Why Filipino Engineers are degraded

I came across this question in Yahoo answers

Why are engineers in the Philippines degraded?
Most companies in the Philippines required their engineers to do the job of a technician. Is it shameful? In other countries an engineer is an engineer.

The most favored answer by readers is

almost everything in the philippines can be explained by money and economy. engineers in the philippines are not degraded. but you need to consider that the economy of the usa is a lot bigger than that of the philippines. for this reason, both economy work in different ways. as a result salaries and wages are also different. lower salaries in the usa might let the engineers feel that they are degraded, but here, it is part of life. meaning if you cannot hack it, then leave.

This question is not answerable by a simple answer. There are many perspective in which this question could be looked at such as

  1. Academic background - Not all universities and colleges in the Philippines are created equal. Methods of instructions, teaching staff, facilities, laboratory equipments, library books and references, etc.

    Some universities tend to hire new graduates as their teaching staff. I am not against this practice, my only concern is, the students will only be as good as their teacher.

    It will be different if the teacher has some experiences in the real world. The teacher will then be able to relate theory into practical applications conceivable by the students.

    Reference books and laboratory equipment are also very important to prepare the student into becoming a highly knowledgeable engineer.

  2. Experience - New graduates tend to start from the bottom by learning the skill of a technician. As the new graduate engineer only have theory as a tool, using it into practical applications is a big dilemma on their part. Example, how many Electrical Engineering graduate truly know how a synchronous motor look like? Or how to design a wye-delta motor starter with the correct time delay settings?
  3. Job Opportunities - Due to the over-supply of Engineers in the Philippines, the Engineer may have applied for the job of a technician just for survival.
  4. Continuing Education - Engineers should continue to uplift their knowledge not because it is a requirement for license renewal but because it is a means to remain competitive in the job market and to be up-to-date to technology advances.

    Attending seminars is one way to have continuing education. Keeping up-to-date with standards and codes, or reading the latest technology at your own leisure time is another.

Overseas, particularly in the Middle East, most Filipino Engineers do the jobs of technicians. Some call themselves Design Engineers but in reality, they are just CAD designers, they don't even do calculations or prepare reports applying some engineering principles.

It is truly embarrassing seeing a fellow Engineers doing such work but that is what their skill and knowledge is suited for. It will only be for the Filipino engineer to uplift himself and stand up to the qualities of a true Engineer.

About the Author

Ver Pangonilo

A Filipino Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) – Australia and Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) – Philippines with extensive experience in concept select, front-end engineering, HV & LV detail design, construction and commissioning of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Area electrical installations in water and waste water pipeline and pumping facilities, offshore platforms, hydrocarbon process plants and pipelines including related facilities. Hazardous area classification and design certification (UEENEEM015B, UEENEEM016B, UEENEEM017B).

  • Ricky

    At IAN….the difference between Pinas and the States is the specialization of of each profession. That means all of the Professional disciplines involved during construction must have professional certifications. That all designers (Arch, Engr’s, Contractors, Sub and Sub-subs) must have License and Certifications! All electricians, plumbers, gypsum installers, cement plasteres, roofing installers and others must be “CERTIFIED” and this certification is given by the state as a form of competency in the areas of their respective field. The level of expertised is also important and your pay is base on this level. I can go on and it will takes a a few weeks to highlights all the criteria regarding the differences between the US and Pians. Pinas wont catch up with the developed world unless its change its culture…….I can only say that US has a Culture of GReat Expectation and this is the thraits of most countries who are successful in everything they do.

  • Ricky

    Sad that you all have to go through this. Its the corrupt and broken system in Pinas thats fueling this type of problem. Pinas is so corrupt from top to bottom and the whole thing stink to high heavens. Its is our culture, its a culture of corruption! When a culture is corrupt, its core is rotten and not fit for consumption. Filipinos in general are good and hardworking people, but they are also very shy and forgiving. This traits give others the impressions that they are not strong people in terms of their character. That Filipinos are percieved to be soft to its core and are not brave enough to challenge the corruption endemic in their political system. Just the other day, a friend was scared to his rear end on my posting regarding issues on the rising prices of gasoline and the political lobbyist connected to the oil industry. I called out some political leaders whom are very closed to the oil industry and presented a good argument on the series of inderect impact of these political lobby on the prices of gasoline in the states. My Filipino friend called immediately and told me to be “carefull” to what I say or I will be in trouble! I told him not to worry, im not the only one who put this issue in the front. I told that he is now living in the states and for him not to be afraid anymore. That here in the states you have the right under the US Constitution to say anything you want. This is the attitude most Filipinos have and they are afraid to speak the truth and the result is a free for all and all corrupt politicians get away with their corrupt practices.

