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ments in private use of atomic energy; rapid expansion of automation; revolutionary advances in air, land, and sea transportation; and giant strides in chemistry—all these, and others, only serve to underline the need for advanced technical skills and for more qualified safety engineers to protect the general public as well as the employees involved.
Perhaps it is also germane to call this committee's attention to the fact that a downgrading of the safety engineering profession in the Nation through failure to include it in a Federal professional classification system, would be seriously detrimental to the entire safety movement and to the urgently needed national effort to reduce our growing national accident toll.
On the basis of the facts herein presented, ASSE believes that every consideration of public policy, as well as the stated purposes of S. 1326, require the inclusion of GS-803—Safety Engineering Series, within the coverage of S. 1326 :
I. S. 1326 would enact a “Scientific and Professional Classification Act.” It has been shown that since 1923, safety engineers have been classified as professional engineers, within the Federal classification structure, on an absolutely equal level with all the other engineers included in S. 1326. II. S. 1326 states its purpose to be to
(1) Strengthen national defense and further the interests of other essential Government programs;
(2) Protect, maintain, and advance American scientific and technological preeminence; and
(3) Improve efficiency, productivity, and performance of Federal professional scientific and technological functions. All 3 of these purposes apply to safety engineers in precisely the same manner as to all other engineers included in S. 1326.
III. S. 1326 states several results anticipated from establishing a scientific and professional classification and compensation system, as follows:
(1) To enable the Federal Government to attract and retain · high-caliber professional and scientific personnel; and
(2) To offer maximum incentives for such persons through compensation, prestige of service and career opportunities. These anticipated results apply with full force to safety engineers. Any downgrading of their classification and compensation status in the Federal Government will result in a serious inability of the Government to retain its present staffs of safety engineers. In addition to encouraging them to leave for private industry, such an action would invite safety engineers (hitherto classified on a professional level) to change their classification to other engineering series given professional and preferred status by S. 1326, and thus to move into other engineering work. Safety engineering would suffer irreparable loss, and the Government would be unable to carry out vital programs requiring the services of safety engineers. By the same token, the Federal Government will find it difficult, if not impossible, to recruit qualified replacements. Industry's demand for safety engineers is too great for the Government to be able to attract high-caliber safety engineers to work under substandard conditions and in the absence of the presige, status, compensation, and professional recognition which they can obtain from private employers. In the best interests of the internal operation of the Federal Government, as well as in the general public welfare, therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the Congress continue and maintain the professional status of safety engineers classified within the GS803 series, a professional status which has been recognized by the Civil Service Commission for over 30 years.
For the reasons herein stated, the American Society of Safety Engineers requests and urges the Congress to assure the inclusion of safety engineers classified in the GS-803 series in any list of series covered by a Scientific and Professional Classification Act. Specifically, the American Society of Safety Engineers requests and urges this committee to amend S. 1326 so as to include on page 19, in its proper numerical order, the following: “GS-803–0_Safety Engineering Series."
ASSE wishes to thank this subcommittee for the opportunity to testify, and for the committee's consideration of its request.
You asked an earlier witness, Mr. Chairman, whether there was any technical or historical reason for the noninclusion of that particular group in S. 1326. Every technical and historical reason is for the inclusion of the safety engineers in S. 1326.
Since the 1923 Classification Act, the Civil Service Commission has regularly and always regarded these people as professional engineers. Prior to the 1949 Classification Act when there was a separate professional series, they were in that series.
The National Roster of Scientific Personnel included them in that series and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles of the Department of Labor lists them as professional engineers. Therefore, we request your consideration for the inclusion of safety engineers within S. 1326 or any other bill which establishes a special professional and technical classification.
Thank you very much.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Rosenfield. Naturally, the same question would apply as I voiced when Miss Bennett came on for the librarians, so I am glad you brought that up.
Mr. ROSENFIELD. Thank you very much.
Senator NEUBERGER. The next witness listed is Mr. Paul H. Robbins, executive director, National Society of Professional Engineers. STATEMENT OF PAUL H. ROBBINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NA
TIONAL SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS, ON S. 1326 Mr. ROBBINS. My name is Paul H. Robbins. I am executive director of the National Society of Professional Engineers. The society is a nonprofit, membership organization composed of professional engineers all of whom are registered under applicable State engineering registration laws. The society's 42,000 members are affiliated through 43 State societies and approximately 350 local chapters.
It is a well-known fact today that the agencies of the Federal Government have had the greatest difficulty in recent years in securing the services of engineers and scientists and, in fact, in some cases have lost experienced technical personnel to more attractive offers from industry and other private organizations. It is our opinion that our Federal Government is entitled to and should be in a position to secure the very best engineering and scientific talent which is available in order that our country's interests may be furthered in the fields of national defense, economy and efficiency during these pressing times and in the future. The National Society of Professional Engineers, therefore, strongly endorses and supports the establishment of a system for the separate classification and compensation of scientific and professional positions in the Federal Government, proposed by S. 1326, as the proper approach to a solution of the urgent problem of securing and retaining competent professional engineers in Federal service.
In order to assure an adequate, efficient solution to this problein by the Federal Government, several factors are involved :
The National Society of Professional Engineers believes that professional engineers in Federal service are deserving of professional recognition and prestige. By reason of their advanced training and adherence to a commonly accepted ethical standard imposed by the profession itself as a matter of self-discipline in the public interest, professionals have come to place a high emphasis on their identification apart from strictly occupational classifications. This separate identification is an important ingredient in maintaining and enhancing the morale and service of the professionals. For this reason, the recommendation contained in S. 1326 to place professional employees in a separate scientific and professional schedule, and to designate such persons in the SPS category, represents, in the opinion of the national society, a recognition that such a professional classification is essential.
