Management Skills Crucial for Engineering Success

Dec 28, 2010

by Gregory N. Marino

More than half of ASME members polled in a 2008 survey reported that their jobs require management skills. The survey, conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP, interviewed about 1,900 engineers, including members of ASME, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers.

The importance of management skills was underscored when participants described their immediate plans for professional development. Fifty-five percent planned to undertake management training such as project management, general management, strategic planning, marketing, or accounting/finance. Nearly half of those planning to pursue management-focused professional development considered pursuing certification or a degree.

Executive Concerns

The Deloitte & Touche survey also included interviews with senior engineering and management executives from 30 science and engineering companies. Three management concerns emerged from this survey.

One is an impending shortage of engineers. Another is globalization, its impact on local employment, and the need to implement quality and standardized management training in emerging markets.

The third concern involved the complexity of innovation. Companies need managers well-versed in the disciplines of both technology and business to remain successful in a world where product innovation is increasingly becoming a matter of multidisciplinary, international, and often multicultural collaboration.

With this in mind, it is all the more critical to identify the next generation of engineer-managers to lead companies through current and emerging challenges.

[Adapted from “Certified to Lead” by Gregory N. Marino, for Mechanical Engineering, August 2009.]

The importance of management skills was underscored when participants described their immediate plans for professional development.