In our last post (“Manufacturing and Millennials: Is Bad PR the Problem?”), manufacturing experts lamented the fact that today's young people, particularly in the U.S., just don’t see Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers as sexy enough.
Irving McPhail, President of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, bemoaned the “Engineering Awareness Conundrum.” To wit: “There are just not enough young people aware of the excitement in STEM careers,” he said. “Not a lot of young people know people in their lives who work in these fields. And we need K-12 educators who can impart enthusiasm in these fields.”
The result: “We are not producing the number of engineers required to give the U.S. the ability to participate in the flat, global world.”
If sexy just won’t work, maybe greedy will. In the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) report on the best-paying jobs for 2011 college graduate, engineering dominated the list. Here are the top 10, as noted by CareerBuilder, with the average annual salary to 2011 grads in parentheses:
1. Chemical engineering ($66,886)
2. Computer science ($63,017)
3. Mechanical engineering ($60,739)
4. Electrical/electronics and communications engineering ($60,646)
5. Computer engineering ($60,112)
6. Industrial/manufacturing engineering ($58,549)
7. Systems engineering ($57,497)
8. Engineering technology ($57,176)
9. Information sciences & systems ($56,868)
10. Business systems networking/ telecommunications ($56,808)
Wow. Count the number of times you see engineering on that list. (Have a high schooler at home? Print this out and post it on his/her bedroom door!)
The good salaries, of course, have something to do with the fact that there are not a lot of qualified candidates out there. But one would think that a starting salary of $60K would be enough to raise the eyebrows of even the most dour and discriminating millennials. After all, once they're out in the real world, someone's going to have to pay the iTunes bill.