  • I agree with this blog. It’s really happening in our country. I’m an ECE dito sa cebu, but I’m trying to hard to gain experience anything closest to engineering – Project engineer, sales engineer, maintenance, property, etc. Malabo na sa mga semiconductor/production companies kasi backer system.

  • Ian

    Hi Fellow Engineers..

    I have been working outside the country for merely 3years now, I have been working with a multi national oil and gas company in mid-east as an electrical engineer, I could point out some few difference that I have experienced in working from our homeland (Pinas) and working in foreign land:

    PPE’s ( personal protective equipment): When we talk about safety, we really do not know what is the real meaning, yes, we always here them says “safety first”- but, I’m sorry to say that never in my proffesional life in our native land did I encounter PM’s, Engineers, Safety Officers ( specially in construction sites) conducted safety meeting with the labourers, with employees,, etc.. explaining the ways to be safe.. in the construction site, most of the labourers are working in tsinelas, shorts, t-shirts..whithout PPE’s when I was in Pinas, I thought this kind of working environment is the normal working environment which I need to expect in all construction sites, here in the site you will get sucked-out by not wearing approved safety shoes..

    Scaffoldings:
    In Pinas- basta naitayo ang pala-pala( scaffoldings) to whatever altitude you want..ok na, kahit nakikita monang medyo wala sa hulog, aalug alugin mo lang kung hindi bumagsak or natumba ok parin.. but here it’s a total different, there is a scaffolding engineer that take cares of the method statement kung papaano itayo ang mga scaffolds, he will check the materials, approve or rejects them, he will also check the person who will install them if they are qualified or not.. samantalang sa atin tanungin mo lang kung marunong magtayo ng pala-pala pag sumagot ng yes sir.. ok na..

    Lifting works:

    In Pinas- no matter how heavy it is as long as it can be lifted by our labourers go lang- dito OA- 20kg, gumagamit ng crane- well machines can be repaired and can be replaced but our spinal column cannot..

    Job Description:
    In Pinas when I was working there, my designation is Electrical Engineer handling the maintenance for one of the biggest mall dyan sa atin, my day to day job is as follows: Electrical Engineer, HVAC Engineer, plumbing supervisor, carpentry supervisor, taga declog nang mga drainage supervisor, etc.. in short I was doing all the dirty works for the company. Here, simple lang, if you are an electrical engineer mind only your business, let the other experts take care of the rest..

    Engineers:
    In Pinas Engineers have to do everything, from thinking to leg works,, yes, let’s face it they are overworked and underpaid. here susmaryosef, engineers do the thinking, conceptualizing, and empowering tapos upo kana sa office mo, think and plan again and just go to the site sometime, check mo lang kung nasunod ang instructions mo, then yun kita kana ng malaki..

    based on my experiences and from what i see, Filipino Engineers are humbled to the faces of other countries or our counterpart engineers not by the education system in our country but merely because on the working environment there in the Philippines, the way on how we engineers were raised from our senior engineers, and maybe the way on our senior engineers were groomed by their superior engineers.. I think it’s high time to put an end on this crap.. let us analize follow the standard, be strict to the rules, gear up, and teach the new generation engineers what to be a real engineers.. We filipinos are the most intelligent human beings, we could easily adopt to any environment, we could work with minimum supervision or even no supervision at all, we could set aside our feelings for the sake of our loved ones.. if not intelligent I do not know what else they could call us..

