Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Charles Keating

Committee Member

Paul Kauffmann

Committee Member

Andres Sousa-Poza


The purpose of this research was to study Generation X consulting engineers (those born between the years 1964 and 1980) in Lynchburg, Virginia, to determine the major factors that influence their employment decisions. Engineering consulting firms throughout the United States, particularly those in Lynchburg, have struggled to recruit young engineers in recent years. The recruiting of young engineers has been regarded by managers and executives as the single greatest challenge to the consulting profession. Despite the consensus within the profession that the problem existed, recommended solutions have been mostly speculative in nature and unsubstantiated by supportive data. This study focused on the perspective from Generation X engineers on recruiting and employment, and examined the key factors that led them to become consulting engineers in Lynchburg.

This study's contributions include development of a specific mixed method research approach to study recruiting of Generation X engineers, creation of knowledge that can be used as a foundation for future research, and the identification of factors that influence employment decisions of Generation X engineers that has practical use for improving recruiting techniques used by the consulting engineering profession.