The Generation Gap

Mitigating the Engineering Brain Drain Threat

The impact of the retirement of Boomer engineers is something I have been tracking for some time. It poses a serious threat to productivity in engineering organizations. While there are process and organizational changes that can be made to address that threat, there are also some technologies that can make an impact as well. The …

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U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Projections for the Engineering Profession

All this set me off to find some definitive source of occupational projections around the engineering profession. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a highly credible source that’s readily available. The United States Department of Labor released a fairly comprehensive projection for the decade between 2008 and 2018 across all functional professions with a specific area that focuses on engineering.

An Evolving Analogy of Technology Adoption by Engineering Generations

If you’ve been reading posts here at engineering-matter.com, I’m sure by now you know I write a good bit about generational issues in engineering as well as the software applications and systems used in engineering organizations. As you might imagine, I started to think about these two issues in light of one another. Specifically, my mind started work on the question: how have different generations adopted technology in the engineering office?

An Introduction to Talent Management: A Means to Stem Chaos in Engineering?

So far on this blog, we’ve talked about a lot of issues when managing an engineering organization. We’ve looked at generational issues from several different Boomer, GenX and GenY perspectives. We’ve looked at the CEO’s directive to engineering and how engineering can’t operate as a black box anymore. A way to address a number of these issues lies in Talent Management initiatives.

Future Now: GenY Stepping into Boomer Engineering Roles

Back in September, in one of the very first posts on the generation gap in engineering, I wrote about how the age profile of an engineering organization resembles a saddle. There are lots of Boomer engineers, much fewer GenX engineers and quite a lot of GenY engineers. In that post, I included an excerpt from a discussion I had with Howard Schimmoller, who had this to say about the implications of such an age profile.

Honing in on the Source of Conflict on Multi-Generational Teams

In this series, we’ve talked a lot about the characteristics of generations and how different they can be. But as of yet, we really haven’t delved into why those differences can lead to conflict in the workplace. To start with a baseline, let’s take a look at Tammy Erickson’s post on the Four Biggest Reasons for Generation Conflict on Teams from the Harvard Business Review blog.

The Debate over Differences at Work across Generations

Back in July, Rawn Shah who is a consultant for social networking for business over at IBM, contributing an interesting post to Forbes.com called Why You Must Network With Your Younger Employees. Now I disagree with Rawn on several points in this post including his statements saying that Boomers hoard and control information and the fact that he grouped GenY’ers and Millenials together, but he posted a very interesting table that compares and contrasts some characteristics across generations.

The Challenge of GenY’s Expectations for Engineering

Do you remember what is was like when you were first hired as an engineer? Do you remember the type of work you did? Did you enjoy it? Was it fulfilling? I imagine some of you are laughing at that last question. But in all seriousness. Think about it. Now hold on to that thought while we start to talk about Gen Y engineers. These are the people just graduating from engineering school and getting their first job. They’re just starting off their professional career. Think they’re in the same mental state you were in? Actually, that’s very unlikely.

The Flight Risk of GenX Engineers

To get some perspective on what the Gen X mindset looks like in a professional environment, I’m going to turn back to Tammy Erickson at the Harvard Business Review (HBR) again. Across a lot of blog posts and publications, things aren’t so mixed bag for Gen X. They’re sandwiched between two much larger (in terms of volume) generational cohorts, the Boomers and Gen Y, leading to a lot of dissatisfaction. However, they exhibit the sort of characteristics that engineering organizations need the most right now to bolster economic recovery through new product development.

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