Douglas Buckland

The Myth of Chinese and Indian Engineers

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U.S. companies in dire need of more engineers might consider a strategy of paying more, maybe even providing specialized training, if that’s what they need. But salaries in most engineering disciplines have barely kept up with inflation, and inflation has been low.

I think the big difference is the salaries and not the lack of "Engineers" the talent pool is rich in Europe and USA but we seem to be following a trend that the cost outweighs actual talent.

Reverse Engineering - Chinese hands down world leaders

Indian Engineers - Go to India and then make your decision.

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1 hour ago, James Regan said:

U.S. companies in dire need of more engineers might consider a strategy of paying more, maybe even providing specialized training, if that’s what they need. But salaries in most engineering disciplines have barely kept up with inflation, and inflation has been low.

I think the big difference is the salaries and not the lack of "Engineers" the talent pool is rich in Europe and USA but we seem to be following a trend that the cost outweighs actual talent.

Reverse Engineering - Chinese hands down world leaders

Indian Engineers - Go to India and then make your decision.

This is accurate.  Good people leave engineering because companies treat engineers like crap.  Specifically:
1)  The company expects competent engineers to work for the same, low salaries an incompetent immigrant will accept.
2)  Training and continuing education have become nonexistent.
3)  Non-engineering departments who have no clue how the company makes money are allowed to tell engineers what they'll accomplish (even if management's vision is impossible) and how they'll accomplish it. 
4)  The public universities have leaned so heavily on foreign students and professors that they've become incompetent.  As a result, young engineers are forced to self-teach.  This leads to frustration, burnout, and abandonment of the career. 

The list goes on, but you get the point: engineers get treated like crap.  Eventually, there won't be enough competent engineers left to keep the idiots afloat, and these companies will go belly-up. 

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48 minutes ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

3)  Non-engineering departments who have no clue how the company makes money are allowed to tell engineers what they'll accomplish (even if management's vision is impossible) and how they'll accomplish it.

Excellent point, the Buck has come before the Bang. HR depts and Corporate Lounge Lizards (again... I know best phrase for me to describe them) run good companies into the ground, by buying out smaller family businesses with excellent professionals and dilute them into the Evil Empires corporate structures and they become weakened and often demoralised which affects the end product, which is the Bang, the Buck comes after. The corporate day dreamers by default are all on borrowed time, so they need to impress the next one up the ass licking chain and start making false promises based on what, the end product from which they are so far detached. 

I didn't do corporate very well, its not in my genes, it takes a very special kind of person to work as a laughing assassin within an office environment.

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Average number of computer science graduates in the US over each of the last 40 years: 40,000.

40,000 x 40 years = 1.6 million.

Total US computer sales in 1980 (roughly the sum of mainframes, mini-computers, and desktop PCs): 1 million.

Total US computing device sales in 2018 (sum of mainframes, PCs, smart phones, and embedded controllers: 15 billion.

ARM licenses sold in 2015 (from Wikipedia): 15 billion.

Complaints about engineers being treated like crap runs back to the 1960's, if not earlier. This is a notorious complaint for electrical engineers (EEs).

The manager of the rental property I was living in just before I left Texas had been a Petroleum Engineer in the 1980's, and was let go in the late 1980's oil collapse. He bought the property from Resolution Trust Corporation as a result of the late 1980's property bust.

Engineers do not make a living as employees - this is one unending tale of woe. Those that do prosper start companies and operate independently. However, engineers often make notoriously bad managers.

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19 hours ago, James Regan said:

U.S. companies in dire need of more engineers might consider a strategy of paying more, maybe even providing specialized training, if that’s what they need. But salaries in most engineering disciplines have barely kept up with inflation, and inflation has been low.

I think the big difference is the salaries and not the lack of "Engineers" the talent pool is rich in Europe and USA but we seem to be following a trend that the cost outweighs actual talent.

Reverse Engineering - Chinese hands down world leaders

Indian Engineers - Go to India and then make your decision.

This article was written in 2012. American companies have made some major changes since then.

General Motors used to outsource its IT work - the last company with that contract was a major Silicon Valley nameplate.

Around 2015 GM created a network of 'Innovation Centers' and migrated it's technology work back 'indoors'. Other car companies have done the same thing, generally due to the fact that cars are now computing platforms as much as they are fuel burning transportation. In the days when 'outsourcing' meant the MRP (manufacturing resource planning) on the factory floor, one could hand it off to a consulting organization. When the chips are driving the dashboard on the car and keeping the engine at peak efficiency, software is the company's core product. Boeing has just learned this lesson the hard way.

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American companies could re-channel the wasted revenue pumped into their bloated HR and HSE departments back into the engineering departments and the actual manufacturing personnel and realize their true potential.

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6 hours ago, Douglas Buckland said:

American companies could re-channel the wasted revenue pumped into their bloated HR and HSE departments back into the engineering departments and the actual manufacturing personnel and realize their true potential.

