Skip to main content

(My first dairy, so comments are appreciated!)

Via Slashdot, it's time for the periodic debate over whether the US economy has too few workers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). I actually dislike the STEM construct, as I think it tries to envelope many very different types of jobs and careers that have very different trajectories, prospects, and employment demand. But it is the construct used by companies that complain of a supposed lack of prospective employees to push increased STEM education and more annual H-1B "skilled" visa issuances.

The argument that there is indeed a STEM worker shortage seems to always rely on the observation that the unemployment rate for STEM graduates is and remains low, and indeed it is. However, I think that this statistic can belie what is really going on. Mainly, I think that looking at employment rates does not account for STEM field graduates working in jobs that do not require their education, such as service/retail jobs.

However, supply and demand applies to the labor market just like any other market, and if such a critical shortage of STEM workers did indeed exist one would expect to see employers increase their pay offers to both recruit and keep STEM workers. Over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages by general occupational categories are tracked. I did a quick and dirty plot of median inflation-adjusted wages for general STEM categories tracked by the BLS, which shows the following:

Now, these categories aren't a perfect representation of STEM fields (the BLS groups architects with engineers, for instance), but over time one would expect increased labor demands for STEM workers to become apparent by a spike in median wages over the last 10 or so years. But it's just not there. Adjusted for inflation, there is only a small increase in the compensation rate for STEM fields since at least the year 2000.

I suspect two things: First, I think that employers in STEM fields enjoy keeping the STEM labor market flush with new, fresh entrants in order to keep salaries in check (you know what they do to engineers when they turn 40, right?). Second, I think that pressure to keep H-1B visa issuances up helps STEM employers as well, since foreign workers tend to be less mobile (in the sense that it is difficult for them to jump ship to another employer) and are therefore more tolerant of overwork and undercompensation, lest they have to leave the country.

In other words, the people saying there is a shortage of STEM workers have plausible ulterior motives to claim that there is, even if there isn't. That, at least, should give everyone cause for healthy skepticism.

Originally posted to mrbond on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  More CT (15+ / 1-)
    I suspect two things: First, I think that employers in STEM fields enjoy keeping the STEM labor market flush with new, fresh entrants in order to keep salaries in check (you know what they do to engineers when they turn 40, right?). Second, I think that pressure to keep H-1B visa issuances up helps STEM employers as well, since foreign workers tend to be less mobile (in the sense that it is difficult for them to jump ship to another employer) and are therefore more tolerant of overwork and undercompensation, lest they have to leave the country.
    Posting a chart above that paragraph doesn't change the fact that it is wildly speculative, conspiracy-laden guesswork.

    I can speak as a hiring IT director at a HUGE company with no need, desire or interest to engage in some long-game con against the possibility of rising salaries and as someone who could not give one-half of one rat's ass about the age of the people I need to fill MANY OPEN POSITIONS in STEM work, that there are not enough people on the market.

    Maybe its  ageographical thing and there is some mythical surfeit of qualified IT professionals all clumped up on the West Coast leaving me in an absolute talent drought over here in the DC/NoVA area thus all my $100K, $120K, $140K jobs just sit empty week after week.  ....but I doubt it.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:14:42 AM PST

    •  Well (15+ / 0-)

      IT talent is not an identity with STEM, though it is frequently the proxy.  Managing and contributing to software engineering projects is very much its own thing.  

      I'd venture to guess that week after week is not so bad -- it takes a few weeks to a couple of months for the right fit to come through the door.  More than that though, and I'd start to question (assuming you are advertising well) whether your criteria -- visible or implicit in the process -- are realistic or do a good job of reflecting the talent and expertise necessary to execute.  I'd also question whether there was some other barrier to entry.

      80-100k can hire competent and enthusiastic people who work hard and do well, at least here in Seattle.  Some pay much more of course, but really -- at some point you're offering a ridiculous amount of money for nonexistent perfection.  

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:31:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The market is always tight here (8+ / 0-)

        We don't get the unemployment swings as bad as the rest of the country.

