In this previous post, we identified that the education profiles for industrial engineering and mechanical engineering technologist occupations in O*NET data deviate from the pattern we would expect to see.  In Industrial Engineering, the proportion of technologists with bachelor’s degrees and higher are almost equal to engineers, while in mechanical engineering technologists score less highly than technicians in the same measure.

In the following figures, we use the Revealed Comparative Average (RCA) technique, as described in this previous post, to examine which O*NET elements (knowledge, skills etc.) are more important in industrial and mechanical engineering occupations relative to the Manufacturing and Engineering sector as a whole.  In this way we hope to gain some insights into why the education profiles are skewed in this way.

In the first figure we see knowledge elements that have RCA scores of > 1.4 (in RCA terminology, we refer to RCA scores greater than one as being effective or revealed)…

Note: in this and the following figures, Industrial Engineering Technologists are more aligned to Industrial Engineers in O*NET Job Zone terms (job zone 4, generally requiring a bachelor’s degree plus several years of on-the-job training/experience), while Mechanical Engineering Technologists are more aligned to Mechanical Engineering Technicians (job zone 3, often requiring vocational training or associate’s degree plus 1-2 years of on-the-job training/experience ).  This matches our previous observations regarding education profiles.

Notably, Industrial Engineering Technologists have high RCA scores in economics and accounting, food production (possibly indicating many Industrial Engineering Technologists are employed in the food industry, an industry with traditionally low entry standards) and geography.  Mechanical Engineering Technologists, on the other hand, score higher in knowledge of design (possibly indicating that a relatively high proportion of mechanical draftsperson jobs are classed as technologists).

In the next figure we see O*NET skills and observe that Industrial Engineering Technologists score higher in financial and resource management, operations analysis, programming and technology design…

…and in the third figure we see O*NET work activities and observe that Industrial Engineering Technologists score higher in team development, supervision, conflict resolution and negotiation activities…

Overall, we observe occupational requirements and job content profiles for Industrial Engineering Technologists that indicate higher entry qualification levels may be required than for Mechanical Engineering Technologists.  This may explain the skewing in the education profiles we observed earlier.

Finally, we look at O*NET work styles.  In a later post, we will explore further the indication that Industrial Engineering Technologists, along with Mechanical Engineers, score relatively higher in Innovation…

By going into these specific details for a range of occupations of the technician, technologist and engineer we start to provide a viable definition of the occupations and how they overlap and inter-link with each other.  We are also starting to provide a way for the UKs Office of National Statistics (ONS) to define occupations with greater precision.