It was recently noted by the Cordiner Committee report that professional prestige is of greatest importance to the engineer, and that some of the factors contributing to professional prestige were:
1. Assignment to important and challenging work, and reasonable freedom in its pursuit.
2. By-line authorship credit on official reports written.
3. Opportunity to attend meetings of and become active in scientific and engineering societies with expenses at least partly paid by the Federal Government.
4. Opportunity and financial aid in the pursuit of advanced academic degrees.
The above are but an example of the factors recognized by the Cordiner Committee. In the opinion of the national society they are logical and well deserving of consideration. We fully endorse them as essential to the achievement of proper professional prestige for engineers in Federal service.
However, we feel that the most immediate, effective proposition which would attain that degree of professional recognition and prestige so essential to the professional employee, is their assignment to separate schedules and classifications systems as proposed in S. 1326. The elimination of the “P” (professional) category by the Classification Act of 1949 has led to a decline in morale among professionals, a feeling that the acquisition of specialized knowledge in a profession is no longer regarded as a material factor in personnel decisions.
We sincerely urge that the subcommittee give favorable consideration to the establishment of a separate classification system for pro
engineerser, we fee in that peot
fessional personnel in the earnest belief that such action will be a major step toward helping the Government achieve its objective of attracting and holding fully qualified and competent engineers and scientists.
We would like to take the opportunity of placing before the subcommittee a listing of certain classification series within the engineering group (GS 800–0), plus one other, which are not specifically mentioned as being covered by S. 1326, and which the national society feels should be included in the scientific and professional schedule. These positions are based on the Civil Service Commission's "Handbook of Occupational Groups and Series of Classes," and represent those classes of engineering positions, the duties of which are to engage in work of a professional nature, and which require professional qualifications. These positions are as follows: GS 803–0 Safety Engineer Series
804–0 Fire Prevention Engineer Series
These positions, we feel, can justifiably be included in those series on page 19 of the bill, which would be placed in the scientific and professional schedule.
Voluminous material has been spoken and written concerning the disparity between salaries of federally employed engineers and those in private industry. This discrepancy has been a major factor in the Government's inability to recruit and retain adequate numbers of competent engineers and scientists. All of this great quantity of information and data contains convincing evidence that an adjustment of the salaries of engineers and scientists in the Federal service is in order and is required if the Government is not to fall further behind in its effort to obtain and retain competent engineering staffs.
Figures just obtained as a result of the salary survey conducted by the National Society of Professional Engineers for 1956 indicate that engineers in the Federal service were paid at a rate 21 percent lower than private industry. The overall median income of engineers in the Federal Government as shown by our survey was $8,190 compared to $9,870 for private industry. It is also noted that based on the same data the salaries of engineers in the Federal service were lower than those applicable to engineers in public utilities, education, private practice and contractor organizations. The statistical analysis of the data collected in our 1956 survey is not yet quite complete. However, we do expect to have the completed report available next month, at which time copies will be furnished to the subcommittee for additional information.
A token attempt to alleviate this crucial salary situation was taken last year by the Civil Service Commission when it raised the minimum rate of pay for certain engineering, scientific or technical positions at grades GS-5, 7, 9, and 11 under the Classification Act as
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amended by section 104 of Public Law 763. These increases, while admittedly a stride in the right direction, cannot correct a long-range situation. They merely provide immediate short-term increases still within the basic general schedule, and further compress the salary range between the young engineers and those employees holding the more responsible positions who have a wealth of background and experience. Such a situation can and has led to higher resignation rates for engineering and scientific employees in positions of GS-12 or above.
In addition, varied and sundry proposals have been suggested in an effort to provide Federal pay adjustments. Some of these are as follows:
1. Give the Civil Service Commission authority to fix the starting salaries at any step within the grade, and superimpose step increases beyond the present limit.
2. Start engineering and scientific graduates at GS-7 instead of the present GS-5.
3. Increase the number of supergrades (16, 17, or 18) that pay from $12,900 to $16,000.
4. Give the Civil Service Commission broader authority to adjust upward the salaries of scientists, engineers and other short-supply, hard-to-hire personnel.
5. Amend the Classification Act to give the Commission the authority to set salaries for the scientists and engineers to meet competitive conditions.
At present, the Civil Service Commission has exhausted its legal authority. The situation continues, and in the opinion of the National Society of Professional Engineers the above-mentioned solutions will not get to the heart of the problem. In our opinion, attempts to eliminate the discrepancy between Federal salaries and those in private industry will not afford a complete, long-lasting solution to the need for engineers and scientists in Federal service. In addition to immediate or long-range salary increases, the Federal Government must afford the scientists and engineers professional recognition. Separate classifications systems and schedules must be established for professional employees so that separate identification and treatment in matters other than salary can create an atmosphere in Federal service which will compare favorably in all respects to private industry and other fields of endeavor.
The Cordiner Committee has recognized that Federal pay raises are imperative at this time, and has recommended that Federal employees at grades GS-7 and above be granted increases averaging approximately 12 percent. This Committee report has further stated that one of the basic principles of a modern compensation system is the maintenance of internal alinement; that is, the interrelationship of many occupations in a wage structure and of the many levels in each occupation. In support of this principle the Committee report has declared:
Recent proposals to establish separate salary schedules only for certain occupations apparently ignore the essential internal pay relationships between groups. Insofar as competitive private business rates are concerned, there is little difference between pay scales for scientists and other professionals. The Committee believes that a separate schedule of pay for professionals or others would violate sound principles of salary administration.
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