        The cost of living is often too high for a lot of entry level work and really senior folks find a way to get their security clearance and get into Gov Contract work paying more then I can match in the private sector.

        We find people.. its all standard engineering jobs, not perfect snowflake job descriptions.. it just takes FOREVER.

        I have long said this and posted it repeatedly in these discussions... if you are an IT Professional looking for work somewhere out in grow country (our you have a child, friend or relative coming out school with a tech degree) ... SERIOUSLY think about coming to DC/NoVA.  

        With decent skills and resume, you will have employers FIGHTING over you.  

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:38:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You'll also find it impossible to live in a house (15+ / 0-)

          ...of the sort you're accustomed to in many parts of the country, unless you want to spend $800k or spend a good chunk of your day commuting.  I love the DC area and I think the apartment/condo lifestyle is fantastic, but I imagine a lot of people from elsewhere find it off-putting and when it's a skill-set that has options elsewhere, that makes for a tough hiring market.

          It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

          by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:04:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Very very true (7+ / 0-)

            but its just frustrating to see people bemoan weeks or months of unemployment in places like Missouri or upstate NY or Florida or whatever...

            Especially if they are young and not further entangled with non-work concerns like schools for their children, ability to sell their current home in a depressed market, etc.

            I just want to shout at them "PACK UP YOUR SHIT AND MOVE!"  Jobs are not going to come to you in Podunkville... if you have skills, rent a u-haul and go work.

            Yeah, housing here is what it is.  But the salaries are also WAAAAY higher then anything people are going to make in most other places.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:16:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you hire workers over 50? (20+ / 0-)

              Over 60?

              What are the benefits like?

              Honestly, you keep saying you have all these unfilled jobs, but there are dozens of people right here on DKos who are engineers over 50 who say they can't find work. I'll bet some of them would even move from the West Coast for the right combo of salary and benefits.

              We know. We've experienced the downturn, the lack of permanent jobs, the way our experience is held against us instead of celebrated as it would have been when we started in the working world. We know that our former jobs are now staffed with H1-B visa holders -- some of us had to train our replacements before we collected our severance pay.

              How old are YOU? (You don't have to answer here -- just think about it.) If you are older than 50 and not hiring workers in the older age range, you are part of the problem. Hell, if you're UNDER 50 and not hiring older workers you are part of the problem. There are  plenty of older workers out there who would LOVE to have one of those jobs.

              And no, I'm not an engineer. I'm a former editor who has worked in just about every field of publications, including technical writing and editing. Job prospects currently suck.

              "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

              by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:55:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Brooke (5+ / 0-)

                I have posted so many things in worker threads and even to the "DKos Work Group" someone had going for a while for just this purpose.

                I usually do it on the back end through Kos Mail to let other people post up details to not link my UID with my very public employer.

                But I am not this area's largest employer.. not by a LONG LONG WAY.  If people are interested they should search in Indeed, etc.

                And yes... we hire people of all ages, all nationalities, all anything.  

                To your field specifically, we did have technical writers in this office but most of that work as been consolidated in one of our other offices in another state.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:41:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, and I know it's absolutely TRUE (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  For example, LifeScan, Inc. (diabetes division of JOHNSON & JOHNSON) has gone crazy firing all of its engineers -- especially those with seniority -- and are replacing them with H1 Visa people from India.

                  I'm 100% FOR people in India raising their standard of living, BUT we cannot vote in India -- only here! So, voting citizens in our democracy are disenfranchised to subsidize mega-corporations.

                  Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

                  by Einsteinia on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:23:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I hear ya (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bronx59, jessical

              It's not just cost of living, but overall quality of life that keeps people from moving to DC (or other east and west coast cities).  There's no shortage of people for the job out in areas where a person can make a better life and raise a family.  Most of them are saying,  "Why don't those damn employers PACK UP THEIR SHIT AND MOVE OUT OF THOSE URBAN HELLHOLES."

              •  The opposite (8+ / 0-)

                We are here because THIS IS where the talent is.

                I agree its not for everyone, but Im sure you've seen the articles about people moving back into the cities.

