To start the year, eBOM.com’s marketing manager Amy Leary invokes some future gazing, looking at jobs, smart electronics, robotics and gender – By Amy Leary
How is the electronics engineering job market evolving?
Electronic engineering has been a widely recognised field since the 1950s. With the roots of electronic engineering evolving in 1835 when the first relay was invented by Joseph Henry, it has developed into a high demand industry market. In this article I walk readers through the movement of the engineering workforce and explore how it has evolved.
But who are electronic engineers? Electronic engineers design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of electronic equipment ranging from motors and power generation products, to mobile phones, robotics and computers. Engineering is a crucial part of electronics where the product comes together to operate efficiently. All the electronic products you see today would have been designed by an electronics engineer, regardless of whether it was physically constructed by robots or humans.
Demand for smart electronics is increasing
The more electronic products that are designed, the more that can be manufactured and sold, the more profit to be made. Countries producing the highest quantity of electronics have the greatest demand for engineers and designers. According to Investopedia, China, Hong Kong and the US lead the global field in producing electronic products.
Maintaining its reputation for producing inexpensive consumer goods in large quantities, China contributes heavily to the electronics sector, as this is the country’s most prominent export category. Smart electronics such as mobiles, smartwatches and tablets have been in high demand in recent years. The ever-changing trend of smart devices means that electronic engineers will need to be adaptable to keep up with the latest technologies. China is soon to overtake the United States as the largest economy, widely contributed to by talented electronics engineers.
Rise of the robots
When I think of what the future holds, I imagine robots serving us at restaurants, driverless cars, and robots making our clothes etc. However, this may just be the reality. According to Academy ArchiStar, several studies have suggested that artificial intelligence may cause job losses. One recent example comes from » the University of Oxford. The study found that over 700 types of jobs are at risk of technological disruption. All told, this means that about 47 per cent of jobs are at risk because of artificial intelligence. Up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysis firm Oxford Economics. However, electronics engineers may be in luck. Being an engineer takes a great deal of creativity which can unlikely be replaced by robotics.
Demand increasing for green engineering
Climate change has been a passionate topic for many people over recent years. According to Global Climate Change, the planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 0.9 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. Because of this, there has been huge pressure on engineers to produce sustainable products which have a positive impact for the climate. As well as this, not only is the pressure for electronics engineers to produce products that are made in an environmentally friendly way, but products that are environmentally friendly throughout their lifespan. According to Survey Monkey, 35 per cent of people are willing to spend more money on products that are better for the environment. Engineers strive to create products which are in high demand and make people feel good about buying. Therefore, it’s important that they incorporate this new environmentally friendly trend when designing products. The trend is producing products which preserve natural resources, are cost-efficient and support human and natural environments.
Gender imbalance in the work force
In this field of employment there is a significant gender disparity, with far fewer women than men working in the area. The gender imbalance in engineering has been going on for centuries. Recent statistics show that only 16 per cent of engineering and technology undergraduates in the UK are women. Also, according to Wikipedia, the salary of female engineers is 10 per cent less than male engineers. Today, it is more widely accepted to have females in the male dominated engineering work force. However, very few females pursue a career in this field.
What can I do to keep up with the ever-changing market?
I would advise electronics engineers to constantly research the latest smart devices and trends. This would be beneficial for engineers as their products would be in higher demand. Also, customers are more likely to buy products which are positive towards the environment so I would advise taking that into consideration.
In my opinion, I think the engineering market is adapting to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Electronics engineers see the world in a more fragile way and therefore strive to engineer products in a way which doesn’t contribute to climate change. The engineering job market is evolving to be more technical and smarter device dominated to keep up with the latest products. In my opinion, the engineering market in the future will be more robotics dominated due to the latest technology. This would be a more efficient way to produce products due to not having to pay wages etc.