I don’t always agree with President Obama, but his comments in reference to H-1B visas a while back during a Google Plus video comment hit home for me.
“There’s a huge demand around this country for engineers. . . . Where you’re seeing a lot of specialized demand is in engineering that’s related to the high-tech industries.”
The Washington Post this February provided the following statistics.” Civil engineering had a 2011 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, which was the second highest behind only industrial engineering at 5.5 percent. Electrical engineering, hit 3.4 percent, while mechanical engineering had a rate of 2.4 percent.
It’s six months later from the day President Obama made his comments, and talented engineers in the above catagories are even harder to find. In addition, many companies continue to ignore the off shore talent trained in our colleages because of their visa status. This is further compounded by the reluctance of talented engineers risking a current position of over a new career opportunity. These individuals, as related to the condition and uncertainty of our economy, are typically skittish when comfronted with a new opportunity and more so when the need to relocate is presented, and understandingly so.
Although, demand for engineers remains relatively high compared to other professions, demand is far from what is was before the recession. Interestingly, there are thousands of open positions posted for engineers. Most companies are looking for some experience, and have very specific needs that challenge both job seekers and recruiters. However, there are not enough engineers to fill them. I also believe demand is skewed up by companies seeking only game changing engineers (those top engineers that have successfully made an impact for their current employer). Perhaps as hiring agents and employers, we should take a more realistic focus on experience, based on the current market and include foreign talent. Maybe then we can begin to fill some of these engineering positions. Because after all, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results IS insane.