Economic Trifecta

There's good news and there's good news. But is any of this anything other than corporate bull or unrestrained economic optimism?
According to The Detroit News, the auto industry faces an engineer shortage. Of course if you read the article there's no real data to back this up other than this tidbit:

The nation's auto sector added 32,000 jobs during the past year, and thousands have been among engineers.

General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC announced last fall that they were hiring 1,000 engineers — though some are contractors. Ford Motor Co. is hiring 750 salaried workers in product development this year; many are engineers.

No real numbers on how many of the new hires are auto engineers. Or how that is supposed to backfill all the positions they laid off. Also the assessment that "the future is brighter" is pretty weak compared to their overly optimistic title.

CNNMoney has decided similarly to be optimistic reporting jobs recovery is fo' realz, yo. Yes hiring picked up last month. Not sure where there's any data to show it's sustained. I'd sure like it to be, but I'm also not afraid to be all Debbie Downer on this sunshine and rainbow fest if I need to.

And lastly, CNNMoney is all like engineering is the best paying college major. Fantastic.

Chemical engineers were offered the highest starting salaries this year -- an average of $66,886. Mechanical engineers received salary offers averaging $60,739, and electrical and communications engineering majors saw average offers of $60,646. Computer engineering was the fifth highest-paying major, with offers averaging $60,112.

Rounding out the top ten best-paying majors were industrial engineering, systems engineering, engineering technology, information sciences and systems, and business systems networking or telecommunications.

What, really? Where are these jobs?! I'm pretty shocked EE isn't much higher on this list, or CE as many of those people end up working in software. Which is where I've seen all the jobs lately. I guess this is the average pay if you were lucky enough to actually get a job. If you were part of the 10% unemployed who can't get a job, sorry. Or if you're part of the unknown percentage of engineering graduates who gave up and went into some other field just so you could earn a freaking paycheck not sure what your average salary is there. I'd definitely recommend engineering over art history, but I'm not sure we can celebrate about who has the "highest salary" when it's all moot as no one's hiring anyone anyways.


  1. Seriously, ME starting salaries at $60k? Where on earth is this data coming from? That's more than my current company pays starting intermediate engineers (of any discipline), and definitely more than I've seen for entry-level anywhere in this region (SW Ontario, so obviously not in the scope of the survey). Then again, maybe that's why we're always hiring...

  2. I know from my secret insider sources (i.e., acquaintances recently hired there) that a pretty substantial number of engineering jobs have been added back to Chrysler. I don't know if this brings them back to pre-bankruptcy numbers yet. Also, most of the auto industry operates on a contract-to-hire basis, especially for younger engineers, so many of those contract positions are intended to become permanent positions should the person prove to be a good fit.

    On the other hand, I can also anecdotally verify your suspicion that there is not, in fact, a shortage of engineers. I know far too many unemployed engineers in the SE Michigan region with the right background and interests to work in the automotive industry to think there is somehow a shortage.

    I also wonder how hourly (i.e. contract) offers work into their calculation of average starting salary. Or are such positions not counted as jobs?

  3. It's people with MSc and PhDs that skew that number. Most that I know of with advanced degrees get 65 ish and 80+ respectively. Also, they may be engineers but might go to law school or business school and come out making 150 plus.