More Engineering Graduates, More Customers—More Business

Feb. 23, 2011

Distributors of electronic components are ramping up their service offerings in Asia to meet growing customer demand. Demographics is driving much of the process, as the number of customers—design engineers—in the region continues to outpace customer growth in many other areas of the world.

This has been a driving force behind electronics distributor element14’s effort to boost business in Asia, according to Nader Tadros, marketing and e-commerce director, Asia Pacific, for element14. Tadros points to the vast number of engineers entering the workforce in China and India, in particular, as a key reason element14 is “bullish on the market.”

According to the National Science Foundation, based in Arlington, Va., many countries in Asia are indeed churning out higher numbers of science and engineering graduates these days. The group’s National Center for Science & Engineering Statistics’ report Science & Engineering Indicators: 2010 found that students in China earned about 21% of the more than 4 million undergraduate degrees awarded in science and engineering in 2006. That compares to 19% of students in the European Union and 11% of students in the United States. Some of the study’s other findings were:

  • The number of science and engineering undergraduate degrees awarded in China, Poland, and Taiwan more than doubled between 1998 and 2006, and those in the United States and many other countries generally increased. Those awarded in Japan decreased in recent years.
  • In China, the number of undergraduate degrees awarded in natural sciences and engineering has risen particularly sharply since 2002. In comparison, those awarded in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States have remained relatively flat.
  • In the United States, science and engineering degrees are about one-third of bachelor's degrees and have been for a long time. By comparison, more than half of undergraduate degrees were awarded in science and engineering fields in Japan (63%), China (53%), and Singapore (51%).
  • In the United States, about 5% of all bachelor's degrees are in engineering. In Asia about 20% are in engineering, and in China, in particular, about one-third are in engineering (although the percentage has declined in recent years).

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