I don't know what exactly the point of this story is, however many people think they are not getting respect or their worth of whatever, not just engineers, and many people are of-course wrong.
An employee is part of a company, a company is a machine that makes the investor/owner money, and the way it makes investor/owner money is by implementing idea/solving a problem that the investor/owner is solving. The company makes work of the investor/owner more productive by allowing the investor/owner to execute the solution to the problem in a faster/more reliable/cheaper manner and thus providing the market with the best value for money solution to the problem that is being solved.
The employees are part of the system that is set up by the investor/owner to be productive. To talk about respect in this sense is meaningless, does the watchmaker have special respect for a spring loader or for a chisel or for a hammer or for a cutting tool? Is the cutting tool more important than a welding tool? Is a welding tool deserving of more respect than a screwdriver?
Employees are screwdrivers, cutting tools, welding tools, spring loaders, etc.etc., they are part of the machine that the owner/investor has created to make himself more productive in the market, to offer his solution to the market.
Your worth to the employer can be fairly easily measured by comparing you to any other employee. A developer's worth can be measured comparing him to another developer. An employer that cannot measure relative value of his employees is probably running a suboptimal machine (company), but at the end it doesn't really matter that much, whether the solution is fully optimal or is somewhat less than optimal, the employee will only see the market discovered salary (part of the salary discovery includes the government rules and regulations, nonsensical stuff like mandatory vacation pay or wage controls or insurance controls or whatever).
I do not have a more special respect for a keyboard than a monitor for example, for a harddrive or a DVD drive, etc.etc. I know they are there to perform specific functions. I have employees, they are respected in a very specific way: they are paid what they are due and the treatment is normal, they are people and that is all there is to it.