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US engineers do it for love, not money

01 March, 2004

A survey of electrical engineers in the US has revealed that a mere 3% of them regard money of their most significant reward. More than three-quarters of the 830 members of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) quizzed in the survey said that their main motivation for entering the engineering profession was the desire to "invent, build or design things", with the ability to "solve real-world problems" being almost as important.

The survey found that 32% of working engineers were motivated to become join the profession by its prestige and salaries, while for 19%, the main attraction was the chance "to have a positive influence on the environment".

Most American engineers chose their career early in life, with nearly half of them having decided by the age of 15, and 13% knowing where their future lay by the age of ten. For the vast majority, it was family member who steered them to a technical career, while for others it was a teacher or friend. For 28%, their career choices were prompted by a film or TV show.

US engineers like to pass their enthusiasm and knowledge on to the next generation, with 40% having volunteered to talk to students or helping out at science fairs.

The engineers` pet hates include "administrative and managerial tasks" (cited by almost a third) and "regulatory and compliance procedures" (mentioned by 20%). The low social status of engineering bothered about 12% of the IEEE respondents.




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