                Companies are following suit.  Downtown DC is going through a BOOMING urban renewal with all kinds of professionals flooding in to all kinds of neighborhoods (now causing a separate debate on gentrification).

                If people want to stay out in Iowa and Ohio and Alabama for Quality of Life reasons, so be it... but for people willing to move for work, we are desperately hungry for talent.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:48:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Seems like a contradiction, there: (7+ / 0-)
                  We are here because THIS IS where the talent is.
                  but for people willing to move for work, we are desperately hungry for talent.
                  Which is it?
                  •  Both (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mattc129, Yoshimi, Sparhawk, jessical, JerryNA

                    We are here because this is a concentration of talent.

                    For the diaspora of job seekers stretched across the fruited plain, we are desperate for more of them to COME TO US.

                    No company is opening innovative job centers in every small town.  People who graduate with these shiny new (not to mention expensive as hell) tech degrees should be immediately thinking about which job center they want to move to, be it California, Seattle, DC/NoVA, or whatever... even if they are trying to get in on the ground floor of an area that might be up and coming like Baltimore or Raleigh-Durham

                    I just don't get kids that come from some small town in Tennessee, spending four years getting a very valuable and expensive degree and then going back to Tennessee and struggling to find work.  That strikes me as a "bad business decision" in one's own life management.

                    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                    by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:24:50 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Suply and demand. Raise the salaries and they (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Caelian, JerryNA, kurt, profundo

                      will come.

                      It seems you want to pay for entry level:

                      "I just don't get kids that come from some small town in Tennessee, spending four years getting a very valuable and expensive degree"

                      By the way, what industry is your company in? Is it manufacturing a product or is it a service company?

                      •  I guess startup tech is different (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        because I consistently see college grads getting $90,000 or above plus equity for an entry level job. Even with student loans, that is a damn fine salary for someone who is in their early- to mid-20s with no children to support.

                        •  What starting salary is Whisper offering? (0+ / 0-)

                          How many positions does his company have open at this salary?  Some things I have to see to believe.

                          Is  Whispers company an outsourcing body shop like Accenture or Cognizant? I suspect so.

                          The fact remains that there is an oversupply of IT workers.

                          •  IT ops is different than startup Ruby or PHP engs (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Wisper, Sparhawk, JerryNA

                            Yes, the pure IT operations market has faced an onslaught for a while. But your typical entry level computer science major can command up to $120,000 plus stock at large companies in the Valley, and almost that much in NYC. If you're 23 with no children, even with student loan debt and high cost of living a $100,000 salary is fantastic and nothing to complain about.


                          •  Yep.. which is why so many of our developers (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mattc129, Sparhawk, JerryNA

                            are either young or originally from here.

                            Too many of the older workers are constrained by the "I dont want to rip my kids out of school" .."My mortgage is still under water so I cant sell right now"... etc.. so they stay in Ames, IA or whatever hoping to eek out enough work to pay their underwater mortgage and their kids tuition, meanwhile kids are rolling out of places like Michigan State, Boston U, Texas Tech, etc moving here, renting a place with some room mates and landing six-figure salaries.

                            Trust me, it aint age discrimination...I am NOT "saving money" hiring youth.  If I had more experienced professionals, I'd be happy to hire them.

                            (and not to exaggerate... we do have a decent mix here, but it is true that most of the 20-somethings are transplants and most of the 35+'ers gew up around here)

                            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                            by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:50:17 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  sounds to me (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JerryNA, kurt

                            like you're fine for attracting the young singles and the older folks who are settled, it's the young families (late 20s-40s) that are not going to be able to make it on that salary in that area.   Unless they are the "35+'ers" who grew up in the area and have family and friends nearby for support.   In our situation, and knowing other families that I worked with in the Boston and DC areas, it's very hard to move a young family into a high-rent area where you have no family/friends for support.  You either have enough money on two salaries and are stretched thin and stressed out trying to find time for the children, save for college and retirement etc., or you try to get by with one parent working like a maniac to stay ahead in the job and not risk losing the only family income, but never having any time to spend with the family.  Not to mention not being able to travel long distances to visit immediate family, attend weddings and funerals, etc.

