If engineering has poor prospects, then why recruit?

On the one hand, it's all over the IEEE, the Internet, etc. that India and China are "stealing" engineering jobs from the USA.

On the other hand, the IEEE and university electrical engineering departments want to recruit more engineers.

Is it just me, or is there a disconnect?

If all the engineering jobs are being outsourced and never to come back, shouldn't the IEEE and university electrical engineering departments be CUTTING BACK on recruitment efforts? Wouldn't a greater supply of engineers mean a higher unemployment rate? Wouldn't the new engineers compete with the older engineers and engineering professors for jobs? Doesn't the IEEE contradict itself when it lobbies against outsourcing and H1-Bs while trying to encourage more high school and college students to be engineers?

If the outsourcing story turns out to be as overhyped as the dot-com takeover of a few years ago, the Asian Economic Crisis of 1997-1998, and the Japan takeover story of the 1980s, then where are the contrary views?


Reply to
Jason Hsu
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in article adlKb.715$ snipped-for-privacy@nwrddc01.gnilink.net, B J Conner at snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.coom wrote on 1/5/04 2:05 PM:

This idea is not new. Almost every EE seems to think that (s)he is good enough to make it through tough times. Almost all are wrong.

Do a Google search on Irwin Feerst.


Reply to
Repeating Rifle

Didn't claim it was a new ideal. I voted ( as a write in canidate ). for Irwin Feerst at least twice as president of the IEEE. As for EE s making it on their own - your right on. There seem to be a few here ( other threads ) that electrican are crooks or gangsters for not trying to make it all on their own.

Reply to
B J Conner

It's good to see that some folks still remember him. He was been dead for about 10 years. (He died of ALS.)

Reply to
John Gilmer

Well with Nimrods like DarkMatter what do you expect?

Reply to
Jagoff Jameson

The key word is all. Not all jobs are going oversees.

Reply to
Don Phillips



No, the market is expanding. There simply aren't enough qualified engineers for the next bubble. The politcos have tightened the H1b's so companies will outsource. We'll so who well this works. My prediction is "not so well".

You're assuming facts not in evidence (and listening to too much CBS news). There will always be a demand for good engineers, though perhaps not with the same specialty as the past generation.

Never look to the popular news to do anything other than hype the popular news. The economy *is* rebounding. History tells us that good people will be in short supply soon.

OTOH, if you're simply looking to be an engineer because you think the pay is good... FORGET IT! You'll never be a good engineer and very well may have your job oursourced many times over your career.

Reply to
Keith R. Williams

Irwin fought the management controlled IEEE. I saw no reason to join the IEEE, since it *was* run by corporate management and didn't represent me. A real professional association, like the AMA or BAR, I would have likely joined.

Reply to
Keith R. Williams

Me too, but then I date back to the days prior to the IEEE, when it was the IRE and AIEE.

Sadly, although the institute reforms being promoted by Feerst were long overdue, the man had no political savy at all, and literally drove all of his potential supporters out of his camp.

Combine this with the fact that the IEEE funding sources are rom power industry management, corporate members of the EIA and other largely management oriented groups, what would you expect?

IIRC, Feerst wanted the IEEE to function more like the AMA (which, first and foremost, promotes the personal situation, income, and status of medical practitioners with its academic activity coming a a distant second). Corporate influenced management say the IEEE as largely a journal publications group, often focusing on subject of very specialize and frequently arcane apects of the engineers work.

I personally suspect that the rank and file IEEE members, during Ferst's time, largely consisted of individuals (only one generation removed from performing manual labor or working in mundane clerical roles) that they missed his message entirely. Their personal egos reveled in the fact that they were now "professionals" (since they receive "Proceeding"), yet never compared their income or personal status to that of the medical, legal, and other "professionals".

But for ego, they would have compared their situation to that of IBEW electricians, or would have realized that they were living in much more modest homes than were most of the other "professional" and even "trade workers" in different work.

I believe Irwin Feerst worked hard to change this naive viewpoint, but with clueless engineers on one side, and corporate interests on the other, he never really had a chance to sell his message, even if he had had the skill.

Just my opinion.

Harry C.

p.s., Both me and many like me realized that the "good life" would not come from government or corporate employment, and went on our own after 2-3 years in industry. Industry does not like that, so they hired me back at 3X my original salary figure and I spent 12 more years with Raytheon before going out again as a consultant. Hell, why work for $90K/year when you can earn $400+/day plus expenses? (My membership in the IEEE never helped me with that!)

Reply to
Harry Conover

Exporting tech jobs to India? Alan Reynolds

January 4, 2004

Those afflicted with an irrational phobia about international trade used to confine their raving to manufactured goods, not services. But the United States is now said to be exporting high-paying service jobs to India, particularly in information technology.

Worrying about U.S. companies importing services from India is a classic example of the journalistic inclination to ignore the forest and focus on a few twigs. The United States is by far the world's biggest exporter of services, just as the United States is by far the leading exporter of goods.

