Framing the Engineering Outsourcing Debate
Placing the United States on a level playing field with China and India.
The effect of the dynamics of engineering outsourcing on the global economy is a discussion of keen interest in both business and public circles. Varying, inconsistent reporting of problematic, engineering graduation data has been used to fuel fears that America is losing its technological edge. Typical articles have stated that in 2004 the United States graduated roughly 70,000 undergraduate engineers, while China graduated 600,000 and India 350,000. Our study has determined that these are inappropriate comparisons.
These massive numbers of Indian and Chinese engineering graduates include not only four-year degrees, but also three-year training programs and diploma holders. These numbers have been compared against the annual production of accredited four-year engineering degrees in the United States.
In addition to the lack of nuanced analysis around the type of graduates (transactional or dynamic) and quality of degrees being awarded, these articles also tend not to ground the numbers in the larger demographics of each country. A comparison of like-to-like data suggests that the U.S. produces a highly significant number of engineers, computer scientists and information technology specialists, and remains competitive in global markets.