YOU SIR NEED TO STOP. You have too much common sense, and should refrain from making sensible well rounded logical comments. To suggest this is tantamount to becoming a true leader, please go and step back in line and shuffle your paper back and forth like all the others.  Go go and stick your head back into the ground and keep your eyes closed.

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(edited)

I'm making this statistic up, but let's just say on average .1% of the population of a nation becomes engineers.  

.1% of 1.2 billion is a lot larger than .1% of 300 million.  

Edited by Zhong Lu
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5 hours ago, Zhong Lu said:

I'm making this statistic up,

LOL you gotta love a comment that starts with these words  :) 

 

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It’s been my experience US corporations are run top down not for the good of the company but to preserve decision making privileges while making bloated saleries. Plant managers don’t make many of the decisions and serve at the pleasure of “corporate”. 
This post is about engineers but the entire maintenance department is usually underfunded while plants suffer from breakdowns. 
The focus is more on cost cutting vrs innovation. Education is applauded but not utilized while experience is ignored.

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7 hours ago, Zhong Lu said:

I'm making this statistic up, but let's just say on average .1% of the population of a nation becomes engineers.  

.1% of 1.2 billion is a lot larger than .1% of 300 million.  

Good math skills....but in engineering, it is quality over quantity.

Furthermore, if your .1% is including auto mechanics and technicians as ‘engineers’, then the final number is not very meaningful or representative.

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https://www.aip.org/fyi/2018/rapid-rise-china’s-stem-workforce-charted-national-science-board-report

China a top producer of S&E bachelor’s degrees, while US leads in doctoral degrees 

The report notes that over 7.5 million S&E bachelor’s degrees were awarded worldwide in 2014, with China and the U.S. comprising 22 percent and 10 percent of the global share, respectively.

 

Bachelors_SEI.jpg

Bachelor's degree awards in S&E fields

Click to enlarge. (Image credit - National Science Board)

China has seen more than quadrupled the number of S&E degrees conferred since 2000, where they comprise nearly half of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in China. The number of S&E bachelor’s degrees in China increased from 359,000 in 2000 to 1.65 million in 2014. At the same time, U.S. S&E bachelor’s degrees, which comprise one-third of U.S. bachelor’s degrees awarded, increased from 400,000 in 2000 to 650,000 in 2015. 

 

Doctorates_SEI.jpg

Doctoral degree awards in S&E fields

Click to enlarge. (Image credit - National Science Board)

The U.S. remains the world leader in the production of S&E doctoral degrees, however, awarding 40,000 in 2014. China is close on the heels of the U.S., having rapidly increased production of S&E doctoral degrees from 8,000 in 2000 to 34,000 in 2014. In 2007, China surpassed the U.S. as the largest producer doctoral degrees in the natural sciences and engineering. This metric includes degrees in physical, agricultural, biological, earth, and computer sciences, as well as mathematics, and engineering. It does not include the social and behavioral sciences, which accounts for one-fourth of all U.S. S&E doctoral degrees.

The swift growth in Chinese graduate education, the report says, stems from large investments made by the government over the last 20 years as part of efforts to establish first-rate universities in China. Since 2010, however, the growth rate has slowed as the Chinese government has limited the number of admissions to doctoral programs to focus on education quality.

China now surpasses US in production of S&E publications

The report notes that global S&E publication output increased at an average annual compound rate of 3.9 percent between 2006 and 2016. At the same time, developing economies publication production grew more than twice as fast as the global rate, and increased their global share from 25 percent to 40 percent. Three countries and regions — U.S., China, and the EU — comprise two-thirds of worldwide production of nearly 2.3 million S&E publications.  

 

articles_SEI.jpg

S&E articles output

Click to enlarge. (Image credit - National Science Board)

China overtook the U.S. in 2016 as the leader in producing S&E publications. Comprising 18.6 percent of the global share, Chinese S&E publications saw a growth rate of 8.4 percent between 2006 and 2016. Meanwhile, the U.S. has seen its global share fall from 24.4 percent to 17.8 percent, with a 0.7 percent growth rate. U.S. S&E publications, however, are still cited at a much higher rate than Chinese publications.  

The report finds that there are differing national priorities among the top five S&E publication producers. For example, almost half of U.S. publications focus on the biological sciences, medical sciences, and other life sciences. Chinese publications, meanwhile tend to focus on engineering, chemistry, physics, and geosciences.

Publications produced with international collaboration have also increased from 16.7 percent in 2006 to 21.7 percent in 2016. The report cites growing global S&E capabilities, a greater number of S&E researchers, and the rising importance of tackling transboundary problems as factors for collaboration.  

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(edited)

@ Douglas.: China has recently eclipsed the US in the number of Science and Engineering articles published in peer reviewed journals.  The last chart is a direct rebuttal of your point about quality.

EDIT: Actually you have a point about India.  India's quality of engineers remain piss poor.  However, this assessment does not apply to China.  

Edited by Zhong Lu

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Again, it is quality not quantity that counts.

