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2 The Engmeerirlg Work Force Numbers and Characteristics Engineers The engineering work force in this country has grown steadily for many years. The number of employed engineers almost doubled, to more than 1.5 million, between 1960 and 1982 {Figure 1~. The number of engineers grew faster than the total employed population from 1900 through 1970, but lost ground relatively during the next decade because of unusually sharp growth {27.5 percentJ in the employed population {Figure 2J. Engineers comprised 1.4 percent of the employed population in 1980, down from a peak of 1.6 percent in 1970. The growth in engineering employment in recent years has been especially strong in the manufacturing industries.2 Overall employ- ment in these industries grew less than 3 percent during 1977-1980, while engineering employment climbed 20 percent. Even in mature industries with declining employment, engineering employment remained relatively stable. These trends reflect both the impact of new technology on emerging businesses and the need of established indus- tries to use advanced technology to upgrade their productivity and product quality to meet intense international competition. The leading engineering disciplines, in absolute numbers, are electri- cal/electronic, mechanical, and civil engineering I Figure 3~. The fast- est-growing disciplines since 1960 have been electrical/electronics and industrial engineering Figure 4~. The "other" category of engineers 7

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8 1,600 1,400 1 ,200 1 ,000 By ~ 800 o I 600 400 200 ENGINEERING EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS - 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1970 1974 1978 1982 1960 FIGURE 1 Employed engineering manpower, 1960-1982. SOURCES: 1960: BLS OCCU- pation/Industry Matrix 1960; 1970: BLS Occupation/Industry Matrix 1978; 1974- 1982: BLS Employment and Earnings. Which includes environmental engineers, bioengineers, nuclear engi- neers, and so on) also has grown strongly, especially since about 1979, while the numbers of aeronautical engineers have grown more slowly. The growth in the numbers of electrical/electronics engineers reflects the emergence of electronics as a critical element of products, processes, and services throughout the economy. The growth in indus- trial engineering* in part reflects industry's efforts to improve produc- tivity, product quality, and cost competitiveness.2 The growth in the "other" category is due to the emergence of new fields of engineering, such as environmental engineering and bioengineering, while the slower growth in aeronautical engineering results from the relative decline of investment in the aerospace program and in new aircraft systems. *Industrial engineering involves operations research, time-motion analy- sis, design of data processing and management systems, and other tasks that fall under the general heading of scientific management of industrial opera- tions. New industrial engineering graduates numbered about 3,500 per year in the late 1970s and could meet no more than 20 percent of the demand.2 Thus, many people classified as industrial engineers have technical degrees in other fields or are upgraded technicians.

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THE ENGINEERING WORK FORCE 1 ,500,000 1 ,250,000 1 ,000,000 750,000 500,000 250,000 9 ENGINEERS / / ENGINEERS AS PERCENTAGE / OF WORK FORCE 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 ~2% FIGURE 2 Total engineers and engineers as a percentage of the total civilian work force, 1900-1980. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census. Computer Specialists The past decade or so has seen the emergence of computer specialists as a major category of technical manpower. The category is separate from engineering, but many computer specialists may be converted engineers. In any event, the number of people who reported to surveys as computer specialists more than doubled during 1970-1982, to about 750,000 Figure 5J; the growth pattern was about the same for systems analysts and programmers. We know that computer specialists make up a large and growing segment of the technically trained work force, but the specific relation- ship of this group to the engineering work force is unknown. [The data on the labor force reported here include all people who declared them- selves computer specialists, and they work in many fields in addition to