                            This is the quality of tech life situation I was talking about.

                            A side note: I think Marissa Mayer at Yahoo was an idiot for taking up the HR policies that Microsoft dropped after their "lost decade".

                          •  I'm a BU alum! (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sparhawk, JerryNA

                            Very exciting to me that you mentioned Boston University. I have a BFA in graphic design of all things, but have taught myself front-end dev since I was 12 and am now getting into more advanced front-end like Javascript/jQuery and some middle layer like PHP controllers and the Twig templating system.

                            Aside from the fact that all the jobs are in cities or at the very least metro areas, young people actually enjoy living in cities. So of course we're going to move there. I grew up in Northern NJ and lived at home for 18 months commuting in on NJ Transit. What a grind. I'd rather have 1/4 the living space and all the options that city life affords.

                          •  I think our front-end dev (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            is in Santa Clara.

                            You working in your field at the moment?

                            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                            by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 01:20:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, gainfully employed in NYC (0+ / 0-)

                            Love where I work. I'm in it all the way, I believe in my company and hope that my fake net worth becomes real one day. :-)

                          •  $100K in NYC? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Good luck living on that.

                          •  Single, in your 20s, no kids. Easily. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I'm 27, no kids, don't make the salaries I've mentioned upthread, and I live a great life in Brooklyn. Granted, my student loan debt was way less than most of my peers, but even with student loan debt you'd be more than comfortable.

                          •  It's possible, but lifestyle may be no better (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            ...than making $28K wherever "back home" is.

                          •  How can you possibly say it's impossible to live (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            on $100k as a single mid-20s person without children? Sure, if you feel like blowing all your money on rent or other shit you don't need you'll be broke. Unlike SF, you can still find a great 1 bed in Brooklyn for $2000 or choose to pay less with roommates, which when making $100k is completely affordable.

                          •  Not saying it's impossible, but that the lifestyle (0+ / 0-)

                   pretty poor without a lot of cash, or strong family/social connections to make up for lack of it.  My sister's entry-level staff in Manhattan are stacked two to a room like a college dorm.

                            $2000 a month is nearly half one's take home on a $100K job in NYC.  While that Brooklyn resident doesn't need a car, groceries, restaurants, and weekends out of the city are expensive.  

                          •  Actually, you can (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            as long as you are willing to live in the Bronx, Queens of Staten Island in the non-prestigious neighborhoods. Many are very nice. When I moved to NYC in 2001 I lived very comfortably in the Bronx on a $90K salary and the housing costs in those areas have not increased that much.

                      •  What else would you like to GUESS (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        jessical, ladybug53, JerryNA

                        about my company?

                        I have salaries ranging from $70K to the low $180's.  From customer facing support on virtualization platforms to high-end security engineers to 12+ year experience minimum code writers...

                        We are a massive company that everyone here knows well in both products and services, though my personal division is more focused in software products... a little hardware and a bit of solution design/service hosting but really that's handled from another group in another state.

                        I don't have much entry-level here because it typically isn't productive for my company to try and recruit and pay for entry level in the NoVA area since we can do that in any one of our MANY offices around the country/world.  We'd rather focus on being a top-end expertise hub and recruit and pay accordingly.

                        I was making the TN comment as a general point about worker mobility.

                        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:34:21 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Bring your entry-level... (0+ / 0-)

                 where your experience is, start a mentorship program, and you'll be amazed how quickly mid-level talent shows up in the entry ranks.

                          The seperation of employees based on experience is one of the reasons why employers fight over people in my shoes in SF.  The entry level support is somewhere cheap (relative to SF), and there's no place for people ready to be promoted to go in those companies if they don't want to leave Austin or Denver.

                          It might not be outsourced in  a case like this, persay, but it's effect on moving entry-level talent up the corporate ladder is the same.

