I think the cycle is turning up. We had our bust in 2001, so we should be starting the boom any day now. Even in '02 & '03 all of the _really_ good engineers that I knew were securely employed; now it seems that all the employers are looking and not necessarily finding who they want.
You may well be correct, I for one had a hard time post 911.... then there was nothing to be heard but "outsource outsource"..
I think most of the engineers displaced for outsourcing either retired or changed careers... i stuck with it as i'm an engineering geek.. and is the only thing i'm any good at.. lol
Now I receive 5 to 6 phone calls and emails galore..a week from desperate sounding head hunters..
Ironically, my employer circa 2002 has now only just realised that outsourcing does not work for them and they are activley recruiting engineers again.. the overhead of managing remote engineers and the time difference made it un economical..
From communication I have with other engineers in the embedded field, there is a distinct shortage of experienced engineers now here in the US.. ..whitness the ever increasing H1B visa immigrant population..
Interesting, but from a personal position of almost having to beg for a job post 911... I now have the luxury of cherry picking my next employer/salary.. !!! LOL
I left my PPOE in 2006 because we were being treated like excrement by the new owners (a large German automotive electronics company)... It used to be a fantastic startup with great people, great ideas and great products; within a couple of years they managed to turn it into a sullen, depressing place to work with half the mobile phones in the company playing the theme to "The Great Escape" every time they rang and the manager responsible for HR too spineless to even go upstairs to meet the engineers "because they create such a negative atmosphere". (Hint - no we didn't; he did, by attempting to enforce more restrictive contracts on us and presenting them as beneficial!).
After the first year or so our roles changed - we went from creating fundamentally new products and ideas to acting as nannies to the Indian development organisation. It did not take a genius to work out that the Fatherland planned to cut out the middleman and outsource our jobs to India... after all, they'd sucked the few pieces of IPR that they wanted out of the company and delivered the project that their MD had promised his board and that was running 18 months late (their solution wasn't to finish it themselves; their solution was to buy us and to rebadge our existing project!).
What *really* sickened me about the takeover was that they could not appreciate that *we did not embrace their corporate culture*. Had we wanted to join $RandomMultinational with a paternalistic, bureaucratic, anti-individualist culture, we would've done so when we were young impressionable engineers - instead they bought a bunch of guys in their
30s, 40s, 50s, all of whom took immense pride in individual and team creativity. We didn't but into their leadership bullshit; we didn't buy into their idea of career development ("You *vill* be ambitious! You
*vill* want to move to our headquarters..")
Particularly galling was that the Germans bought a failing US company in a similar market sector to us at about the same time -- they got a full transition management team - we were told to just get on with it.
The whole thing was an object lesson in how to alienate an excellent development team and turn them into sullen, miserable clock-watchers.
Anyway, I've since been approached by at least two pimps asking if I'd consider going and taking my old job back... because the exodus of skilled senior engineers has been so bad. (The engineering team was about 15 strong in late 2005. Of those fifteen people, 1 left on medical grounds and six resigned by mid-2006 - and I know two more are trying to get out because I keep getting pimps asking me if I'd consider introducing them to my current employers!)
I pointed out that it was a death march then; it's now an even more demoralised death march!
email@example.com "it made about as much sense as a polythene sandwich"
I had been asking myself the same question. Well, here go my guesses along with those already posted by the others:
- "embedded" is becoming a new buzzword. Perhaps in part artificially driven to become one by MS etc., perhaps just because of the exploding number of embedded processors last few years, perhaps both.
- like others suggested, demand for engineers in the field may be growing. Add to that the fact that the really experienced ones who know all the levels of the hard/software are getting retired or simply die out, and it becomes increasingly difficult to find the one who will actually do the job, no matter how many of the staff are engineers.
- "conspiracy" -like theory applicable: MS and the rest of the big gang have closed down the computer market; nowadays you can buy as many computerised tv-sets as you want (xbox, PS3 etc.), but no computers (things like the above but documented so you can access the hardware and program them). So what is left is the "embedded" field, time to kill the diversity in it as well..... (don't take that more seriously than it sounds, I have no facts to support it other than those publically available :-).
- most trivial explanation I can think of: a single (new?) spammer has discovered this newsgroup......
Well, I guess I have to switch to doing some work now :-).
As a young (soon to be) electrical engineer, I feel more than concerned about the outsourcing phenomena.
I was reading a previous issue of IEEE Spectrum and a lot of US corp are now realising that outsourcing means risk vs. money savings. Some new technologies that were being outsourced were being introduced by foreign competitors a little after. I think that we should innovate the way we're designing products rather than the way we're outsourcing.