Technical Personnel Shortage


(source: Electronics World, Dec. 1963)

By 1970 we will need more than 2 million scientists and engineers, up 90% from 1959.

ACCORDING to researchers for the National Science Foundation, the United States will not have enough technically trained personnel in the year 1970 to satisfy the expected needs of industry and government. More than 2 million. scientists and engineers, for example, will be needed in 1970, an in crease of 90 percent above 1959 employment levels, but the universities will probably train only a little more than 700,000, the researchers predict.

A similar shortage is also predicted for the other types of technically trained personnel. These predictions are included in the "Proceedings of the Conference on Progress in Nuclear Education," recently published by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Demands for trained technical personnel in general have been rising at a much more rapid rate than the increase in the labor force, the researchers point out. Our labor force has grown by 23 million workers, or approximately 50 percent since 1930, while the various technical workers as a group have increased from 3.3 million to 7.4 million, or more than double their number. The demand for engineers alone increased four-fold, while the demand for natural scientists increased more than six times by the end of the 30-year period.

Present and future demands for scientists and engineers and other technical workers are largely created by the Federal Government research and development programs, that is, for defense, space, and atomic energy. About 65 percent of the estimated $15 billion expenditures for research and development in 1962 was financed by the Federal Government, requiring 65 percent of all the technical personnel employed.

Currently more than 800,000 engineers are employed in the United States, more than twice the number of scientists employed. The demand for scientists, however, has been growing more rapidly than the demand for engineers.

Eighty-three percent of the engineers and 50 percent of the scientists are employed by industry, mostly in production and research and development work.

Fourteen percent of the engineers and 20 percent of the scientists are employed by the government. Most of the others are employed in the universities.

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