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10 ENGINEERING EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS 500 400 c'' 300 6 U' I 200 100 o 1 1 ..1.: - . -- --- MECHANICAL ~ _ . ELECTR ICAL/ ELECTRONIC . - OT H E R _~ CIVI L I N DUSTR lA L AERONAUTICAL CHEMICAL 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 - - 1960 1970 1974 1978 1982 FIGURE 3 Employed engineers, by discipline, 1960-1982. SOURCES: 1960: BLS OCCU- pation/Industry Matrix 1960; 1970: BLS Occupation/Industry Matrix 1978; 1974- 1982: BLS Employment and Earnings. 350 300 250 200 150 SCALE 1960 = 100 . _ V INDUSTR IAL ELECTRICAL/ ELECTRONIC . MECHANICAL ~ \ ~..- ~- \/ .---- CHEMICAL ~ OTHER / ~ ~ : .-- 1. AERONAUTICAL 50 O 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 982 1 960 1970 1974 1978 FIGURE 4 Employed engineers, by discipline, relative to 1960 employment, 1960- 1982. SOURCES: 1960: BLS Occupation/Industry Matrix 1960; 1970: BLS Occupation/ Industry Matrix 1978; 1974-1982: BLS Employment and Earnings.

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THE ENGINEERING WORK FORCE 11 engineering. It is not possible to separate the computer specialists who work specifically in engineering.) Even within the engineering work force the computer specialist category is not well characterized. In some companies, for example, programming specialists working with engineers are called software engineers, not computer specialists, and become "other" engineers in the data bases. Computer hardware spe- cialists are largely engineers Usually electrical; software specialists Systems analysts) may be engineers or mathematicians. Programmers are least likely to be engineers. Engineering Technicians The number of people reported to be engineering technicians in this country also has grown steadily Figure 6) and totaled about 1.1 million in 1982. The growth rate was similar to that for engineers until 1977, but faster thereafter. During 1977-1980, employment of engineering technicians in manufacturing industries rose more than 17 percent, paralleling the growth of engineering employment in those industries. Aging and Retirement Attrition of the engineering work force as a result of aging and retire- ment does not appear to be a serious problem. The data on age distribu- tion presage no age-related overall shortage of engineers Figure 7 ~ . This is so notwithstanding the imminence of retirement age for the many engineers who were graduated during the five years following the end of World War II. The data do suggest that the nation faces potential short- ages of mechanical and "other" engineers because of an aging work force {Figures A-1 through A-7). * Age profiles for chemical and electri- cal engineers and computer specialists reflect relatively young work forces in these disciplines. The engineering work force seems little affected by the change in the mandatory retirement age, from 65 to 70, that took effect in 1979. {The change was made in 1978 by amendment to the federal Age Discrimina- tion in Employment Act. ~ Relatively few engineers seem to be postpon- ing retirement. The numbers of people in engineering who do work after age 65, in the panel's experience, are being offset by the early retirement of others; the average retirement age is still hovering at 62 to 63. Similarly, the average age of companies' engineering employees is holding at 42 to 44. *All figures and tables with an A designation appear in Appendix A.

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[~ art C~S 1 ,600 1,000 _ o 1,400 1 ,200 9 800 600 400 200 o _ . 1970 1g74 1g78 1g82 FIGURE 5 Employed computer specialists 1970-1982. SouRcE~ 1970: BLS Occupa- don/Industry Latex 1978; 1974-1982: BLS Employment and Earnings. 1 ,600 1,400 1 ,200 1,000 ~ to _ 600 _ Too 200 _ O I I J I . ~1 1 1 ~# I 19~ lg70 lg74 lg78 lg82 PICO" 6 Employed engineering technicians, 1960-1982. SOURCES 1960: BLS Occu- pation/Indust~ Latex 1960; 1970: BLS Occupation/Industry Latex 1978; 1974- 1982: BLS Employment and Earnings.

