Demand for Mechanical engineers [Mechanical engineering]

Demand for Mechanical engineers

A look at unemployment stats shows that some engineers are much better off than others

I frequently hear people say that engineers are in great demand, despite the fact that unemployment rates remain high. Some reports even say that engineers are in such high demand that companies can’t find enough of them. I’m skeptical about how true such statements are.

I have several family members and friends who are engineers struggling in this economy. One relative—a systems engineer—has been out of work for more than two years, despite having several years of experience and two graduate degrees. A friend who is a mechanical engineer and graduated two years ago still hasn’t found a job. Another friend, an industrial engineer, kept his job while all the other engineers at his company were laid off due to job elimination or outsourcing. So just what kinds of engineers are “in demand?”

Aarticle published earlier this week examined that question. The Post fact-checked U.S. president Barack Obama’s recent statements during a Google Plus ‘hangout’ session.

During the event, a woman asked the president why the government has extended and continues to issue H-1B visas when engineers such as her husband can’t find jobs. The president said that although not all engineering fields have equal demand at the moment, industry experts have advised him there are not enough highly skilled engineers for work in the high-tech domain. He added that “there’s a huge demand around this country for engineers, ” and “…where you’re seeing a lot of specialized demand is in engineering that’s related to the high-tech industries.” But when the woman said that her husband is a semiconductor engineer—one of the supposedly in-demand positions—the president was surprised.

What do these industry experts mean by highly skilled? Isn’t engineering, by definition, a field that requires advanced skills for the “high-tech domain?” So are these industry experts saying there simply aren’t enough engineers in general? Perhaps I’m an anomaly, with the number of engineers I know, but from my perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a huge shortage of them. I guess it boils down to what types of engineers companies are looking for.



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