Topics: Why are older engineers under-appreciated?
on General Discussion
Why are older engineers under-appreciated?
I have been through Hell and back in my professional career and have tried to share part of it with you. My pride in the field and dedication has driven me on. What do you think?
11-05-2013 02:14 AM
Very true.I have also gone through similar situation.The system does always underestimates an aged person and associates age with poor knowledge&less dedication.What the Industry needs is the contributing capability of an individual rather than preconceived notions. What is important is how a person is update with technology and how he can deliver goods.With my interaction,I perceive. the knowledge bank appreciates with age and can deliver faster& reliable designs . The huge untapped energy available with experienced technologist needs to be harnessed for the better &reliable products.
11-05-2013 04:36 AM
It is other way in government organizations in India. All the higher posts come by the age and rarely by the knowledge he/she posses.Black hairs are suspected and grey hairs are respected.
11-05-2013 07:11 AM
Marty, I think a big part of the issue is because the MBA suits think engineers are a dime dozen and completely interchangeable. Why pay more for an older guy when a college grad costs half or less and (in their mind) can do the same job?
11-05-2013 10:05 AM
This sounds almost funny. If i was thinking like 'older engineers are under-appreciated' I will go back and revisit my thinking process. Perhaps I have not updated myself with time. Perhaps I am still stuck with market/industry/technology ideation that is outdated.
I very strongly believe in economic theory that a rational business manager will always opt for best bank for his buck, irrespective of age.
Perhaps issue is that some business managers are lazy and avoid doing homework in selection of candidates, as it relates to hiring.
11-05-2013 12:39 PM
As Yogi Berra said you do not know what you do not know. So when you are young and/or a business manager yes you think all the engineers are the same so why not get the cheapest ones. Of course you get what you pay for and maybe even less. I tend to forget how much I have learned until I am helping out a new engineer.
A smart new engineer the company hired to do an analysis comes back to me and says when he did a step response in the input of the PWM output filter it had way too much overshoot. I told him that is why almost all power supplies have soft starts.
11-05-2013 02:52 PM
In automotive experienced engineers are coveted by engineering but not always by human resources. Experience costs money. When finance folks look to save money on labor they need to understand the cost of failure when looking to replace costly experienced engineers with cheaper less experienced engineers. To run a business you need a mix of experience and youth. The youth in a couple decades will be the experienced and the experienced will be the deceased.
11-05-2013 05:35 PM
Bean counters rule. A major company in the U.S. is hiring new grad engineers (outside the U.S.) to design high reliability aircraft/spacecraft power supplies with little or no supervision and training. This, of course, leads to work for me to salvage the operation. We are needed when the time comes which has nothing to do with respect. I can see the bean counters mashing their teeth that they have to get a high priced consultant to clean up their mess. My rice bowl is filled with management failures. Long term, bad for the future of the country. When the grey beards retire, who is going to pick up the slack. Let's hope there are motivated young engineers who will teach themselves the ropes of good engineering practices to keep this going.
11-05-2013 08:15 PM
All due respect, Gentlemen, but we get exactly how much we deserve. If someone thinks that he/she deserves more than go and get it. When "bean counters" face a failure they hire people like Art Nace, pay big money to fix a problem. But until it happens there is no need to pay big bucks to more experienced engineer. Having said that, there are other aspects showing that "bean counters" are some times short sighted not being able to foresee the long term effects of original failures. Nobody is perfect. If one cannot change it then either accept it or step aside.
11-05-2013 10:47 PM
I believe we saw the effect of poor management in the failure of Amp Connector company. We used their great parts in medical products but they got bought out and new management did cost savings - get rid of design department as they are just a short term expense. Now we have to buy parts else where including foreign made because of bad management that raped the company and moved on.
11-06-2013 01:38 AM
As some of the posters to this topic have observed, the devaluation of experience in the engineering ranks seems to be more prevalent in US corporations. I retired from a large US aerospace corporation, and the management "theory" there was that any engineer can fill any engineering position. Further, management seems to place credence in the idea that only new grads are current in the latest technologies. What is discounted is the element of experience. In school, regardless of the particular subject (analog circuitry, digital circuitry, RF, etc.) usually the first paragraph in texts or experiments contains the phrase "Assume an ideal...". The difference in the new grad and the graybeard is that the graybeard knows what is assumed away by that phrase.
How is it that solely in engineering is experience considered a liability? If I'm to have surgery, for example, I don't want the fresh out doctor doing the surgery, regardless if he has learned the most recent theory. I want the doctor who has done a few surgeries, and knows the practical limits of any technique, and has practiced the technique a few times. Heck, if that practice were applied to management, all the corporations would have 25 year old CEOs!
Middle and upper management has little or no idea about what engineers do for the company, nor do they understand how engineers do their work (and for the most part don't care). Mostly their view of engineers is that they cost a lot of money, continually ask for expensive "toys", and don't contribute anything to the revenue stream in the current quarter. What is lost is that engineering, specifically product development engineering, contributes to the revenue stream next year, and if the product specifications were correct, contributes to the revenue stream for many years. That cost is somewhat like the ante in a poker game, i.e. it lets the company play the next hand, or be in the market next year and the year after that.
How do we reverse this trend? I surely don't know. As Mr. Nace phrased it, the current trend of corporations putting the cheapest engineer in the engineering positions has created an OK income stream for me in correcting the problems that an experienced engineer in the company most likely would not have made.