Engineer Shortage

The supposed scientist/engineer shortage in the US is nonsense. John Tierney tells the truth

If the United States really has a critical shortage of scientists and engineers, why didn’t this year’s graduates get showered with lucrative job offers and signing bonuses?...

But employers don’t have to throw around that kind of money because there’s no shortage of workers — and they won’t be increasing their offers if the federal government artificially inflates the labor supply with an extra 100,000 graduates. As Daniel S. Greenberg wrote in the Scientist magazine in 2003: “Despite the alarms, no current or impending shortage exists, and never did. Instead, we’re glutted with scientists and engineers in many fields, as numerous job seekers with respectable credentials can attest.”

Read it all. Many of the comments are good too. I agree the alleged science/engineer labor shortage is a construct of the industries that employ scientists and engineers. That includes research universities. When they say they can't get good help, they mean they can't get good help at the price they want to pay.

Despite what you hear, American students aren't stupid. Indeed, they are smart enough to know that S/E types don't make a lot of money for the amount of education required. Those who do make good money often do so by getting an MBA and going into management.

Obama's plan to train another 100,000 engineers isn't going to work unless the wages for that kind of work go up. American students have better opportunities. It seemed at one point that everyone I went to grad school with was bailing out and getting a Wall Street job. Maybe that is changed now, and those folks will be looking for jobs. If there is a S/E shortage, they shouldn't have any trouble finding a new job, right?

Ann says: When I was first looking at engineering jobs, I learned that most are consulting jobs. That means they can fire you any time they want, also the vacation time was pretty much non-existent--new hires literally got no vacation time the first year, then they got a couple of days the second. No job security, lousy benefits, and less pay than similarly-educated peers. Yep, sign me up!