its all about the cash
Good Morning, Kat,
I noticed your article and couldn't stop my knee jerking in response. I've finally managed to get into the comments section - sorry for the delay.
The IET has been bemoaning a coming desperate shortage of Engineers and Technologists for many years. What they fail to mention is that the shortage is a market shortage at a given price... Shortages generally drive up prices. That is the real problem that the institutions and Government and industry are concerning themselves with and getting their knickers in a twist about - keeping techies cheap.
The IEE and IMechE and the Engineering Council et al in the preceding decades moaned about the lack of status for technologists, and the difficulty of recruiting high quality entrants in volume. Indeed one of the aims (one of several conflicting ones) in the old IEE's charter was to represent the profession.
What has happened instead is that academia and the institutions have been recruiting all and sundry to tech education, with high drop out rates and many poor quality graduates resulting. Technician vocational hands on training lapsed, and it has not been properly rebuilt. But academia is paid by bums on seats who start the year, not by those who get and deserve a decent first class degree.
The institutions and bodies that accredit training have allowed a huge dumbing down in education at all levels (one paper ~20 years ago reckoned that stem subjects were moving downwards, intellectually and content-wise, by an A-level grade "notch" every three years in the 90's.)
A shortage of techies ought to drive up prices/wages. Techies can move to where the money is - we don't have to produce all of our own requirement, we as a country just have to pay for it.
If prices go up it will be easier to attract bright kids into the tech world - instead of them wanting to become pharmacists, dentists and telephone sanitisers...
Maybe a skills shortage will actually be a very very good thing for the people who actually still work "at the coal face" of technology. If it drives up salaries and prices, at least the people doing the tech may see some better rewards, (even if the companies and government have to pay more for it and don't like it).
Thanks to all of you at the Register for one of my morning "must reads". Keep up the good work.
Rupert van der Post MBA BSc CEng MIET