For us to survive in the 4th or 5th Industrial Revolution (4IR & 5IR) we need to develop new sustainable products.
I’m constantly hearing of baby-boomers (1946–1965) and even Gen-Xs, like me (1965–1980), who are talking about retiring!
But, come on what are you going to do with today’s pensions? & with today’s cost of living? & with new medication that’ll see you through until you’re 100+?
Never mind the thought of what you Gen-Xs are going to be doing for the next 35 years……yes, 35 years, beyond the general current retirement age!
We’re talking of retirement and at the same time, who’s going to replace you engineers, in creating the products and services of our future?
They say Millennials / Gen Ys aren’t coming through to replace us oldies in the workforce, because it’s not of interest to them?
So what are we going to do about it?
Millennial domination 2020 onwards
Millennials currently make up 35% of the labor force and will be the dominant players this year. These younger workers are changing jobs more frequently — differentiating them from earlier generations that were more loyal to their employers — and propelling the workforce into a new era: “the quitter economy”.
Given, you’re most likely a manager of the millennials and, or Gen-Z, the chances are these are similar ages to your kids and means we’re responsible for creating the attitude of this dominant new workforce. We’d better stop whining about them and knuckle down to create an environment that works for us all!
Any concerns over an entitlement culture was created by us!
Career progress and personal development plans
They say, young professionals regard the potential for career progression a top priority when choosing a new job, with 91% considering it important.
The data revealed that 53% of Millennials have been disappointed by a lack of personal development training when starting a new job. Despite this, just 15% of us Gen-X, and Baby-boomer employers felt that personalized training programs were a priority for keeping employees engaged.
Statisticians, Analysts & Bartenders
Recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population undertook a survey to see which jobs are most popular among the Millennial generation.
The results are very revealing; Millennials are super bright at math. You’ll find Millennials working as statisticians, financial analysts, and even bartenders (measures, sequencing and pricing, it’s all in the mix!)
Secondly, Millennials must be in good physical condition, as a couple of the occupations with the highest concentrations of Millennials, such as paramedics and bartenders (again!), can be physically demanding.
Millennials are also concerned about the future; meaning, you won’t find any jobs on the list in dying industries. According to the BLS data, the majority of the jobs are expected to grow faster than average over the next decade, with physician assistants, statisticians, and market research analysts poised for the strongest job growth.
The jobs in most demand:
1. Software engineer
2. Data analyst
3. Data scientist
4. Business analyst
5. Administrative assistant
6. Product manager
7. Financial analyst
8. Graphic designer
9. Software developer
10. Project manager
But where are our future engineers & innovators?
Where are our 4IR, 5IR new product designers/engineers?
I’m a big believer in don’t whine, but do!
Don’t complain but instead solve the problem, in other words engineer the solution.
Where are our Tony Starks of the 4IR & 5IR? Those who’ll engineer new and sustainable products and services for our years to come?
Because Product Ideation, Design, Development & Building (yes PLM) is Sexy! Is Cool!
Creativity, Innovation, Intuition, Inspiration & Emotion differentiates us in the 4IR from the robots
But, realistically if you expect to be a Tony Stark, you’ll be disappointed. Things are so complicated now that it ‘s almost impossible to design and produce something great just by yourself.
Engineering requires teamwork — usually software, hardware , electrical and mechanical engineers, and lots of other disciplines to provide support, assembly, direction, finance, purchasing, etc. It took a massive effort to put together the latest iPhone. The days where Engineers can be solitary and antisocial are almost over. Engineers must almost always work in teams to accomplish anything substantial.
The members of those teams work tirelessly without achieving fame.
Making a difference to the world around you
When you design a new, high-powered machine that eventually, after main failures, works perfectly, you’ll feel great. You might compare it to winning a high profile sporting event, but you realize that you’ve designed something that really helps people. Maybe millions of people.
And while you may not design a new cell phone or self-driving car on your own, instead your part of a much bigger project can be far better — you’ll feel really good inside even though you may never get the public notoriety for your efforts.
There is no finer profession
If you want to become famous, and provide little more than entertainment to the world, don’t become an Engineer. However, if you want to change the world, and don’t care if few realize your accomplishments, become an Engineer. There is no finer profession.
He only built the Iron Man suit to escape out of captivity, using what was available to him. He didn’t decide to simply build an Iron Man suit just to be cool.
