IHS ESDU Blog Blog

IHS ESDU Blog

IHS ESDU provides validated information, insight and tools for engineering design. ESDU analytical methods and tools and rigorously evaluated data collections are used to assist and improve fundamental design and analysis in safety-critical industries such as Aerospace & Defense, Oil & Gas, Chemicals and Nuclear, and in Academia and Research. ESDU provides guidance on more than 1500 specific topics in a variety of aerospace, mechanical, structural and process engineering areas such as aerodynamics, aircraft noise, aerospace structures, composites, fatigue, stress and strength, vibration, heat transfer and fluid mechanics. Click here to watch a video and learn more.

Previous in Blog: ESDU Challenge: Spoiler on a Wing   Next in Blog: ESDU Challenge: Sound and Wind Speed
Close
Close
Close
12 comments

Aging Engineers

Posted July 28, 2014 4:35 PM by SavvyExacta
Pathfinder Tags: ESDU

The alarms sounding the retirement of baby-boomer engineers have been going off for quite a while. But the widening skills gap they are leaving threatens to undermine the long-term strength and vitality of the engineering sector.

In both the Aerospace & Defence and the Petrochemical sectors, years of cost-cutting have resulted in the loss of many engineering jobs:

  • Thousands of jobs have been outsourced
  • There has been less investment in recruiting and training new engineers

As existing engineers retire, there is a shortage of available engineers to fill their shoes.

How will this effect the future of engineering?

Read the full article, The Aging Generation of Engineers.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: at the beach in Florida
Posts: 31317
Good Answers: 1733
#1

Re: Aging Engineers

07/28/2014 5:19 PM

Not sure.....

__________________
Break a sweat everyday doing something you enjoy
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Earth - I think.
Posts: 2143
Good Answers: 165
#2

Re: Aging Engineers

07/28/2014 6:10 PM

Aging Engineers

I resemble that remark.

__________________
TANSTAAFL (If you don't know what that means, Google it - yourself)
Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member Technical Fields - Architecture - New Member Hobbies - HAM Radio - New Member

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 2168
Good Answers: 70
#3

Re: Aging Engineers

07/28/2014 9:02 PM

"Worse, the continuing trend for fewer and fewer students to show an interest in science and engineering, is making the pool of new graduates from which companies can draw new engineers even shallower."

...I wonder if this trend is specific to the US.

I'm a little biased here as they "tossed" my entire department to make the bottom line look better. A lot of skills were lost but they didn't care sooo...I guess I don't really care either!

__________________
Tom - "Hoping my ship will come in before the dock rots!"
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Out of your mind! Not in sight!
Posts: 4425
Good Answers: 107
#4

Re: Aging Engineers

07/28/2014 9:12 PM

I am very sure, based on personal experience that even the young engineers age.

But then "Outsourcing" is not really a loss of engineers if we do not outsource them to the graveyards.

So what exactly are we saying here?

Last I looked there was still engineering studies in the universities.

__________________
Common Sense Dictates
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Savannah, GA. The post office decided to change my address again.
Posts: 253
Good Answers: 19
#5

Re: Aging Engineers

07/28/2014 10:07 PM

Yes, but, these young and upcoming engineers NEED mentoring at the side of seasoned pro's as they enter the real world. I have met some that are so cockey it's scary and couldn't engineer their way out of a paper bag. Some (and I stress SOME) enter the field think they have already earned the stripes that only experience can bring and demand respect from everyone that they don't deserve. No I'm not and engineer but I prefer dealing with pro's that don't live "in theory" as I work in reality. So for you "OLD GUYS" (some are cantankerous) just please stick around till they get their footing.

Thanks

__________________
Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.(Lord Chesterfield)
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
New Zealand - Member - Kiwi Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Engineering Fields - Power Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 8778
Good Answers: 376
#6

Re: Aging Engineers

07/29/2014 12:24 AM

How will this effect the future of engineering?

Well ESDU propose paying them to provide the analysis and answers.

Yea right, more likely they will just ask their questions on CR4 for free in the hope we 'aging' Engineers will give them a quick answer.

;)

Surprisingly this may actually work as once the old Engineers are replaced by the new the new can just look at the CR4 archived history and use that to answer many of the questions asked in the future. Robots and flying cars will still need suitably sized busbars and cables too!

;)

__________________
jack of all trades
Reply
2
Power-User

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 306
Good Answers: 12
#7

Re: Aging Engineers

07/29/2014 12:43 AM

It's the same here in Oz.

The issue is simply pay. To the general public, the word "engineer" rolls of the tongue along with "Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers", but the pay does not even remotely come close. I've heard many senior engineers say to their younger counterparts that if they are in it for the money to better find another job as most engineers work for satisfaction and passion.

