When it comes to churning out engineers, we often think of China and India (which are not included in this report due to a lack of data) being the dominant forces from the emerging markets. Today’s chart survey from Statista shows the USA is still not the leader, but sandwiched between 1st place Russia and 3rd place Iran. Of the remaining seven spots for the top ten, four out of seven countries are represented by emerging markets, i.e. Indonesia, Ukraine, Mexico, and Vietnam.
After this, I took the survey study one step further and calculated the per capita number of graduates for each population to give it a more meaningful perspective and the results were somewhat sobering. Even though the USA is second on the list in total output of engineering graduates, it is last in the top ten in terms of per capita number of graduates.
The conclusions I draw from the above tells me that if America expects to retain its dominance in economic productivity, then its engineers will have to be multiple times more productive relative to elsewhere. Highly optimistic or ethnocentric Americans and Conservatives should not ignore the law of diminishing returns. In other words, if such an outcome were indeed possible, it would not be sustainable. The bottom line is that the USA eventually will have to invest money to increase the training and educational resources available to its general population or revise its immigration policies (and recruit from emerging market economies where the incentives for brain drain are much stronger) if it wishes maintain its competitive edge with a high value added labor force.
Let the charts talk…