Re: No future for S&E, IT jobs in the USA...
- From: Straydog <asd@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 10:54:19 -0400
On Sat, 29 Apr 2006, Threeducks wrote:
On Sat, 29 Apr 2006, Razor Face wrote:
"Straydog" <asd@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
Saturday/Sunday, April 29-30 issue of WSJ, LTE column has a total of four
LETs all giving the opinion that there is no future for S&E jobs in the
USA. Y'all can look it up and read them yourselves. A bunch of us on s.r.c
already know this, but the media keeps spinnig out the propaganda that
there is a vast shortage of S&Es. Might be a vast shortage of S%E _jobs_
but not S&Es. One guy graduated with a Phd in chemistry, says he sent out
"several thousand" resumes and is still waiting for his first interview.
I don't understand how they can get away with a lie for so long. Why does
the media perpetuate this, instead of challanging the push for more H1Bs?
I'll give my speculations:
First, lobbying entities (eg. ITAA, which pushes for more H1bs, works for all the companies that want to hire the H1bs, L-1s, etc.) send out media kits to all the editors of the papers in the hopes that they publish "the 'party line'" on this, and many do.
Second, most of the line staff reporters don't have the time & resources to do any kind of decent "research job" and since it is hard to _find_ data on "the big lie", it tends to get "forgotten" in favor of the easy job of following the media kits sent out by the lobbying entities (who themselves kiss the ass of money).
Third, NSF (and the universities) also have a rationalization for perpetuating "the big lie": if Congress gets whiff of the idea that lots
of S&Es graduating are having trouble finding jobs, then Congress is gonna
cut NSF and granting agency (eg. also NIH, DoE, DoD, DoC) budgets for R&D
and that will be a threat to campus research revenue and expansion.
NSF's budget had the largest cut in the history of the organization last year. Over the last 5 years, NSF's budget has been in the toilet. Lots of young faculty are paying the price, including not getting tenure. DOE's budget was also pretty crappy until very recently. NIH had big budget increases, but now their budget is looking flat for the next few years.
And, its worse if you think that direct costs have to have about 4-5% inflation built in, and if overhead is 50%, then you need 6-8% in the total grant budget, and it overhead is 100%, then you need 8-10% increase in the budget, and the granting agencies often _cut_ YOUR request down by 5+% and tell you take it or leave it.
There is a big distinction between the "need for more scientists" (which is defined as: people coming out of schools with degrees) and the "need for more scientists" (which is defined as funded _jobs_ in which scientific work is done, as the first and only priority, and salaries are paid under some circumstance where there will be a funding committment
for continuing that scientific work).
The guys I talk to in industry say there is an impending shortage of chemistry and chemical engineering PhD holders in the next decane. Most of their employees are around 50, with a small blip at 30.
Read that one from the guy with the PhD in Chem who said he sent out thousands of applications.
A peripheral issue is how funded science is done. There are two ways. One, salary money is provided by the organization (i.e. the BMOs [=bosses, managers, owners]) and the progress evaluated by the BMOs (and if they are not happy for any reason, they fire the scientists, as in fire scientists in the USA and hire, eg., Indian and Chinese, and Russian, or anywhere cheaper [so if you are in the US, you can't win]). But our local BMOs, corporatized as they are, are becoming nothing but import agencies (have everything else done in China, India, etc.) and just import the product or services and pay outrageous compensation packages to the CEOs and executives and pay snot to the Indians-Chinese.
The other "model" for science is the Univeristy-Institute model where the "scientist" is really a faculty member who MAY have some teaching
At most universities, engineering faculty are teaching 3-4 courses per year. It's only at the "elite" universities that faculty get the luxury of teaching one class a year.
Research profs don't teach at all. Even back in mid '60s I worked while an undergraduate physics major at an "institute" at U of I, Urbana, and everyone in the building was a PhD grantee as research professors (all with Navy, Airforce, DoD contracts for research, all soft money, none of them did any teaching).
duty, but often WILL have responsibility to do his own fund-raising (i.e. get grants and contracts) as first priority and the actual science is done by graduate students and "post docs"
To be honest, in addition to finding money to pay students, I am the one who has to figure out what to do and how to do it. I'm very hands-on, although my advisor was a hands-off, sink or swim type.
(at--guess what--much lowerpay, no job security, no independence, and groveling and eeking out as much as possible a track record in the hopes of getting their own lab someday where they can play the role of "big kahuna" with a staff
Many engineering PhDs go to industry and do not fall into this pyramid scheme.
GM just announced a couple weeks ago that they were moving their R&D to Brazil. I heard elsewhere that at least a major fraction of their technical staff were shot down the chute into the dumpster.
I've also read where many clinical trials, more R&D, of all kinds, is going to China, India, etc. Intel has 1000 Russians on the payroll in Russia, and about 12-15 facilities all through Asia. Dupont just built a big R&D lab in China. OUr local paper had a photograph of it on the front page.
of--guess what--low paid underlings of their own) and so the new model has less to do with actually even doing science as it has to do with _fundraising_ (which I like to call _moneyharvesting_ which is what 21st century life in the west is all about these days).
Despite having to raise money through grant proposals, we manage to get plenty of science done. Frequently, we even have a good time doing it.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Now, there might be a little better deal in the govt, and govt-sponsored military labs (APL, LLNL, LANL, NSA, etc) where about 3/4 of the technical staff may have permanent jobs with high pay, high job security, etc. (I know some of these guys) but you also have to kiss up to "the system" too.
These guys have to apply for internal money, which is not always easy to come by. The productivity of the guys I know at national labs is very high.
Next time you talk with them, ask them how many of them are on grants & contracts vs. traditional civil service. I gave a seminar at the Naval Research Lab in Wash DC (a large facility) and they told me (15 years ago) that most of them are on DoC grants; all soft money).
- Re: No future for S&E, IT jobs in the USA...
- From: Threeducks
- Re: No future for S&E, IT jobs in the USA...
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