The United States accounted for 18.1 percent of worldwide service exports in

2001, according to the WTO, up from 17 percent in 1990. India accounts for only 1.4 percent of world service exports. India is in 21st place among world exporters of services and in 30th place for goods. India is running a trade deficit of about $8 billion, and that country's imports rose 20 percent in 2003. China ranks fifth among world exporters of goods (although China accounts for 11 percent of U.S. imported goods), and it has a small and dwindling trade surplus. China's imports rose 40 percent in 2003. Hong Kong is a significant exporter of services, but it has a trade deficit with the United States.

The United States had a $64.8 billion trade BEG ITAL) surplus in services in

2002, despite economic stagnation in Europe and Japan. Services accounted for 30 percent of all U.S. exports and 43 percent ($3.1 billion) of U.S. exports to India.

Worrying about job changes among computer professionals is yet another example of the journalistic inclination to totally ignore any facts about the big picture and instead generalize from small and local anecdotes.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes these allegedly vanishing jobs among "computer and mathematical science occupations" -- i.e., computer programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, support specialists, network administrators, etc. These jobs exploded with the tech boom, rising

11.9 percent in 2000 alone, but such panicky hoarding of computer geeks was no more sustainable than 5,000 on NASDAQ. Even in 2002, however, employment in these computer-related occupations was nonetheless higher than in 1999, and so were salaries.

In 1999, there were 2,620,080 jobs in these computer-related professions at an average wage of $26.41. In 2002, there were 2,772,620 such jobs at $29.63 an hour ($61,630 a year). Figures on that specific job group are not available for 2003, but professional business service payrolls were up 2.3 percent by November, when compared with the year 2000, and jobs in information industries were up 4.9 percent. Jobs in the subgroup of "computer systems design and related services" are down slightly from last year but have risen steadily for the past three months.

The notion that service jobs are being lost to India is paradoxical because similar complaints about China or Japan invariably involved disparaging U.S. service jobs as "McJobs" -- inferior to working with a sewing machine or wrench. In the case of India, however, even the most menial computer service chores -- such as tech support and handling health insurance claims -- are now being glorified as "high-wage" jobs.

Past stories about "exporting jobs" also assumed those jobs had moved to countries with trade surpluses, such as Japan and Germany. But India has a sizable trade deficit, and it even had a deficit in services until 2002. This is not to suggest, however, that previous stories about trade surpluses being a sign of economic strength made sense. On the contrary, from 1990 to

2001, employment grew by 1.2 percent a year in the United States, but by only 0.3 percent in Japan and 0.1 percent in Germany.

Trade phobia has lost any sense of direction. The United States is now said to lose jobs to countries with trade deficits as well as to countries with trade surpluses, and to lose jobs in services as well as manufacturing. Some even suggest the United States will lose most service jobs to India and most manufacturing jobs to China. But without jobs, how could Americans keep buying all those imports?

A New York Times report claimed India is attracting a lot of direct investment from multinational corporations. Yet Morgan Stanley reports: "Private corporate investment (in India) is estimated to have declined to

4.7 percent of GDP in 2003 from 9.6 percent in 1996. ... In April to September 2003, FDI investments have declined by 63 percent compared to the same period last year."

The United States has always imported and exported services as well as goods. So what? Even if we ignore this country's huge and growing dominance of world service exports, it would still be delusional to speak of importing services as equivalent to exporting jobs. The notion that "exports create jobs" (every commerce secretary's favorite slogan) is neither more nor less true than the idea that imports create jobs. Work is involved in all creation and marketing of goods, services and financial assets. Work is also involved with the extra investment resulting from a net inflow of foreign capital, otherwise known as a "current account deficit." Growth of employment is related to growth of the economy, not to imports or exports or the gap between them.

If the United States was really losing more jobs than it was gaining, then employment would be falling. But employment is rising. There were 138.6 million civilians with jobs in November, up from 136.5 million a year earlier. The number of U.S. jobs doubled in fewer than 40 years. If the rapidly expanding number of jobs were inferior to the ones that preceded them, then incomes would be falling. But incomes, too, are rising. Real hourly compensation kept rising even in the recent recession and is now up more than 26 percent since 1980. Real disposable income (which excludes stock market gains) rose at a brisk 3.9 percent annual rate cent from April to November.

The media blitz about imported goods or services resulting in the best jobs being relocated to some variable list of countries -- first Japan and Germany, now India and China -- has never been anything more than unadulterated hogwash.

©2003 Creators Syndicate
Reply to


Your memory differs from my memory.

Irwin "got in trouble" because he went out of his way to document screwups by foreign born engineers who were hired on the cheap by (among others) contractors who were supposed to be building and testing the plumbing in nuclear plants.

On occasion he received silly "death threats" from Arabs living in the US.

He was at least as "savy" as most of those running for the democRAT nomination for President this year.

