American Engineering Shortfall Looms
With the auto industry in the midst of wrenching change, the most valuable resource is brainpower. A Bureau of Labor Statistics study says that the U.S. could face a shortfall of 160k engineers by 2016, but JCI-Saft CEO Mary Ann Wright thinks the situation could become even worse than that. Arguing that the BLS number doesn't take retirements into account, Wright tells MLive.com "I think that's too low. Today the United States is not producing the right skill sets." Part of the problem could be the efforts to educate engineers to be better communicators rather than technical geniuses. John Fuhs of the auto supplier firm Swoboda says "We try to hire engineering people for our company, but typically they come up way short in basic skills. They made a very big point of switching 25 years ago for more rounded engineers, and that's what we got. They all want to be project managers now, but they don't know the science or what's going on to get the job done." But the problem doesn't end there, as too few American engineers are graduating to fill demand in other industries as well. So the industry has to either inspire newly-graduated engineers or hire away talented engineers from other countries. Or simply continue the trend of outsourcing product development abroad.