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Time to Push the Alarm? The Braindrain Threat from Boomer Engineer Retirement

If there were an even distribution of engineers across age groups, then retirement of an entire generation would take away about a third of your staff. However, the saddle shape of the age employment curve means that many engineering organizations are heavily front loaded with Boomer engineers. Furthermore, the far smaller group of Gen X engineers means that there’s not a one-to-one tenured replacement for every retiring Boomer.

Is the Relationship between Engineers and Their Companies Degrading?

My friend was finishing up his week of work in the middle of a Friday afternoon when he got the call. There’s a project in dire straits. They needed him to whip up a procedure for a particular product. Could it wait until Monday? Nope, they said they needed it by end of day. They were going to pass the procedure along to one of their technical centers overseas so they could actually utilize the procedure over the weekend. No waiting until Monday.

Is the Age Profile of Engineering a Saddle?

Imagine if we mapped the number of engineers (y-axis) against their age (x-axis) for a particular engineering organization. What would the distribution curve look like? Well based on historical hiring demand and the relative sizes of different generations, we can project what it would look like. It resembles a saddle.

The End of Engineering’s ‘Black Box’ Operations?

The issues around designing and engineering a product are often so complex, it can be difficult to relate that to other stakeholders in the development process, including those in the c-suite. That’s why these other stakeholders have traditionally seen design and engineering activities as far more of an art and than science. To them, engineering has been like a black box. Market needs and requirements went in the front. Product designs popped out the back. And for the most part, engineering was left alone…

The CEO’s Recovery Directive to Engineering

The recession for most manufacturers caused a serious trainwreck in engineering organizations. You took your fair share of the layoffs when the CEO and CFO needed to get costs in line with revenues. But it went further than giving low performers the pink slip. It took away some of your mid-level performers too. Now might seem the most appropriate time to trot out the age-old adage do more with less

Setting a Baseline for Generational Definitions

What’s the dynamic like in your engineering group? Is everyone fresh out of college figuring out what it’s like in their first job? Or is everyone in the final leg of their career heading into retirement? All things considered, neither of those answers is likely. The average engineering group in today’s manufacturer is frequently a big mix of people in all different stages…

The Hero Work of an Engineer is Knowing Where to Put the X

Now, I like this story. I like it for its happy ending, but I like more because the engineer comes out ahead. One day. $50,000. Ride off into the sunset. Wouldn’t that be nice. However, for many engineers, this sort of story isn’t some exception with a big payoff. It’s just modus operandi: it’s just the way things are done on a day to day basis.

My Takeaways from PLM Connections 2010

Traveling to Dallas TX for PLM Connections in 2011 was great in terms of getting product updates. Here are some my quick thoughts, including those on my new company Lifecycle Insights, as well as my takeaways from the event as recorded by Dora Smith from Siemens PLM.