Industrial production and development are currently undergoing a sea-change. For several generations, industrial production has followed a similar approach involving repetitive, call time work. This has also been true for the higher-end of industrial jobs like those of engineers.
All this, however, is changing rapidly because of 2 main reasons: –
Automation and Offshoring.
While reshaping the way industries, these two factors are also a primary reason for the decline in demand of several job profiles including that of engineers.
Among engineering profiles, the one which seems to have been hit hardest are that of electrical and electronic engineers.
Decline not just restricted to electrical/electronic engineers
It must be noted that the decline in job demand due to automation and offshoring is not only limited electrical or electronic engineers, other engineering disciplines including Computer Science and Mechanical have been affected as well.
Those disciplines, however, haven’t been hit as hard because of their own reasons.
IT sector, for instance, has lost a huge number of coding jobs. However, this has been more than compensated by the rise of framework based development jobs.
Mechanical engineering jobs haven’t been affected as much mainly because automation in the manufacturing sector is being introduced at a relatively much slower rate.
Thus, even though other engineering disciplines have been affected by offshoring and automation, the impact either isn’t as much or it has been compensated by the rise in demand elsewhere.
Why have electrical engineers been the most affected?
Now, as for why electrical engineers have been the most affected…….
There are 2 main reasons: –
- The rate at which electrical jobs have been automated is much higher than that of other disciplines like mechanical and civil.
- Unlike in IT sector, where automation led to the creation of several new types of computer science jobs for old ones; it hasn’t been the same for electrical engineers.
Decline due to Off-shoring
Off-shoring has resulted in thousands of job losses in the US alone. Initially limited to manufacturing jobs, in recent years, however, higher-end jobs such as those involving circuit design and chip design have been Off-shored as well.
Now, off-shoring hasn’t only affected electrical jobs in developed nations, in India, several electrical engineering jobs have been off-shored to china.
The opposite is in-shoring, where jobs previously off-shored are returning back to the US. This is affecting electrical engineering jobs in China, India, and other developing countries.
Decline due to automation
Now off-shoring is a culprit but the primary reason for the sharp decline in electrical engineering jobs is ‘automation’. According to recent surveys, In US, there has been a 10% decline in the number of electrical engineering jobs compared to the previous years. In India, the decline due to automation and offshoring is even higher.
Being a discipline which is affected heavily by introduction new innovations and technologies, electrical engineering has seen a maximum transformation and job loss.
So, the big question is how shall an electrical engineer, particularly one with little experience, shall deal with this problem?
Dealing with the situation
The situation for an electrical engineer, although tough, isn’t a hopeless one. As a matter of fact, young grads. can actually turn automation for their own advantage.
Whenever industry undergoes a major change, new types of jobs replace the old ones. Same is true for the current situation. On one hand, there is a sharp decline in demand for ‘old breed’ electrical jobs and on the other hand, several new types of jobs like those involving control systems’ automation and embedded jobs have seen a sharp rise. For some profiles like those involving embedded systems employers aren’t able to find enough workforce with the knowledge of the job.
So, the best way out is to increase your skill set. In the present scenario, companies are less keen in training new recruits and are expecting them to have the required skills beforehand. In other words, they want new recruits and undergrads to train themselves.
Some of the skills which are in great demand in present scenario include: –
- ACS (Automation & Control systems)
- Embedded systems and Firmware programming (programming isn’t core to electrical engineering but electrical Engg. grads are preferred for such profiles).
- Signal processing.
It is an employer’s market these days and electrical engineers need to understand this. Nowadays, employers have numerous candidates at their disposal for a job which has made them fussy. They only prefer the candidates whose skillset perfectly matches their requirements. It is, therefore, necessary for engineers to be wary of the situation and have a good understanding of job market.
Common Career Paths for Electrical Engineer
With a good understanding of the type of jobs under demand and a required skill set, electrical engineers can draw benefit from change due to automation.
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