Forgot your password?
United Kingdom Education Math Science

James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering 321

Posted by samzenpus
from the change-your-major dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "The inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner believes there is an engineering crisis in the UK and that 61,000 vacancies in the area will go unfilled in 2014. To address this Dyson believes says he wants the UK government to offer monetary incentives to students with an interest and aptitude in science — as well as changing the current visa system to make it easier for foreign students to remain in the country and get work once they have completed their education in the UK."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

Comments Filter:
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:41AM (#46140193)

    Paying students is a nice idea, but won't change a thing.

    Face it, the only jobs that pay money are jobs that deal with money. Being productive is simply not something you get paid for, pushing money about is where the money is.

  • by bluegutang (2814641) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:41AM (#46140197) we need to fund education for students who won't hit the job market until several years later?

    Give me a break.

    And trust the free market for once. If there's a worker shortage, then wages will rise until demand and supply equalize and there is no more shortage.

    All the whining about a shortage of engineers is simply a trick by employers to increase supply and decrease the wages they have to pay.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:47AM (#46140245)

    Free what? C'mon, free market is dead.

    There is by no means any shortage of people pushing money about, yet salaries are hitting record heights every year.

  • nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby (118189) <> on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:48AM (#46140249)

    We don't need to pay students to study engineering. We have plenty of engineers. We need to stop paying companies (through tax breaks) to out source engineering. There is no STEM shortage, and this myth needs to mercilessly shot down every time a company executive propagates it.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:48AM (#46140255)

    Because I don't enjoy living on 400 bucks a month in a neighborhood where I fear those 400 bucks ain't gonna be mine for long?

  • No, Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore (538166) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:50AM (#46140267) Journal
    Perhaps a better solution would be for companies to stop paying all the money to the managers and pay more of it to the people who actually make the company work. That way more people will want to get science and engineering because they lead to a valued and well paid job. Why would someone motivated by money take a few thousand pounds from the government now when they can get hundreds of thousands of pounds more over their career doing a far less challenging degree and setting themselves up to become a manager?
  • Free education (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Monday February 03, 2014 @10:52AM (#46140281)
    Even the so called "free education" is a bit dubious in Finland. In addition to a steady rate of achieving study credits (fair enough) which warrant your student benefit, the new system limits receiving the benefit to 4 years max. If you haven't graduated in that period, it's GTFO unless you have a side job. You cannot even raise more student loan as it is government-backed and tied to the student benefit. Now when you are forced to drop out of school in this situation, you suddenly get luxurious social welfare support which is more than enough money for good living. Studying should be the more attractive deal, not drinking booze at home.
  • Re:No, Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dontbemad (2683011) on Monday February 03, 2014 @11:07AM (#46140423)
    I don't know how it is in the UK, but as a STEM graduate (and a software engineer), I can't really understand what you're implying about science and engineering not already being well paid jobs. Sure, management generally makes higher than the average engineer, but the average engineer has a pretty high salary as well.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Monday February 03, 2014 @11:13AM (#46140495) Homepage
    these are just the ramblings of an old man, so feel free to skip em but I remember Studying, the academic pursuit of higher education that is, was originally predicated on the ostensible monetary success ones career may bring. Doctors and Engineers were paid much more handsomely for their services than artists and english majors. in return they enjoyed much more demanding work some would argue.

    with the encroachment of privatized education this is no longer the case. the monetary shackles of student loans are interminable and ensure that no matter how successful an engineer may be, they are ultimately relegated for a substantial portion of their adult lives to subsistence living. Engineers, like english and philosophy majors, dont just "get a job" after college anymore. In fact many students watching newly minted engineers join the workforce as hamburger cooks and third shift walmart drones would just as soon skip the college experience entirely.

    and what about the successful engineers? shops when faced with pressure to make wages more competitive have instead lobbied for more cheap H-1B visas and interns. Code is written in the Phillipines, and hardware assembled in Taiwan. Greybeards like myself sit in cubicles and 'kindly do the needful' to turn a rather mocking phrase while the rank and file, what we hire for simple CAD or EE work, is mandated to start with 5 years experience and an advanced degree. It guarantees we never hire anything that comes out of the alma mater.
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday February 03, 2014 @11:25AM (#46140643)

    we need scholarships for engineering students

    No. The solution is to make education affordable enough so scholarships are pointless. An educated populace brings many good things into balance.

  • Re:No, Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday February 03, 2014 @11:28AM (#46140677) Homepage

    I like to believe that effective management does contribute value to an organization, perhaps even in proportion to what higher level managers are paid.

    The problems with this are manifold: starting with too many Chiefs and not enough Indians - the unwillingness of higher management to keep lower performing managers at lower levels / pay-grades means you get a bunch of people "up there" who really don't belong, but have managed to not get fired for long enough that they are raised up just based on longevity, or maybe a few rare good performance quarters. Not that there's not value in longevity, loyalty, and deep knowledge of an organization that comes from years of experience, just that longevity by itself isn't valuable.

    Another problem is simple, short time horizon metrics that reward "making it happen NOW" with no regard for long term damage. Constantly moving goal posts that erase long term mistakes from the incentive structure - and higher level management that just doesn't care about the 5 or 10 year horizon.

