Engineers Explained

The need for teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, minis ters, etc., certainly will continue to grow fast for some time to come, although not necessarily at the rateof the last fifteen years. But there already bas been a noticeable slowing down in the speed of increase in private industry’s demand for professional and technical workers. The amazing demand for these types of employees bad been based, basically, to the special defense demands of the mid- 1950s-the interval that began when the Korean war ended. Indeed, Joseph Froomkin estimates the change in defense spending, together with our growing attempt in space, was responsi ble for roughly one-quarter of the increase in industry’s employment of professional and technical workers during the 1950s.
The defense requirements of the 1950s meant a significant shift from spending on mass production equipment including tanks, mortars, trucks, ammunition, and the like. The total fell from
$4.7 billion in financial 1953 to $399 million in financial 1959. These costs more than doubled again inthe next five years, reaching a peak of $16.0 billion in fiscal 1964.
Froomkin limited himself to changes between 1950 and 1960 because the decennia l censuses provide the just comprehensive statistics of occupations broken down by sector. Froomkin’s evaluation is part of a larger study of work force and productivity now under way in the Bureau of Applied Social Research below the direction of Dr. A. J. Jaffe.
The Labor Department estimates that defense companies as a group employ, proportionately, two-thirds more professional and techni cal workers but 30 percent fewer semiskilled workers than all United States manufacturing companies. It’s barely surprising, then, that between 1954 and 1962 the variety of engineers used by industry increased by 276,000; meanwhile, all the engineering schools in the United States graduated only 250,000 engineers, and not all of them went to work for industry. Undoubtedly, industry was able to turn a great many managers, technicians, and crafts men into engineers. Indeed, about 40 percent of engineers do not have an engineering degree.

However, the shift in defense procurement ran its course; the great wave of increased spending on missiles as well as on military R. and D. came to a halt in 1964 and early 1965. The results were readily observable in the labor market. “We do not have the same across-the board volume demand for engineers as in previous years,” a North American Aviation spokesman said in the fall of 1964. “There is still a need for particular specialties,” the head of a Boston utilize ment company said, “but it is not the booming, blooming market of a few years ago. It’s a far cry from the days when an engineer could be hired first and then the manager would decide what to do with him.”And it’s suspicious that nondefense research and development
will take up the slack in this portion of the labor market. Discover extra information about research ic693cpu363 by navigating to our lofty portfolio. Although private industry performs three quarters of all R. Discover further on more information by browsing our salient use with. and the United States, it pays for just a third, and sector-funded research has been growing only half as rapidly as government financed R. and D. Additionally, a good many corporation beads are having distrustful second thoughts about the value they receive for their research dollars. Few companies, if any, are really cutting back; but many have determined, for the moment, at least, to stabilize the ratio of R. and D. outlays to sales.
Looking into the future, companies of engineers have scaled down their estimates of requirements. Some 543 corporations and government agencies, applying 40 percent of all degree-holding engineers, were surveyed in 1964 by the Engineering Manpower Commission of the Engineers Joint Council, a body representing almost all the professional engineering societies. These com panies and agencies projected only a 26 percent increase within their employment of engineers over the next decade. (Two years earlier they were anticipating a 45 percent increase.) There’s good reason to consider, therefore, the increase in professional and technical employment within the next five or ten years will be slower than it has really been in the previous decade-or than many outlooks of the future however suggest.*.

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