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THE ENGINEERING WORK FORCE 20% _ 1 5% TOTA L - ENGINEERS TOTAL ~ - `` . EMPLOYED ~ at. TOTAL EMPLOYED IN ~ - SCIENCE OR ENGINEERING N~- W-. 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 24 & UNDER 25-29 30-34 35-39 4044 45~49 50-54 55-59 60-64 65~9 70 & OVER 13 FIGURE 7 Age distribution of all engineers. SOURCES: National Science Foundation, Bureau of the Census. Women in Engineering Women are underrepresented in engineering, and their percentage in the field is markedly lower than in other scientific fields and profes- sional occupations [Table 1 ) . During the past dozen years, however, the percentage of women in the engineering profession Not necessarily holding an engineering degree) has more than tripled, from 1.6 percent of all engineers in 1970 to 5.8 percent in 1983. Similarly, the proportion of women earning the bachelor's degree in engineering rose from 0.83 percent in 1970 to 13.2 percent in 1983,3 and women in the fall of 1983 comprised 16 percent of undergraduate engineers.4 The Engineering Manpower Commission has reported that the rate of entrance of women into engineering may be leveling off. Demand for women engineers is high, however, and their starting salaries are high and seem fully comparable to those being offered men, according to the College Placement Council. Thus, the reported flattening of women's enrollment may be only temporary. The ultimate percentage of women in the engineering work force is difficult to forecast, but women enter- ing the field could well counteract a decline in enrollment that might occur because of the falling numbers of college-age males. More than 75 percent of women engineers were employed in busi- ness and industry in 1980, according to National Science Foundation

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14 ENGINEERING EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS TABLE 1 Percentage of Women by Scientific and Engineering Occupations Occupation 1970 1982 1983a Computer specialists Engineers Life and physical scientists Operations and systems researchers Social scientists 19.3 1.6 13.1 18.2 All professional and technical 40.0 28.5 5.7 20.6 31.7 38.0 30.8 5.8 20.5 31.3 46.8 48.1 aData for 1983 are not precisely comparable with data for earlier years because of revision of procedures by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of the Census. data.5 The largest proportion of them, 12 percent, were in civil engi- neering; 11.7 percent were in electrical/electronics engineering; 11.7 percent in mechanical engineering; and 11 percent in chemical . . engmeermg. NSF data on women engineers disagree substantially with the data reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The reason may be that women with backgrounds in mathematics and science may be classi- fied as engineers in the BLS surveys. Further discussion of women in engineering appears in Appendix B. ~ Minorities in Engineering Blacks, Asians, and other minorities made up 4.6 percent of employed engineers in 1981.~ The number of black engineers almost doubled during 1976-1981, but was still only 1.4 percent of employed engineers. The number of Asians rose some 45 percent and comprised 2.8 percent of employed engineers. Hispanics in 1981 made up about 0.4 percent of employed engineers. Thus, blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in the engineering work force in terms of percentages of the population and percentages of all professional and related work- ers.~ The foregoing data are from the National Science Foundation; more recent data, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that blacks and people of Hispanic origin combined made up 4.9 percent of employed engineers in 1983. It was clear some years ago that blacks and Hispanics were not enter- ing the engineering and technical professions. Thus, in the early 1970s, private business, academe, and minority organizations launched seri

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THE ENGINEERING WORK FORCE 15 ous efforts to bring minorities into engineering.6 In this forward-look- ing effort, they made a commitment to increase the supply of minority engineers and backed it with sustained planning and financial support for programs designed to matriculate and graduate larger numbers of minority engineers annually. The National Action Council for Minori- ties in Engineering {NACME) was established and funded by industry to carry out the mandate. The resulting activities included the establishment of scholarships and other types of financial aid; special academic programs, including remedial work at both the secondary and college levels; telling the engineering story to young people unfamiliar with the profession; early recruiting; and social support systems for minorities on university campuses. These efforts produced gains in enrollment and graduation of minorities in engineering. In 1983, for example, 3,800 blacks, His- panics, and American Indians were graduated as B.S. engineers,-com- pared with 1,300 in 1973. Freshman minority enrollment in engineering tripled in the same period. While these efforts have had an obvious effect, recruitment of underrepresented minorities has leveled off. The number of blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians in fresh- man-engineering classes in the fall of 1982 all declined from the pre- vious year. 7 Certainly, in assessing strategies for recruiting and graduating an increasing number of minority engineers, the nation must take into account certain social and cultural conditions that have impinged on the willingness of minorities to enter the engineering profession. A panel member undertook an informal investigation of minorities in engineering; the report is presented in Appendix C.