Furthermore, I am unimpressed with advanced degrees. These people end up in academia or R&D facilities and are not actually working as engineers. The world is flooded with advanced degree holders but there only a small number of slots in R&D facilities or teaching jobs in universities.

Also, the number of ‘peer’ reviewed articles is misleading. These people exist in a ‘publish or perish’ environment...the must publish to stay relevant!

I was somewhat involved with a patent review earlier this year where two professors from a well known engineering university patented a particular piece of equipment. When I, and several other engineers, proved to them that it would not work in the field, we were ignored. Several articles appeared in industry journals praising this equipment (peer reviewed) and it received several awards. Those voting on the awards were the ‘peers’. I have yet to see this piece of equipment being utilized in the field. This type of nonsense is endemic in academia, regardless of the country.

Your presented data seems somewhat biased:

Why is the EU taken as an entity instead of by countries within the EU?

Why is data presented showing “US temporary visa holders” while this category is not shown for other entities?

Finally, why is it, at least in my industry before the present slump, that China was desperate to hire foreign engineers? It should be fairly easy to go back and see the ads on the major job websites...if China has a surplus of engineers?

 

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(edited)

But anecdotal evidence does not count as good evidence either.  The author in the article you posted provide no numbers or evidence to back his claims other than anecdotal ones.  If "papers published in peer review journals" is a poor indicator of engineer quality as you claim, then what is a reliable indicator of engineer quality? 

Furthermore, the article is 7 years old.  A lot has happened since.  I also know a bit about the American math education system, and frankly the Asian systems are simply better for teaching math.  

Edited by Zhong Lu
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The evidence of good engineering is designs which solve or mitigate the problem in question, are cost efficient and hold up for the designed life of the project. It has nothing to do with peer reviews or peer reviewed articles!

Did you solve the problem? Did you perform ‘due diligence’? Did you exceed your budget?

Perhaps the Asian system of teaching math is better for Asians, but how is it applicable to non-Asians? Are you now an expert on educational curriculum now?

 

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2 hours ago, Douglas Buckland said:

The evidence of good engineering is designs which solve or mitigate the problem in question, are cost efficient and hold up for the designed life of the project. It has nothing to do with peer reviews or peer reviewed articles!

Did you solve the problem? Did you perform ‘due diligence’? Did you exceed your budget?

Perhaps the Asian system of teaching math is better for Asians, but how is it applicable to non-Asians? Are you now an expert on educational curriculum now?

 

USA won the 2018 math Olympiad competition:

https://share.america.gov/team-usa-wins-2018-international-math-competition/

I saw a joke that Trump was proud that team USA won, and Xi Jinpeng was  also proud that team USA won.

2/3 of the team consist of ethnic Chinese and the coach of Team USA, since 2013, is also an ethnic Chinese.

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Perhaps they have Chinese blood...but they are 100% AMERICAN!.

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I noticed this topic so I created a new one with the link to report that actually gives answers to among others things questions about quality and quality of S&E workforce in major countries.

Many graphs are the same as already presented by @Zhong Lu

the trend of rising Chinese STEM graduates continues in the following years, past 2014.

All the major countries have now industry policies and talent policies.

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It's all about the $/H1B style.  I visit fortune 500 companies for a living and 90% of the employees in IT/"engineering" are from India. I don't need a pie chart or graph to know this. I see it all the time. Bottom line, if you are from the US and you want to get into these (STEM) fields you are at a huge disadvantage because in the long run you will cost the company too much money.  The Indians will take half the pay, triple up in a apartment and take the job.  US employees will not do this because they aren't use to living in places like Mumbai, Delhi or Hyderabad.  

image.png

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(edited)

Never fails to amaze me that in places like that everyone can still afford a motorbike lol.

Just like Nepal.

Edited by DayTrader
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Again, it is quality over quantity. As a consultant I’ve taken roles as ‘senior’ engineer in SOME Indian companies. When you get there, the office full of junior engineers essentially ceases to function. The idea being that you are the consultant making the big bucks (although they are supposedly not privy to the terms of the my contract) so therefore you should do the lion’s share of the work. This happens with some Chinese firms which I have worked with as well.

Chinese and Indian engineers are also not known as ‘self starters’ and require an inordinate amount of supervision and mentoring.

Perhaps the most telling trait about Indian and Chinese engineers is the fear of taking responsibility for their decisions and their work. Because of this, everything is done by committee.

Indian managers have a nasty habit of, once they have achieved a certain level of power/responsibility, they begin to fill available roles with other Indians, regardless of talent. If you take a good, hard, look at, for example, CISCO over the past 5-7 years this becomes obvious.

So, numbers of engineers or students in STEM programs is part of the story, it is by no means the whole story.

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8 hours ago, DayTrader said:

Never fails to amaze me that in places like that everyone can still afford a motorbike lol.

Just like Nepal.

I am surprised that they aren't stolen. 

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5 hours ago, ronwagn said:

I am surprised that they aren't stolen. 

It was!😂

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