortage in America matters.

Where Are the Engineers?

The growing popularity of industrial automation engineering services stems from the supposed labor shortage.

Automating specific engineering processes decrease the business’s need for these professionals. In turn, they can remain competitive without spending more on labor costs. The system also makes a more predictable manufacturing flow. It can significantly assist in forecasting raw material purchases, as well as inventory and supply chain.

In the 2018 Emerson survey, about 2 out of 5 respondents said that the shortage of STEM workers in the country was already at a critical level. One of the principal reasons is the demand doesn’t match with the supply. The survey mentioned that students today are twice likely to study a STEM-related course than their parents. But STEM industries are growing at a much faster pace.

By 2025, the manufacturing industry would have 3.5 million jobs available, yet today, the same sector has issues filling more than 1.5 million positions. For Randstad North America, the root cause of the STEM labor shortage is different. It comes from the students’ lack of understanding or knowledge about the field.

In their survey among 11 to 17-year-olds, over 50% said that they didn’t know a person who was a STEM worker. It can imply that they are not familiar with the skills necessary to land such a job. The consulting firm also revealed that these students are less likely to pursue STEM subjects once they grow old.

In his report Falling Off the Flat Earth, Norman Augustine, chairman of Lockheed Martin Corporation, cited the decline of engineering graduates in the United States. In 2002, no more than 70,000 Americans became new engineers. During the same period, Asia produced over 600,000 of them.

It’s Not the Same

engineering students

Augustine, however, went on to mention that generalizing the STEM labor shortage may be unfair. For example, the number of IT graduates ballooned over the years.

The United States still ranked third in 2017 among the countries with the highest STEM graduates, according to Statista. It only came next to China and India, which has two of the world’s biggest populations.

In 2010, Tech Crunch revealed that even if China and India produced more graduates than the United States, the quality of their engineers still paled in comparison to that of the United States.

Overall, there’s a growing STEM worker shortage in the United States, but it hasn’t reached a point of no return yet. Schools need to intensify their STEM programs to inspire kids to take these fields once they’re older. Businesses, on the other hand, should learn to cope with the possible gap by investing in automation today.

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