                          Everyday Magic

                          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                          -- Clarke's Third Law

                          by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:32:13 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  it can be both; i actually do get what (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    elfling, jessical

                    wisper is trying to say

                    (as for housing, eh, PG Co., if you have to live in the suburbs is loads cheaper than some of the other DMV metro counties)

                    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

                    by terrypinder on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:25:25 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  "Those urban hellholes" (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                charliehall2, jessical, JerryNA

                have the infrastructure to support high tech business.

                •  they aren't the only places (0+ / 0-)

                  with the infrastructure.  There are other more desirable metro areas than those overcrowded, high rent east and west coast cities that can provide the infrastructure for tech industry and a good place for tech workers (especially those with families) to live.


                  •  Did I say they were the only places? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    terrypinder, JerryNA

                    It's common knowledge that these areas also have the infrastucture if you are looking to move:
                    Loudoun County (DC suburb)
                    Alpharetta (Atlanta Suburb)

                    And here's a shocker: Kansas City

                    •  then I guess (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I don't know what you were responding to.  I didn't suggest that any tech business would want to move to a place where they didn't have the infrastructure to support their business.  As the article I linked to points out, there are many places that are more desirable/affordable than places like New York, DC, Boston that will attract STEM workers who are looking for more than just a decent salary.  

                      There are plenty of STEM graduates, and it looks like many businesses are finding where they are and coming to them.

              •  NYC is not a hellhole (0+ / 0-)

                people move here because they WANT to live here.

                And it is nice living in the most blue county in America! ;)

            •  You raise a really interesting issue (6+ / 0-)

              It transcends the sectoral issues we're largely talking about.  We expect in our economy that people will be geographically mobile, but how reasonable, and how consistent with progressive notions, is that expectation?  Clearly employers will always enjoy a structural advantage in terms of who moves where, but talk about the commodification of labor and the people who do it!

              It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

              by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:44:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  But there is a history to this in the US, no? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, mattc129, Yoshimi, Sparhawk

                Hasn't work always been a driving force of relocation, from early days of farming to manufacturing to suburban sprawl to Dot-com booms etc...

                There does seem to be some expectation now that jobs should be brought to all of our doorsteps and I certainly get the egalitarian ideal of it, but I don't think that is realistic.

                Remote work and telecommuting throws an interesting mitigating wrench into this but I think job concentration is going to persist for a long time.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:56:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Who has this expectation, and why do you think (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  that they do?

                  •  You dont think so? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk, mattc129

                    I'm talking historically.  Families moving because the bread-winner got (or needed to get) a new job?  

                    Historically things like moving to factory towns, or big cities for industrial work or small town for jobs in mines.

                    Recently, people going out to California to get into tech... people form small towns going to places like NYC to start their careers...

                    Kids going off to college out of state and then staying THERE for work in their field rather then coming back home to their families...

                    Not to mention the obvious things like military families, or single-site industries like moving to LA for show business or going to NY to try and get into the theater and those kind of aspirational moves.

                    I know me personally, my wife and I are looking to
                    relocate within the US and one of the biggest questions we had in deciding where to  go was "Where can we find the kind of work we want?"

                    I think this has been part of the American Experience for generations.... you disagree?

                    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                    by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:49:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Times change (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dicentra, raboof, Bronx59, kurt
                      Families moving because the bread-winner got (or needed to get) a new job?  
                      It used to be that a family had one breadwinner.  It also used to be that the breadwinner aimed to get a foot in the door with a good company and stay there for life.  Neither of those things is true anymore.  In addition, it used to be that a house was a good investment and could readily be sold, and another bought when the breadwinner wanted to move.

                      In the current employment climate, when one breadwinner wants to move to take a better job, the other loses their job.  The better job may not last -  there's a lot of downsizing, rightsizing, offshoring, outsourcing going on.  The family may not be able to sell their home for what they still owe on it, or may not be able to sell it at all.

                      Employers need to understand that they're not just asking someone to move, they may also be asking them to give up a spouse's job and take a bath on selling their house.  Some employers actually like this because it automatically scrubs a lot of the older workers from applying in the first place.  Employers who really would like to attract these workers should consider offering some sort of stability agreement with a large parachute attached.

