Low self-esteem engineersA survey of engineering majors showed that only 3 percent of them wanted to pursue a career in engineering.
Last year, the National Academy of Engineering Korea, a group of businessmen, professors and engineers who studied engineering in university, asked university students in the field what line of work they wish to pursue upon graduation. The most popular profession cited was doctor (15.8 percent), followed by civil servant and financier. Those who said they wanted to work in the engineering, scientific and technology fields took up a mere 3.1 percent. It is shocking to learn that less than one out of 20 engineering majors actually want to work in the field of their expertise.
The survey may not completely capture the dreams of all engineering students and their actual career paths may differ considerably from their dreams in real life. Many will likely find jobs in the same line as their studies with the help of their department’s career specialists. What is undeniable is that most engineering students do not wish to pursue careers in the field. If graduates choose jobs out of necessity rather than according to their aspirations, they aren’t likely to feel pride or passion in their work. Few of those individuals can be expected to generate innovative work.
Engineering majors are less eager to pursue jobs in the field because engineers are less respected in our society. In the same poll, the students said they believed the most prestigious profession was the legal field (35.7 percent), followed by doctors (14.9 percent), public servants, politicians and businessmen. Engineers were last with 1.3 percent. With such ideas, we cannot expect to see brilliant scientific minds and the inventions essential for the country’s future competitiveness.
Countries around the world are in a race to foster scientific and engineering talents. Engineers are credited for this country’s rapid industrialization. The future depends on them. Our society must encourage bright students to choose the science and engineering field, to study and pursue their career and to apply their research and innovations in fields of industry. Their toil and passion must be applauded and rewarded. Schools, companies and the government all have to work together to foster Korea’s future industrialist heroes.