Why PH needs more engineers

Posted at 04/08/2014 5:10 PM | Updated as of 04/08/2014 5:14 PM
There is a continuous demand for engineers in the construction industry. Photo by Noel Celis, AFP.

MANILA -- "There is a shortage of engineers in the Philippines."

This is what Far Eastern University (FEU)–East Asia College executive director Benson Tan told ABS-CBNnews.com when asked why students should consider a career in engineering. The East Asia College is home to FEU's technology-related programs including computer science, information technology and four engineering courses.

"There is a demand for engineers not only abroad but in the Philippines also. I think that the supply is lower than the demand. With technology being ubiquitous, everywhere you see technology - all these require [graduates of] information technology, computer science and engineering – these are all related."

According to Tan, who is a computer science graduate from De La Salle University, engineers are in demand today because a lot of local industries are becoming more engineering-related.

Contrary to popular belief, engineers are not only needed in construction industries. Tan said that because of the Philippines' growing economy, a lot of fields and industries are opening up to graduates of engineering.

"[Engineers] can apply in BPOs, in the banking and finance sector, in mining, telecommunications, transportation and even military services. When you say engineering-related, you talk about almost every sector of the industry," Tan explained.

He said that even the international market is opening up to Filipino engineers particularly in territories that are experiencing construction boom like Middle Eastern and African countries.

However, Tan said that this phenomenon also has detrimental effects on the Philippines, particularly on Filipino students.

"There is a demand for Filipino engineers in the international market. In fact, we lose a lot of faculty [members] because they are offered jobs abroad," Tan said.

"It's both good and bad. Good because they are getting better pay and better life. Bad because it's part of the brain drain in the country and you need also good people to stay in the country to educate the next generation of engineers," he added.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW ENGINEERS

When asked if there is a demand for fresh engineering graduates who are yet to gain work experience, Tan answered in the affirmative.

"There's definitely job opportunities for newly-graduated engineers. There is a high demand for engineers now. In fact, we were looking for an engineer recently for our facilities and we had a hard time finding one. [When it comes to companies], there are already experienced engineers who can train these new graduates who will eventually replace them."

The demand for engineers in the country and abroad is no secret to students. As a matter of fact, Tan said that, he has seen the number of students in FEU-East Asia College alone grow tremendously.

"The student population [of FEU-East Asia College] has almost doubled and we are expanding. We have a new building; right across the street, there's a 17-storey building [that is being constructed]," Tan revealed.

In a bid to establish itself as a key player in engineering and technology, FEU-East Asia College will be renamed to FEU Technological Institute, or simply "FEU Tech."