Parents Want Their Kids to be Engineers

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Parents Want Their Kids to be Engineers In a Harris Interactive? survey conducted on behalf of the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) with a grant from the United Engineering Foundation, engineering receives a higher rating from adults, whether or not they were parents, as a career choice for their children than either accounting or the ministry. When asked to use scale of one through ten to represent extremely displeased to extremely pleased if their child were to enter a particular profession, both accounting and the ministry receive high marks, with accounting receiving an overall rating of eight and the ministry a seven. Engineering and science, on the other hand, both receive ratings of nine out of ten.

The survey was released in conjunction with National Engineers Week, February 2-28, dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of engineering. Co-chairs for 2004 are The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) / IEEE-USA and the Fluor Corporation.

Ratings for engineering as a profession are consistent across all groups, regardless of respondents' familiarity with or interest level in engineering, gender, age, or level of education.

When asked to explain why they'd be pleased if their child went into engineering, to "make a positive contribution to society" is cited as often as to "earn a good salary." Other reasons given include the ability to do "interesting work" and the profession's prestige.

The survey reveals slight differences for why adults would be pleased depending on the child's gender. When discussing sons, 31 percent appreciate the ability to earn a good salary and 29 percent like that they can make a positive societal contribution. By contrast, 2.5 percent pick positive contributions to society as the prime reason they would be pleased if their daughters chose engineering, followed closely by good salary at 24 percent.

Perhaps another contributing factor is the high esteem with which the engineering profession is held among Americans. According to the survey, more than three out of four respondents, 77 percent, say engineers are largely responsible for a high standard of living. As compared to scientists, engineers are thought to create strong economic growth (69% vs.

25%), preserve national security (59% vs. 29%) and make strong leaders (56% vs. 32%).

Despite the positive views, and the fact that the survey finds that, on average, Americans are personally acquainted with six engineers, just one-third (33%) of those polled feel very or fairly well informed about engineers and engineering and only slightly more, four out of ten (40%), are interested in learning about engineers and engineering.

Still, 95 percent agree that engineers use old and new knowledge to solve practical problems and are involved in diverse fields and occupations. The vast majority recognizes the contributions of engineers to almost all aspects of life. When asked about engineers' level of involvement in transportation, for example, 98 percent of respondents acknowledge the contribution of engineers in building automobiles, airplanes, highways, bridges and tunnels. Ninety-five percent believe engineers are involved with spacecraft, electronics, and air conditioning and refrigeration.

When asked to describe what first comes to mind when they hear the word "engineer," respondents say an engineer "builds/constructs/makes (38%)," "designs/draws/plans (19%)" and does "mechanic/mechanical work (9%)."

Commenting on the survey, H Henry J. Hatch, P.E., Chair of the AAES Committee on the Public Awareness of Engineering (COPAE), notes that the positive public perception of engineers accurately reflects the important role the profession plays in all levels of society. "Engineering touches every part of our lives in a wide variety of ways," said Hatch. "These survey results are a strong indication that the vast majority of people support our work and our goals and offer a powerful endorsement of the profession."

The survey found that the most common source of information about engineers is from television news, cable and local. Those better informed and having a higher interest in the profession are more likely than those who are not to get that information through the Internet. The Internet is a more common news source for those who an informed about engineers (24% vs. 10% who are not informed), interested in engineering (21% vs. 9% who are not interested) and who know at least one engineer (17% vs. 3% for those who do not know any engineers).

Revised Date: February 25, 2004

-- Hasta Luego

Irshaad (Faster than Bruce Lee)

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Reply to
Irshaad
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I don't care what the survey says, my kid will be discouraged in entering the engineering profession. Most engieers work for large companies and when they become 50 or so, they are replaced by younger cheaper personel. As I have indicated before, I have been in Engineering for 32 years and I regret going into this field. I continue to do it to survive and if I am lucky I will be able to squeek by and pay my morgage and support my family.

If I became a plumber or electrician, I would have a big expensive house, a vacation home, and perhaps be retired by now.

Reply to
Finite Guy

I will also dicourage my children to go into this profession. I regret it and wish I had done something else with my life. Engineering sucks. I rate Engineering ZERO however you are alowed plus and minus 2. You can earn more money and respect doing something less vital.

Reply to
zoo tv

Yeah, I want my kids to be engineers. In spite of their lack of intellect, gross speech impediments and an arrogant, often fairytale attitude to life. Course I may have to wait till they finish their term as members of parlament................................................................... . kiuk kiuk!

DIYUL

Reply to
I Can Computer Services

The press release seems to be a strong indication that none of the survey respondents were actual engineers, OR that the AAES went to some effort to not break out the results by respondents' occupation, OR to not collect that data in the first place. The actual survey is alleged to be available at aaes.org, but I couldn't find it.

Two of my kids are lawyers. One is a future physician. I talked 'em out of engineering. It wasn't hard; just showed 'em my paycheck.

The actual engineering part is still fun, but there's a huge oversupply of engineers, so while the career doesn't always suck, the pay does. The slogan subhead on the AAES homepage is unintentionally bitterly ironic: "Representing the interest of engineers across America". Yeah, right.

-Mike-

Reply to
Mike Halloran

One could always work for a few years in engineering and move on to management or sales.

Reply to
rmp

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