Global Engineering Capability Review
The labour force category measures the availability and diversity of engineers in an economy using six indicators, including mean mathematics and science scores among 15-year-olds, and the percentage of graduates who come from engineering disciplines.
Iran: Relative job security in the face of high unemployment
Iran tops the index for the highest percentage of graduates (of both sexes) from tertiary education in the fields of engineering, manufacturing and construction, at 30%.
The field has long been highly regarded in the country, reflecting a rich history of contributions to mathematics and the sciences. Prior to the 1979 revolution, the state supported the training of engineers abroad. Following the revolution, the focus shifted to improving domestic engineering education; this produced strong results at the undergraduate level, but it had limited success at the research level because of funding constraints and the academic isolation caused by international sanctions . However, many Iranians who received higher engineering degrees outside Iran before or at the beginning of the 1979 revolution ultimately returned to the country, ensuring strong faculties at the major technical universities.
The popularity of engineering as a subject reveals some hard truths about the Iranian economy, which is unable to absorb the number of students graduating from higher education, particularly in non-STEM fields . Unemployment is a particular concern for female graduates, and this has led to greater interest in fields seen as more employable, such as engineering . Experts have suggested that the education system needs to better prepare students to address the country’s growing industrial development or technical needs, citing the dearth of environmental engineering courses relative to other countries as an example .
The popularity of engineering education in Iran reveals some hard truths about the Iranian economy, which is unable to absorb the number of students graduating from higher education in the country