Engineer Shortage—A Myth That is as Bad as A Guile

by Milton Alpern, (F.ASCE), Principal; Alpern and Soifer, Consulting Engrs., Massapequa, NY,

Serial Information: Engineering Issues: Journal of Professional Activities, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 4, Pg. 441-447

Document Type: Journal Paper


The public warnings of a present and future Engineer Shortage and indiscriminate encouragement of youngsters into an engineering career is a mistake. They ignore the realities of the supply and demand economy and are contrary to best interests of the public and the profession since the best of engineering is not possible in a condition of oversupply of engineers. Let us instead provide for a quality control limitation of entry into the profession by an honest guidance program of selection based solely on high motivation and probability of competence. Paralleling this effort, we should redesign the profession so as to upgrade the professionalism of engineering education and the legal and economic recognition of engineers with a net goal that all engineering work affecting public life, health, and property be legally reserved for only such engineers. The first step toward that goal is to now provide honest guidance and filtration at the entrance to the profession.

Subject Headings: Engineering education | Legal affairs | Public health and safety | Professional development | Public participation | Quality control | Motivation | Probability

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