Engineers apply this philosophy to everything in life — solve problems using available resources. This is the reason why you can drop a true engineer into any problem, and expect them to at least attempt a solution, regardless of their expertise. Engineers rarely give up when faced with a problem to solve.
So, being an Engineer is more of a lifestyle, a way of thinking that is inherent in everything we do, than about a profession. You need to check with yourself whether you want to live your life this way or not. If you are simply looking at it as a profession, you would be ill-prepared to be a true Engineer and would be disappointed by your performance.
Engineering is fun
Once you start to understand and think this way, Engineering just becomes natural. Is it fun? Yes, if the problem is fun.
Engineering is one of the most rewarding and fun careers in the world. It can take you all over the world and make great money. An engineering career doesn’t just teach you how to be a great engineer, but rather a great manager, businessman, and entrepreneur.
Be creative every day
Being an engineer means you are paid to create and innovate each and every day. During their careers, engineers have to tackle various projects regardless of their area of expertise or education.
Many opportunities to travel the world
Engineers are needed all over the world. This means that you can literally work wherever you desire or travel as you would like. When you’re trained, your services will be in a high demand, especially in the customer experience economy 4IR.
Good money for the rest of your life
Engineers are some of the highest paid around the world.
Engineers can make a huge impact on the world
If you want to come home at the end of your day and feel like you have made a difference, most engineering professions provide great avenues for helping others. As you start to develop as a professional, you will be working on bigger projects and helping people all over the world.
Hands-on, fun work
Practically every engineering profession involves hands-on work that will keep you involved through the day. You can sit behind a computer, but climbing into the trenches and making new stuff work is a blast.
If you specialize in one engineering area that’s ok; you can still transfer to a completely different specialty. Those who are interested in have to be flexible; they have to understand various technical and industrial aspects, to work with various data and perhaps even be involved in the management process and training.
Open job market
There are so many engineering jobs out there that wherever you want to work, in whatever industry, you can surely find something good.
Learn how to make awesome things
Being an engineer comes with a wealth of knowledge that enables you to build things that will amaze your friends. Each new project will improve your skills, teach you how to solve various problems and utilize resources and materials to the best of your abilities.
Attracting Younger Engineers for our 4IR innovation futures
Leaders must address the reasons workers leave by enacting change in their company culture that meet Millennial and Gen Z priorities.
- Change in management. Employees who had more than four different managers had the highest turnover rates. Managers should receive significant training about the new generations of workers and employees should receive clear, transparent expectations from management.
- Commute time. This is easily solvable by offering flexible remote work policies.
- Culture. It requires a deep look into company values and behaviors, and a strong execution of a well-thought-out plan that is communicated to the whole company.
- Meaning and purpose. These values are key to Millennial employees, even more so than compensation. Find ways to connect the everyday work to larger company goals and values.
This generation needs attracting as engineers for our 4IR innovation futures. This generation needs to do meaningful things, challenge authority and disrupt the norm.
Winning strategies incorporate increased flexibility, clarity, fulfillment, and purpose in the path of career advancement to counteract the main risk factors. Efficient, intuitive office technology is a basic expectation for new employees, and therefore, it can enhance the consumer experience individuals have come to expect from every aspect of their lives.
The bottom-line is engineering is ‘cool’ and when you work on some important stuff you’ll know it. Gather knowledge first, be patient, work through the dirt and pain and if you have passion for the end result you’ll enjoy the journey.
Don’t let the crests and troughs bother you. If you would love to make games, just go there. You’ll be great!
I drive Product Innovation & Optimization projects for companies using cutting-edge tech & software solutions to keep them at the forefront of the customer-centric 4IR
I blog, vlog & podcast passionately about our need to innovate & thrive, about managing the product lifecycle (PLM) & ever improving smarter manufacturing (MES/MOM/Digital Manufacturing). I love working with the solution vendors, the large consultancies & system integrators & helping them promote themselves & best practice, while at the same time helping deliver great projects through my networks
I love & thrive in working with some of the world’s largest companies such as Airbus, Capgemini, Dassault Systemes, Ericsson, JLR, TOTAL, Siemens, Sony, Subsea7 & Unilever, to name a few
I’m a big people-person & have spent my life meeting as many people & cultures as I can. At my last count, I am lucky enough to have visited & done business in over 55 countries
supporting you in your collaborative journey with the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform