Sunday, January 9, 2011

Do we need 5 times as many MBAs as Engineers?

Looking at the statistics for how many graduate degrees are granted in different fields can be interesting.

Education Masters: 175,880
MBAs: 155,637
JDs: 43,769
Engineering Masters Degrees: 34,592
MDs: 15,646
Education PhDs: 8,491
Engineering PhDs: 8,167
Biomedical PhDs: 6,918
Psychology PhDs: 5,296
Physical Science PhDs: 4,804
Social Science PhDs: 4,059
Dentists: 4,032
Pharmacy: 3,660
English and Literature PhDs: 1,262

A few things jump out at me. No wonder teachers make so little money! Despite the low pay people are jumping through hoops like crazy to get into the profession. This doesn't look like an issue of fields that women prefer making less money, it looks like a simple case of supply and demand.

Why do we need so many lawyers and MBAs? Three times as many Lawyers as doctors? As many lawyers and Engineering masters and PhD degrees combined? No wonder the there has been so much concern about opportunities for lawyers not being what they were.

No wonder medical doctors make a fortune! They are probably the most useful of the professions on the list, after all they save lives, yet we really don't produce that many doctors. Pharmacists and Dentists have similar been successful at limiting the number of degrees granted. This means there is a great supply and demand situation for those medical professionals.

Engineers are pretty common. In comparison to medical professions we have done a poor job of limiting our numbers. I don't expect that the situation is as bad as it is for lawyers or MBAs though so I would guess opportunities will stay about the same as they are now. The big threat to engineers is outsourcing. Many of our jobs are easy to ship to China. In comparison doctors cannot be outsourced except for those in a few unusual fields.

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