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July 25, 1974 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-07-25

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Thursday, July 25, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Engineering graduates
now in greater demand

By DANIEL HA *EY
Associated Press Writer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Tiere
was a question of timing 'two
years ago when Ricnard Burke
began studying for an advanced
degree in engineering.
Defense contracts were ,hriv-
eling and space research was
evaporating into a memory.
Thousands of engineers were
losing their jobs.
FOR BURKE and 4?,I100w her
engineers who finished school
in the United States this sprsog,
things could hardly have look-
ed worse.
Now they could not be better.
All of a sudden, there is a
shortage of engineers. Industry
recruiters are convinced It will
get wrse next year and stay
that way until at least 1979
HERBERT HOLLOMONl, i-
rector of the Center for Policy
Research at Massachuse-ts in-
stitute of Technology, -aid,
"The demand has not increased
very much, although it has in-
creased . . the significant
thing is not the rise in demand.
It's the decrease in supply.
Burke, a cheerful 24-yea.- old
from Rexford, N.Y., went to
MIT to learn how to design
ships. He had 20 job interviews
and eight offers.
"It got to the point where we
had to refuse interviews, be-
cause we didn't have time to do
school work," Burke said.
"There's no problem getting a
job. It's just a matter of how
manv offers you get."
THE JOB he finally accepted
requires him to evauane dam-
age to ships which collide at sea.
The U.S. Bureau sf Labor
Statistics says there are 73,700
engineering job apeniags in
1974, of which 27,000 are being
filled from unemploved engi-
neers or from promotions and
transfers within a company. The
remaining 46,700 openings are
for the 42,000 graduraes t h is

spring.
Thousands of compai:s iat
design everything from r-adios
to oil rigs, computers t: )eter
coolers, need engineers F o r
them, the problem boils down
to a saipply that doesn't s-eet
their demand.
JEAN KESSLER of the Col-
lege Placement ''o'nsil said
cotnnany recriters are even
more worried abot h - upsly
next year, whe' the qra1ting
class across the natisn will be
only 9,000 engineers.
"Yes, we're worried," s a i d
Mark Abbett, chief rermtec or
the development division of
Diaital Equipment Carp.
Digital is a fast-growing co m-
puter company. Abbett says it
will need about 700 new engi-
neers next year.
"We've really got to do a lot
of planning, cultivating scanools,
making ourselves known, talking
to faculty, planning curricula-
whatever it takes to get the
inside track.
"The days are gone of being
able to recruit once a year in
the spring," Abbett said. "You
have got to slug it out."
AT LEAST part of the short-
age began with tremors that
rippled through engineering
when the government began re-
ducing defense and aerospace
spending in 1970.
Thousands of engineers who
limited their talents to knowing
all there was to know about cer-
tain bomber parts or satellite
antennae saw their jobs disap-
pear with government money.
Big electronics firms drasti-
cally reduced hiring. Raytheon
Co.. for example, hired 405 new
engineers in 1969. The next year
it hired.120. y
"ENROLLMENT dropped in
the 1970s as a result of the
wide publicity given to the dis-
placement of aerospace engi-
neers. For some reason, it af-

fected the enire en;gincering
field," said Kessler of the Col-
lege Placement Council.
Now the unemployed have ei-
ther left the profession or have
new jobs, in some cases after
learning new engineering skills,
according to Labor Department
statistics. Unemployment among
engineers is listed today as
'tearly zero. The engineering
schools are the major source
of new supply.
Since learning to be an en-
gineer is a four-year process,
it is possible to tell how many
new people will enter the field
next spring and for, the three
years after that.
NEXT YEAR'S graduating
class of 39,900 will drop even
further in 1976 and 1977, hitting
a low point of 34,500 in 1978. Af-
ter that the number of grad-
uates will begin to rise.
Companies that depend on en-
gineers are sharpening up for
intense competition next fall.
Even IBM, the huge computer
maker, said in a cautiously
worded statement, "If the cur-
rent trend holds, it could be-
come a concern."
"We're actively recruiting
now by offering students sim-
mer jobs at the lab while they
are still going through school.
We've used the program for the
past 10 years. We're pressing
it much more now," said a re-
cruiter for Avco Corp.
The competition translates in-
to more money. Recruiters said
starting salaries for new en-
gineers generally were about
$1,000 a year higher this sprinig
than last.
"Companies politely ask how
much you've been offered and
then politely offer a couple of
hundred dollars more," said one
new engineer.
Miss
vi L

A dog's best friend
Art teacher Shirley Greer poses next to her canine creation
outside her home in Madison, Ill. Under her supervision, the
city's children have undertaken the task of painting all the
local fire hydrants to resemble various comic strip characters.
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donation 8:00 p.m.
aCol 763-1 172 daily for
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