I believe that this generation knows that money is not in engineering so they pursue pay rather than satisfaction. Hence our todays and future problem.

Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
3
Guru
Canada - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Canada but south of 49
Posts: 894
Good Answers: 20
#8
In reply to #5

Re: Aging Engineers

07/29/2014 8:41 AM

Yes the new guys need mentoring, but along with that, they need to be able to apply new ideas and technology. Too often I have seen the "old guard" stick with what they are familiar with, even when newer technology could be used more efficiently, both in practice and cost. Indeed there are times when the old stuff actually works better than the new stuff, but only having tried does anyone know that.

Call me fortunate that I have had a few mentors that actually "taught" me something, but I have also had my share of run-ins with other so called "mentors" whom, as you mentioned, can be cantankerous and set in their ways. I have mentored others as well, and hopefully helped them along there way.

But the best comment I ever received wasn't from my peers, but from the tradesmen who completed my designs,, I got the title of "practical" engineer because I shared my thoughts with them and actively asked for the opinions and ideas - after all, one engineer can't think of everything, and when you work in a department of 1, you need all the ideas you can get.

__________________
Never stop learning
Reply Good Answer (Score 3)
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Fans of Old Computers - PDP 11 - New Member Technical Fields - Architecture - New Member Hobbies - HAM Radio - New Member

Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 2168
Good Answers: 70
#9

Re: Aging Engineers

07/29/2014 9:53 AM

At one point in my Program Management phase of my career, I was assigned as the "mentor/assistant" to a younger PM that would be in charge of the excecution phase of a project that I had initiated/built...I'm not as good as others at the day-to-day stuff but can do the initial phases very well. My boss recognized this and hired the new PM to be my direct supervisor. He and I had a sit-down discussion when he started and he was so pleased that he had me to show him around the company. I acted as his chief of staff and continued to managed the people that had built the system, leaving him free to learn the ropes of the project. When he needed advise on how to deal with certain groups or people, both inside the company and in the Government, he would ask me to be his point man initially until he was comfortable dealing with them directly. The only reason I left the group was I was getting bored having worked on the same project for several years. In hind sight, if I had stayed I'd still be doing the same things today. There is value in "knowing where all the bones are buried" ...but I'm happy retired.

__________________
Tom - "Hoping my ship will come in before the dock rots!"
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Savannah, GA. The post office decided to change my address again.
Posts: 253
Good Answers: 19
#10
In reply to #8

Re: Aging Engineers

07/29/2014 7:52 PM

Wish I'd said that.

Not saying that the old guard is the best, just saying they are tempered (some to the point of inflexibility) to the discipline of engineering. yes new "outside the box" ideas are great but what good are they iff'n you cant make 'em work or fix 'em when they break!

My eldest is a structural engineer at Honda Jet and my statement to him was if I ever caught him designing something that the guys in the field would cuss him for I'd put my foot in his a$$.

Speaking as one of the guys in the field!

Thanks

__________________
Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.(Lord Chesterfield)
Reply
Guru
Canada - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Canada but south of 49
Posts: 894
Good Answers: 20
#11
In reply to #10

Re: Aging Engineers

07/30/2014 9:01 AM

Credit where credit is due. One does not have to be an engineer to have a good idea. Some of my best ideas got "shelved" when the shop floor got cleaned, had to come up with an immediate fix and it ended up as a chalk "drawing" on the floor, something that my guys could understand and implement immediately.

__________________
Never stop learning
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 42296
Good Answers: 1663
#12

Re: Aging Engineers

07/30/2014 7:09 PM

The lack of competent engineers today is painfully obvious by looking at some of the questions posted here.

"Engineers" today want to do their "work" at a keyboard. My background is mechanical/materials and you need to be able to see things in your mind, not on a screen. And clean hands? How can you know how things work if you've never taken one apart.

My kid's a computer engineer. He couldn't change a spark plug if he had to. But, he supports fighting Marines in the field from the USA, so he has some worth.

American industry has become a slave to Wall Street and is beginning to look like they have lost interest in producing quality products. It's more about cheap, cheap cheap.

Welcome to the world economy, where Walmart now dictates the price.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 12 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

daffy (1); IdeaSmith (1); jack of all trades (1); Kevin LaPaire (2); Kilowatt0 (1); lyn (1); SolarEagle (1); Tom_Consulting (2); Wrench twirler (2)

Previous in Blog: ESDU Challenge: Spoiler on a Wing   Next in Blog: ESDU Challenge: Sound and Wind Speed

Advertisement