    Then you've got the ever expanding golden hiring carrots. In order to get talent in the door, inflated positions are offered, sometimes beyond the value of the position to the company, just to win a valuable player away from the competition. This, of course, reaches epically absurd proportions at the CEO level, but I found myself "in line" for a promotion from top-of-the-technical-ladder to a management spot that was open and advertised, but really just a placeholder for someone the company wanted to snag away from a competitor. In theory, there was no top-of-the-technical ladder, but in practice, at that company of 1000 employees, there were roughly 6 engineers at my level, one at the next level up (who was given that spot as a hiring incentive), and no promotions at or above that level in the company history - contrast this with dozens upon dozens of management track promotions, that, regardless of title, were making 10-20% higher base salary and 30% bonuses instead of 10% - just at the next level up, and the bonuses continued to climb to 100% of salary and beyond for the higher levels - which again outnumbered the top-of-the-technical-ladder people by a significant multiple. Except in ethically dubious fields (automated securities trading, anyone?) nobody seems to feel the need to offer large compensation incentives for technical work, but it's out there for management.

    And, thus, even an incompetent manager bringing home $170K/year can be passed off as "Well, at least we're not paying him $300K like that last jerk." but an engineer who makes $125K is "oh my god, we can get 2, maybe 3 good kids from the University for that money."

  • by Mitsoid (837831) on Monday February 03, 2014 @11:57AM (#46140957)

    along the same lines..

    We need to stop this education-for-profit business model that is encouraging schools to over-populate classrooms by providing very small scholarships and encouraging loans. Pointless required classes are another great thing to trash (I'm not talking Gen Ed, I'm talking 2-3 classes that could be merged into 1).

    When I went to school for IT, I had 3 classes that discussed (in roughly the same detail) the *theory* and *standards* of how various communication mediums worked. Pointless. Make 1 of them a hands-on class at least!

  • Re:No, Salaries (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 03, 2014 @12:20PM (#46141177)

    The salary looks high per month, pitiful per hour.

    As long as engineers are expected to work 60hr/wk and more, the jobs are not attractive. The problem is acerbated over time since engineers don't have time or opportunity to procreate, so the next generation has even fewer of them.

  • Re:No, Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Monday February 03, 2014 @12:53PM (#46141527)

    Clearly the country doesnt need more STEM graduates, or they'd be paid better. Then no-one would have to pay them to study the subject, because they'd know it would provide them a good income for life.

    The real problem is there is no skills shortage. The shortage is artificial - the jobs are written such as to take advantage of foreign workers and not hire many of the plentiful in-country ones.

    H1Bs, "Temporary" Foreign Workers, etc., there's nothing wrong with them - they're good for the country. However, it's when business managers figure they can use it to pay artificially low wages that's the real problem. And many companies have figured out the system to not hire the recent graduate but to hire a foreign worker instead .

    That, coupled with the unwillingness to invest in employees lead to the current situation.

    Canada had, until last year allowed TFWs to work at up to 15% below market rate. When it was revealed that many companies were abusing this, it was the first provision to go - market rate or bust. Of course, they are all bitching and moaning about how they can't find workers and what not.

    In fact, I would think that if you want to hire abroad, if they're so good at their job that you must have them, go ahead. Feel free to pay 15% above market plus all expenses (housing, food, etc). There are great foreign workers out there, and hiring for external expertise is a great thing to do. And if the job is so specialized that you cannot find anyone local, well, obviously you have to pay up for it anyways.

  • Re:No, Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dj245 (732906) on Monday February 03, 2014 @01:01PM (#46141639) Homepage

    But there are many science and engineering jobs with poor pay. Pay for postdocs is low, and shamefully low for grad students taking on teaching fellowships. Internships are another. New or near grads who may already be burdened with massive student loan debt are sold a bill of goods, told that part of their pay is the "valuable" experience they gain, and this justifies paying them a pittance, or even nothing at all-- the infamous unpaid internship.

    Reflects the demand. The market for doctorates or even masters degrees in engineering just isn't that high. Many companies value a master's degree in engineering as having 0 added value. On the other side, Academia is all about the grant money, and there is a finite amount of that. If those skills were in high demand, the payback on the degree would be good. It isn't, and they aren't.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Monday February 03, 2014 @01:19PM (#46141877)

    In Europe, many engineers are paid not all that differently from other professions that are much less demanding and specialized. If they make higher salaries, much of that difference is eaten up by progressive taxation. Socially, many European intellectuals look down their noses at applied disciplines and pride themselves in their inability to comprehend math, physics, and engineering. What motivation do you think people have to acquire highly specialized skills and take on high responsibility if society tells them that their skills and responsibilities aren't valued, either financially or intellectually?

    And similar mechanisms are taking hold in the US. Progressives in Silicon Valley have been protesting well-paid software engineers and become downright hostile to technology, Democrats are constantly calling for increasingly higher tax burdens on high income earners, etc. All of those efforts target and discourage successful engineers, who are usually in the top income quintile (and really good ones are 1%-ers, not really a stretch given that their skills easily exceed those of 99% of all Americans).

    You want more skilled engineers? Start valuing their contributions, and stop trying to forcibly reduce income inequality.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.