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Complexity + Full Employment = Retention and Recruitment Challenges!

Mike Ahern's picture
Mike Ahern 1201
Director Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Mike Ahern leads WPI's Academic and Corporate Engagement Group.  Mike's focus areas include graduate education and professional development, especially in Electrical and Computer Engineering...

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  • Dec 20, 2018

This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-01 - Predictions & Trends, click here for more

As we look forward to the beginning of 2019, here's a fairly recent trend I've noticed.

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1) The world is getting more technical and interconnected so the systems that support this trend are growing in complexity.

2) The U.S. is a full employment economy for people who can contribute product advances in technical disciplines.

3) As one result, retention and recruitment are even greater challenges than they have been before.

4) In response, growing numbers of technical companies are seeking university partnerships to develop their people and to build a pipeline of new candidates.

Since our mission is to advance knowledge to benefit society, my University welcomes these partnerships.  They create opportunities for our students and help support life long learning for working professionals.  

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John Simonelli's picture
John Simonelli on Feb 14, 2019

Lets not forget the fact over 50% of all engineers in the US will be retiring soon, time for all the "baby boomer" kids that grew up during the space race to hang up their slide rule which puts even more pressure on obtaining, training and retaining techical folks.

Mike Ahern's picture
Mike Ahern on Feb 15, 2019

You're right, John!

The demographics make this even more challenging.  Perhaps the equation should read:

Complexity + Full Employment + Retirements => Retention and Recruitment Challenges


PS  I learned how to use a slide rule in high school in the early '70's but I "hung it up" in college in favor of a fancy, powerful, expensive, electronic calculator.  One of my first supervisors still used his slide rule to check my work in the early '80's.

John Simonelli's picture
John Simonelli on Feb 15, 2019

Ditto Mike, learned the slide rule in high school in the early 70's then dove into the calculator world in college.

HR departments and the bean counters have not helped employee retention.  As an example, dropping the old defined benefit pensions and moving toward 401K based retirement plans made employees "portable" so leaving and bouncing from company to company is so much more prevalent these days

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