  • Oswald

    Not all engineers are created equal. I myself came from the bottom of the ladder until I become the Chief Electrical Engineer. I started as Technician after graduation to CADD Operator to Electrical Designer to Electrical Engineer to Sr. Electrical Engineer to Chief Electrical Engineer. It is does not mean a graduate engineer working as a technician or Cadd Designer life stops there. I’m very proud of our kababayans who are working their guts out just to make sure that their families are provided with the basic necessities in life. At the end, it is still his or her moral character that counts, whatever job position he’s into.

  • trojan

    Just came across this article while browsing the web and was intrigued by the title.Thought i’d post a reply.

    As per written article above “engineers that should be branded as technicians are those does not do calculations or prepare reports applying some engineering principles” such as CAD designers. I wonder who else would you consider to be technicians only? I wish there were more examples given.

    Would you not need to have an engineering background to be an efficient CAD designer or CAD engineer?

    From what I have been thought at university engineers can endeavour to a wide range career paths.We wouldn’t have designations such as planning engineers, cost engineers, contract engineers and QA/QC engineers if these are all thought to be only technicians.And how about those engineers who becomes project controllers, project managers, project directors etc.

    I too work in Australia as an engineer (and a member of IEAUST) but have a lot of mates who work as planning engineers, contract engineers and even quantity engineers and yet they are recognized as professional engineers by IEAUST (Institute of Engineers Australia).With IEAUST, recognition as a professional engineer is not only limited to “doing calculations or reports based on engineering principles”.There are whole bunch of stuff involved – time management , leadership skills etc.

    I am disappointed that such article made it on the web.It is unethical and unproffesional to brand a fellow engineer as a technician just on the basis “that they don’t do calculations or prepare reports applying some engineering principles”.

  • stryker

    I think the correct word is “underemployed” adjective (of a person) not doing work that makes full use of their skills and abilities.
    The usual usage of “degrade” is to treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect e.g. “erotic pictures degraded women”

  • LOUIE L. RUIVIVAR, P.E.

    I would like to contribute to the advancement of the Filipino engineer, in the Philippines as well as those abroad. One thing I noticed , and of course this is just an opinion on my part, is that when a student graduates to be an engineer in the Philippines, he/she tends to slow down the personal pursuit for additional learning. Hardly does he realize that, now that he finished his/her degre, he/she possesses the key to a wider learning opportunity.

    To this end, I recommend (for those pursuing the power system branch of EE) to visit the Schweitzer Relay and Basler relay Websites. Registration is required, but does not cost you a penny. I also used to have a free website for non-current IEEE Standards (for reference), but it’s been shutdown since. These websites show a wide range of Protective Relaying design and applications for just about every major electrical equipment (e.g., motors, transformers, generators, swithcgears, etc.) there is.

    One may also try the Cutler-Hammer Consulting Catalog (free copies from your Local Area Reps). This is in actuality 1-1/2″ to 2″ thick book of excellent electrical information and reference.

    My admiration to Mr. Ver Pangonilo and his contributors, for making this website happen.

    ELRUIVIVAR
    BSEE Mapua ’72

  • Jessoni Mora

    Hi sir Ver. I am also a filipino electrical engineer a fresh graduate and just recently passed the board year 2009 . Searching for new technology and ideas and studying them is my leisure time. My job here in Pinas, my first is also as a technician but i don’t feel degraded, As long as I am learning new skills I am happy and enjoys my professional growth because its the essence of being an engineer to know everything even the smallest bit of work. The calculations and solutions done with regards to our profession will just come easy because this is somehat our 5 years of experience and mastery in our college life. Just refresh yourself to this ideas and acquired knowledge from time to time So that it will always stay in our mind we just need to sharpen it with the knowledge that we will gain in our future works as an engineer or technician to all Filipino engineers be proud! that you know the works of your technicians! and sharing knowledge is just the best thing to do. Your my idol sir!

  • LA

    Hi Ver, in my view working as a technician with a degree in engineering doesn’t degrade filipino eng’r at all,that’s there best shot in this competitive world of being employed,beside they have a decent and money earning job. engineer and technicain are interchangeble sometimes,like engineering associate in australia,there job is somewhere between engineer and technician. also,being able to do website,programming and composed magazine like composition. men, your a genius. i am eng’r myself but nowhere your level.you must be the top of your class.i envy you.heheheh….peace pare

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