USA Under-counting Engineering Graduates
Posted on December 13, 2005 Comments (20)
A very interesting report has been published by Duke’s Pratt Engineering School: Framing the Engineering Outsourcing Debate by: Dr. Gary Gereffi and Vivek Wadhwa – Primary Student Researchers: Ben Rissing, Kiran Kalakuntla, Soomi Cheong, Qi Weng, Nishanth Lingamneni. I strongly recommend reading this report. Report Appendix with data:
The report puts the 2004 figures, based on their operational definition of a engineering degree at:
The fact that there are fewer equivalent degrees in India and China doesn’t amaze me. Tripling the degrees in America does surprise me. If I understand the report this is due to including IT and computer science degrees (that are included in China and India counts) and including subbaccalaureate degrees (also included by China and India). In practice, US data includes some IT and CS degrees as engineering and some not (depending on how the school classifies them I believe).
These types of distinctions are exactly the type of additional information that can be very important to consider when drawing conclusions based on data. While agree that looking at the percentage of the population is worthwhile, I think the report may over emphasis this measure. If looking at how much engineering ability China and India are bringing online what is most interesting is the absolute measure of that capability. However, this is a minor point and overall this is a great report. I wrote about this some previously (Worldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree Data and Engineering Education and Innovation). I wonder what the percentages are for countries like Korea, Singapore and some in Europe?
An import figure and one that will be interesting to track going forward, my belief is it will have to go down (even if the totals increase in the USA they will not increase as fast as China and India and probably not as fast as the world overall – but that is merely speculation). And the report closes with:
Links to stories on the report:
- About That Engineering Gap… by Vivek Wadhwa (one of the report authors), Business Week online.
- Fears Of China And India Swamping U.S. Engineers Could Be Overblown, Study Says by Sheila Riley, Investor’s Business Daily.
- U.S. Engineers Undercounted, Red Herring
- Study: Tech outlook rosy by David Ranii
- US ‘ahead in producing technologists’ by Amy Yee