Sections Congress '02


Sections Congress 2002 held an Issues Forum in which a voting delegate from each section represented cast a vote to prioritize forty issues offered up by the ten regions. In earlier regional meetings, each region listed the issue concerns of its member sections and voted to reduce the list to the top four, which were listed for the Issues Forum. At the forum, owing to the number of issues, there was no discussion; each issue as worded by a region was flashed on screens while the vote was taken electronically. The rankings were reported shortly after the voting was completed. The entire list, together with rankings, should be posted on the SC'02 Web site by the end of this week (10/25/02).
The issue below (more briefly worded) tied for first place in the Region 3 voting, and was ranked #34 in the final voting. Had there been an opportunity to include the supporting data (under "Whereas") the ranking could have been higher.
Issue: Career Viability
1. Engineering career satisfaction is a global problem
a. Tenure - 20 years is not enough; 40 years was the former standard
b. Compensation - same purchasing power of salaries for 35 years discourages entry
c. Economic downturn leaves defined benefit pensions underfunded:
i. All ten S&P U.S. industry sectors will have underfunded pension liabilities by the end of 2002
ii. Pension liabilities for General Motors now four times shareholder equity in the company;
2. Workforce unemployment rates in August 2002 were:
a. Britain 5.2%
b. U.S. 5.6
c. Australia 6.2
d. Canada 7.5
e. Euro area 8.3;
3. Viewing engineers as a disposable commodity discourages entry into the profession, and reduces the number of students in the pipeline (and understandably so);
4. Continuing education to keep skill sets current will aid in supplying the needs of the profession in the face of lower birth rates and future workforce shortages;
The IEEE should
Engage industry, academia, and governments to promote the Career Viability of the engineering profession for the economic well-being of all, encouraging investment in the engineering workforce, as a joint industry/Institute/member responsibility, to restore engineering as a respected profession where the rewards justify the individual investment in preparation and retention in the engineering field as a life-long career.
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Updated 10/31/02