One in five engineers say the greatest challenge they are tasked with solving over the next quarter century is cybersecurity. And more than half of engineers around the world believe there are not enough engineers in place now and there will be still be a shortage in the near future.

The Global Engineer Survey—commissioned by DiscoverE of Alexandria, Virginia—was released today coinciding with World Engineering Day. More than 10,000 engineers from 119 countries offered input.

DiscoverE Executive Director Kathy Renzetti says participants were asked about the future of engineering and more specifically about global challenges, the community’s ability to solve those problems, and the limitations they may face.

In addition to concerns about cybersecurity, the participants raised the issues of economical clean energy, sustaining land and oceans, and a sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Renzetti says it’s going to require many players to address these global concerns. She says, “It’s a collaborative effort on many fronts. It’s going to include companies, educators, students, policymakers, and the public and private sectors.”

Addressing a Shortage of Engineers

Renzetti adds that the survey results also addressed workforce development and the shortage of engineers, not just now, but in the future.

According to the survey, 51.7 percent of engineers agree or strongly agree there is a current shortage of engineers, while 54.3 percent believe there will be a shortage in the coming years. When it comes to technicians and technologists, 60.3 percent believe there is a shortage now and 58 percent believe it will continue in the future.

She says DiscoverE’s mission is to inspire and inform present and future generations’ interest in engineering.

“Kids should have awareness of engineering—ideally before fifth grade. That early engineering experience increases the possibility that a student will pursue the field through college,” Renzetti tells WorkingNation.

Survey results found that 96 percent of engineers say that volunteering with primary and secondary students to make that introduction to engineering is important.

Photo: DiscoverE

The Engineering Community is Optimistic

Despite global challenges, the survey says that the majority of respondents are optimistic about being able to tackle these issues. Renzetti says having role models, effective messaging around engineers, and learning how engineers apply math and science in their work will result in the creation of more future problem solvers.

In 2019, DiscoverE partnered with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and UNESCO to coordinate World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. The 2020 Global Engineer Survey is the second to be commissioned by DiscoverE.

Laura Aka is WorkingNation’s Senior Editorial Producer.

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