                      •  whoa... (0+ / 0-)

                        Im not ASKING people to move as an employer.  If I did, I would be prepared to compensate them accordingly.

                        Im saying as someone who is working in this market, I don't understand why people in low-employment markets don't move.

                        I get the hardships, but compare them with the hardships of keeping your house and support structure in a place like Montana with NO JOBS.

                        If it were me, I would do what I had to do and move me (and my family) to a place I had the best chance to find work.

                        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 02:15:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You don't get it (3+ / 0-)

                          If you're in Montana and your spouse is the local veterinarian, for example, then you're not going to move to DC to take a job that might last all of 2 years, especially if you can't get squat for your house.  THIS is why people in low-employment markets don't move.  You are actually better off underemployed in Montana, with a professional level spouse than moving to DC for an IT job.

                          And your argument that there is a STEM shortage because you personally can't find some workers in the DC area really does say that you are asking people to move as an employer.  (Unless you think that a particular locality being short of employees in one profession constitutes a national shortage.)  How else could you possibly be making the argument that your hiring problems in DC mean there's a national shortage, if you're not also assuming people will pick up and move at the drop of a hat for any job anywhere?

                          Maybe part of your hiring problem has to do with the fact that even after being told by numerous people, you still don't understand why people don't just buy covered wagons and become part of some transient workforce for employers with no loyalty.

                          •  My hiring problems in DC (0+ / 0-)

                            are in-line with other reports for other tech hubs across the country.  I was simply speaking from my own day-to-day actual expereince rather then to link in reports about Seattle or Silicon Valley or what have you.

                            Everyone should make their own calculation for their best options.. that's how life works.  If you are better off unemployed in MT, either financially or just in regard to your own preference in life-style, then by all means STAY THERE.

                            Hell, I'm working on moving away from DC as we speak and MT was a even consideration (Billings to be exact but I was too worried about long term job prospects)... so I get it.   But I wouldn't sit in MT and bemoan and wonder why I can't find a job when I know ITS BECAUSE I LIVE IN MONTANA.

                            My "lack of understanding" is in relation to my own life experience.  I left my home town when I decided to pursue my career.. why? because my hometown was a shit-hole job market where I'd wind up doing some shitty job for shitty pay rather then pursue a high-end IT career.  I didn't do it looking for "company loyalty"..for fuck's sake I went to work for a UK-based international life insurance company not some family-style mom-and-pop outfit doing humanitarian work.  I went because it was that or give up the idea of working in IT.

                            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                            by Wisper on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 04:51:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Why doesn't your company offer relocation cost (6+ / 0-)


              Back in the olden days (70's and 80's) companies did so routinely, for both existing employees and recruits.  The employer can actually get tax breaks for relocation costs. My former employer moved me at least 4 different times, paying moving fees, real estate closing costs, temporary living expenses (hotel and meals, mileage reimbursement), etc. They did that for any employees they wanted to advance and retain.

              I'm not getting today's business recruiting practices.  If you find a good, qualified employee in a distant city or town, why not help them relocate to your shop instead of asking the employee to spend a large amount of money out of their own pocket to move to a job that may not work out well?  The employer can absorb the cost and enjoy the tax exemption far easier than the new recruits.

              Some Fortune 100 & 500 companies still do this.  You might want to check out some of the relocation service companies who can help out.

              Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

              by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:33:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We do on occaision but typically not (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, Betty Pinson, Sparhawk, kurt

                We used to do this much more often.  I'm guessing its some kind of finance decision but that would be made above me.

                Same thing with front loading signing bonuses which used to be a really effective tool in recruiting tech workers, but is just not something that is on the table anymore.

                And I don't think my company is alone in this.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:36:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  They might want to revisit relocation assistance (5+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dicentra, raboof, JerryNA, NoMoreLies, kurt

                  A lot of these IT tech workers are young, recent college grads who have lots of college debt and spotty success in gainful employment in the lower IT demand geographic locations.

