January, 2000

Report Offers Ways to Strengthen Ties With Emerging Technology Sector


APEGGA Council's Emerging Disciplines Task Force, chaired by Coun. Elizabeth Cannon, P.Eng., PhD, has completed the first phase of its work by submitting to Council a report prepared by KPMG Consulting. The report profiles some of the key characteristics of the engineering labour force involved in Advanced Technology (AT), a rapidly expanding sector estimated to have some 50,000 employees in Alberta. Based on the survey results, it would appear that as many as 7,500 individuals with engineering degrees work in that sector in the province.

In conducting its analysis, KPMG used results supplied by 49 employers (of the 100 AT employers contacted) with engineering graduates on staff.

Based on the survey results, KPMG reports that:

* About 54 per cent of those working in AT firms -- and who could qualify for membership in APEGGA -- are Members of the Association;

* Younger engineers working in AT are less likely to belong to APEGGA;

* Engineers working in this field are significantly younger than those in other industries. Almost 70 per cent of engineers working in AT are under 40 and about half are in their thirties. The concentration of younger employees with engineering degrees is particularly prevalent in the mid-sized (26-100 Alberta employees) firms. Such firms also have the lowest percentage of APEGGA Members among those potentially eligible to join.

* The electrical/electronic (49 per cent) and computer engineering (20 per cent) disciplines are very prevalent in AT and much higher in proportion than representation among APEGGA's total membership (19 per cent).

Flowing from the task force's recommendations, Council has approved in principle a number of measures. They include creating a more visible APEGGA presence within the emerging disciplines sector. Initiatives might include offering Continuing Professional Development presentations and luncheon sessions geared toward, and accessible to those working in emerging disciplines. The task force recommended (and Council approved) an APEGGA presence at the SMART2000 conference next October and suggested APEGGA partner with emerging technology firms to attract potential employees to the province.

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