Reply to
John Gilmer

I said this months ago and everyone laughed at me. "Ha ha, there could

*never* be a shortage of engineers! Doom doom doom gloom gloom gloom." It wasn't *you* who laughed at me, to your credit.
Reply to
Garrett Mace

It certainly wasn't me and certainly not six months ago. About that time I dropped every last cent of my 401k into stocks (I had a some in all along). My 401k was up over 40% for the year. It was obvious the economy was rebounding then. I called the recession two years before it hit too, but wasn't certain enough to get out completely. :-( This business is cyclic and nothing has changed.

Re: Good engineers. There will *always* be a need for good engineers, perhaps not in every specialty nor in every location. Soon there most likely will be a demand for some even not so good. ;-)

Re: Doom and gloom. Let the nay-sayers live in misery. They're simply looking for a government hand-out.

Reply to
Keith R. Williams

"If the United States was really losing more jobs than it was gaining, then employment would be falling. But employment is rising."

People have been unemployed so long that they drop off of the statistics. And the few that do get jobs are getting lower paid jobs or no jobs at all. I've been applying in the Northwest and haven't received back one God Damn reply yet. People who I work with are experiencing the same God Damn thing. If US companies want to outsource then they can outsource the God Damn executive staff along with the rank and file. And they can live overseas if they want to keep their jobs. Then we'll see how popular outsourcing really is. You quoted a lot of numbers. The true number is American people are losing jobs because greedy companies want to have a better bottom line. There needs to be legislation forcing US companies to hire a very high percentage of American workers or GET THE HELL OUT OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND STAY THE HELL OUT!!!!!!!

tbx135 wrote:

Reply to

in article snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com, Harry Conover at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote on 1/5/04 10:26 PM:

What really killed Feerst's mission was that he died. He came down with AKS more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and a bad way to go.

Feerst was a bit heavy handed. But sometimes that is necessary.


Reply to
Repeating Rifle

in article d_AKb.22219$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr33.news.prodigy.com, tbx135 at snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote on 1/6/04 8:02 AM:

It would take someone more prejudiced than me to say that an American deserves to live better than other nationalities just because (s)he is an American. Why should a hard working well educated Indian (or any other nationality) have a lower standard of living. I see no fundamental reason.

Now people join together all the time to get an unfair leg up on other people. If you want to go that route, we should become more isolationist and xeonophobic. Don't help foreign students become future competition to us by letting them study in US universities with Government subsidy. Practice more mercantilism. Throw out all the rat politicians that are willing to sell rope to hang ourselves just to make a profit now rather than lately. Look into the mirror to look at the culprit that will buy foreign goods at the expense of American workers. Look at the most greedy capitalists that want to share increased productivity with the workers or the public. There is plenty of blame to go around.


Reply to
Repeating Rifle

in article u6CKb.25355$ snipped-for-privacy@twister.rdc-kc.rr.com, Garrett Mace at snipped-for-privacy@macetech.com wrote on 1/6/04 9:19 AM:

There never was a shortage of any engineers except for the geniuses. If the were, good engineers would get paid as much as good lawyers.

Use the following criterion to determine when your management REALLY believes there is a shortage engineers. When they see you doing work that could be done by a secretary, clerk, gofer, technician or other supposedly more available lower cost personnel, do they tell you to stop and make sure you get such help so that you can do your engineering work? When that happens, there might actually be a shortage of engineers.


Reply to
Repeating Rifle

That's why we were paying signing bonuses and bonuses for just for

*leads* in 2000! There was no shortage! Ah!

Many do. ...at least as much as a lawyer working for someone else. Many engineers that own their own firm do as well as partners in law firms. Though lawyers aren't a good comparison (they're a dime a dozen ;-). Doctors do a much better job at controlling supply and working conditions, but the HMO is putting an end to that gravy train.

Irrelevant. Management doesn't care how long a task takes, only that it get done on time and on/under budget. Engineers are paid salary. Technicians and secretaries are paid overtime. ...the main reason engineers are used for administrivia (that, and of course, they're willing).

Also a technician costs my boss (project) the same as an engineer (~$200K-$250K/yr). If you were management which would you hire, given one increase in headcount? Stupid, but that's business. I've fought this battle several times and have only won a small number of times, but when times get tough...

Reply to
Keith R. Williams

That's not how unemployment statistics are generated. They do not count the number collecting unemployment insurance, thus "drop off after a half year.

Work is better than starving (BTW, this recession is *nothing* like the '70s). This situation will turn around shortly. Anyone taking advantage of the situation (low cost of labor because of "high" unemployment) will soon find he has no employees.


Wow, what a suggestion. Not! Why don't *you* become management and make all those bucks, instead of demanding a handout from government (I.e. everyone else).

As is their legal responsibility to their owners.

Ok, they already do that to avoid taxes. ...and I bet you whine about that too! Yep, the old "nose and face" syndrome.

Reply to
Keith R. Williams

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