The Plummeting Scope of Engineering in Pakistan

Muhammad Karam

From the Pyramids of Giza to the Pyramids of Teotihuacán, from Saksaywaman in Peru to the Lost City of Moen-jo-Daro, the presence of the field of engineering since ancient times is indubitable. Engineers have always been termed an asset to a country’s economy as it is widely driven by innovation and technology. However, their utilization has always been questioned in third-world countries, namely Pakistan, where half a million students graduate every year. Contrary to that, the job market that they experience is saturated with a low pay scale.

As per the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) reports, the country has 2,60,000 engineers registered in the country. Among them, 50,000 are unemployed, and 30 percent are serving abroad. With over half a million graduates, the number of registered engineers is seemingly low. One should implore the fact that what happens to the other graduates? Does every engineer get to practice their field? And if not, then what are the alternatives available?

When we dig into the profundity of problems and try to get to the shore of solutions, the first thing that we see hovering over the layer is the self-volition of students in Pakistan. It is not an individualistic problem but a societal one.

There are only two socially viable options given to a qualified intermediate student, engineering or medical.

Image Credit: iStock

If someone hasn’t decided about their future, the only expedient solution to their problem is acquiring an engineering degree, and then they could further continue thinking about their professional life.

In a nutshell, students frequently and consistently plump for engineering over their consent, which affects the all-embracing image of engineers as it becomes a mere formality than a respected field.

One foremost reason for this grave matter is also the skill-gap present in the graduates. When offering jobs to the graduates, companies look for the cream of the crop, and, unfortunately, there’s a gap in the quality and quantity of engineers produced in Pakistan. Most engineering universities in Pakistan confine themselves to a theoretical approach rather than exposing the aspirants to real-world problems.

Moreover, the demand and supply are lopsided as we have more engineers graduating per year than their exigency globally, thus increasing the influx of engineers in the job market. Whilst those graduates that, with the stroke of luck, land themselves a job get a salary fluctuating between 15,000 to 20,000, which is at a touching distance to the minimum wage in Pakistan and, woefully, at a low par than the rest of the world.

Students are compelled to change their careers post-graduation under the aforementioned prevailing conditions. Most of them not just choose various fields but rather succeed wherever they put their steps.

According to a report, 140 out of 376 students who passed CSS2020 were engineers. There’s also a rising trend of students opting MBA after engineering, but there isn’t any reported figure available.

However, estimation shows it could be over 35-40%. Freelancing is another preferred direction that engineering graduates get a shine to, as Pakistan is now the 4rth most popular country for freelancing.

Scott Adams’s quote is perfectly put for the engineering graduates in the country, “Engineers like to solve problems, and if there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.” Still and all, the predicament of Engineers is a matter of significant concern that affects the image of the field and the country. Therefore, serious reforms are the need of the hour to improve the engineering profession’s status in Pakistan; else, the repercussions would be disastrous.

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