BERWYN, PA -- In conjunction with DiscoverE's Engineers Week, TE Connectivity Ltd., a world leader in connectivity, today announced the findings of its second annual Engineering Sentiment Survey, which examined American attitudes toward the engineering profession and its broader impact on innovation and society.
The survey of 1,010 adults in the U.S. found there is a growing awareness of the role of engineers in driving innovation (79 percent versus 73 percent last year).
In fact, engineers are as valued as teachers in the U.S. with respondents expressing that both professions are equally contributing to positive innovation and change in society (79 percent).
"There are exciting innovations going on in just about every field and in places we wouldn't have imagined even three years ago. Engineers continue to drive innovation, bringing advancements across industries that impact our daily lives," said Rob Shaddock, executive vice president and chief technology officer at TE Connectivity. "There is greater appreciation for the role of engineers in society, but there is a growing need to inspire more students to be engineers in the U.S. and around the world."
Attracting More Young Women to STEM Fields
According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. Even among those who pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related industry.
To help advance careers in STEM, survey respondents agreed for the second consecutive year that positive experiences with STEM during formative years, that is, during elementary and middle school, will have the greatest impact (35 percent). In a shift from last year's survey, respondents are placing greater emphasis on the impact of classroom intervention in STEM, as well as resources and support at the college or university level, to prevent dropout from STEM-related fields and career paths (22 percent). Respondents also noted that internships (15 percent), mentors (13 percent) and work readiness programs (11 percent) would contribute to the advancement of STEM in the U.S.
Despite the fact women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they are much less represented in science and engineering occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. To make it more culturally desirable for young women and girls to be interested in STEM, a majority of survey respondents advocate an increase in hands-on classroom activities (79 percent). Female survey respondents (85 percent) in particular agreed hands-on classroom projects are important compared to their male counterparts (71 percent).
Women (76 percent) also agreed a shift in the perception of "traditional" female professions would make STEM more desirable compared to male survey respondents (68 percent). In fact, 69 percent of female respondents noted that greater emphasis placed on females in STEM roles in pop culture would make it more desirable for girls to become interested in STEM compared to 58 percent of male survey respondents.
Both men and women agree early exposure to technology or engineering related toys (72 percent), after-school programs (70 percent) and inclusive curricula (69 percent) are also important factors in making STEM more culturally attractive to young women and girls in the U.S. In 2015, the TE Connectivity Foundation is a sponsor of Engineers Week Girl Day, a collection of events and workshops that showcase the amazing world of engineering to young women.
Innovation and Industry: Where Engineers Will Have the Greatest Impact
Respondents believe connected or smart devices (24 percent) will have the greatest societal impact over the next 10 years, followed by robot development (18 percent). With 3D printing becoming more mainstream it moved up the ranks to third place, with 15 percent of respondents noting its societal impact. Rounding out the list are wearable technologies (13 percent), drones (11 percent) and driverless vehicles (10 percent).
"Our daily lives are surrounded with these innovations – from our offices and factories to our clothing, fitness gear, cars and homes," said Amy Shah, chief marketing officer at TE Connectivity. "As these innovations become more interesting and important to our lives, we expect to attract more students, and more women, to join TE Connectivity in our engineering and advanced technology fields."
In conjunction with Engineers Week, TE has updated http://www.te.com/everyconnectioncounts/en/home.html to showcase the company's commitment to engineer-to-engineer collaboration.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
TE's Engineering Sentiment survey was conducted by ORC International's CARAVAN Omnibus services from January 22 to 25, 2015. The study was conducted using two probability samples: randomly selected landline telephone numbers and randomly selected mobile (cell) telephone numbers. The combined sample consists of 1,010 adults (18 years old and older) living in the continental United States. Of the 1,010 interviews, 509 were from the landline sample and 501 from the cell phone sample.
For more details, visit http://www.te.com