                  A lot of these kids (and I have one) have been forced to work and build their skills as contractors where they're often ripped off and/or underpaid. They've built their post college IT skills the hard way and don't have a lot of resources on hand to pay for a move, temporary living expenses, etc,  to a new location. My guy is preparing to move over 1,000 miles away for a new job that pays well, but they're only offering him $1,000 to cover moving expenses.

                  Son's old used car can't even make the trip, he's going to have to sell it and buy a newer used car at his new location, not to mention the cost of apartment deposit, rental of a UHaul truck, etc. It's a lot of money up front. His parents made those moves in the 80's with automatic payments for a professional moving company to pack, ship and unpack plus a $4,000 check for out of pocket costs, free pre-move trip to find a new house, etc.

                  If the relocation tax deduction for business is an issue, seriously, think about going to Capitol Hill and asking for a bump.  I'm not sure, IIRC some of those relocation tax deductions were reduced some time ago in a budget cutting frenzy. More IT companies should go to bat for them.

                  Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

                  by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:28:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I had a similar situation not long ago (0+ / 0-)

                    I moved across the country for work, and my new employer paid the bill: my cost for gas and hotel to drive across the country, movers to haul my stuff (although my wife and I had to pack it ourselves), and a hotel for two weeks after I arrived. Total cost was over $4k, plus the hotel. At the time, I had trouble just coming up with a security deposit for a rental place; I certainly couldn't have paid for the move myself.

                    A friend of mine recently left the company and moved across the country to his new job, which paid all of his relocation expenses (I think around $8k).

                    Granted, these are both established companies with large budgets.

                •  It is hard to get relocation anymore (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  During the dot com boom, when i moved to Sunnyvale from Missouri, I was given complete moving expenses, closing costs on my old house, closing costs on a new house, realtor commission, 3 months in temp housing, 3 months of per diem food allowance, and options.  In case you didn't know, that all counts as actual income for taxation, I got crushed that year.

                  Those days are long gone!  I believe it is mostly due to the mobile nature of business anymore.  Employees don't stick around long term anymore, and many can telecommute.

                  •  We used to use income averaging (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    to lessen the tax burden on extra income from moving expenses. You paid taxes on the average of your current and previous 2 years income.  I'm guessing you can't do that anymore? It made sense in those situations.

                    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

                    by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:56:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Income averaging (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kurt, puzzled

                      disappeared almost 30 years ago (the 1986 tax act) for almost all taxpayers. It was rarely a benefit to those with moving expenses, it only helped those whose income increased more than 30% over the average of the previous 3 years.

            •  Well, if I'm a hypothetical worker (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raboof, Bronx59, JerryNA, NoMoreLies, kurt

              looking for work from some other area, here's the equation.

              I have to sell my house, spend thousands of dollars moving, leave my support systems (friends, relatives, babysitters), help my spouse find a job in your city.

              In a boom-bust situation, that's worth doing if I have the cash flow and if I think this is going to be a lasting situation with net positive cash. But, looking to the boom-bust, I might be wary that my new living costs will be high and the job won't work out or will go out from under me in a short period, leaving me worse off.

              If you consider how you address that in your recruiting, that could be helpful.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:32:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is a flip side to this (5+ / 0-)

                If you are in a town with limited employment options in your field and you've been looking for a job for a while with little to no success.....  ....what are you going to do?

                I knew someone that was in the very situation you describe.. he was in telecom out in Indiana and got laid off.  No other prospects.  He couldn't find a damn thing.  

                His wife didn't want to move because she was from there and her friends were there and her sister was about to have a baby, etc.  All reasons any one of us can understand, but he was a few weeks away from shelving 18 years of experience, a few of them in management, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and some very specialized knowledge in VoIP/PBX hybrid solutions (which was big at the time) and taking a job driving a cable tv van to do installations and service calls.

                Finally he realized that even if he did that he'd barely be able to stay ahead of his bills.

                Had a heart to heart with his wife, decided to pack up and move to Maryland and he went to work for a a huge telecom company paying him more then he could have ever hoped to see in Indiana.  (Was Lucent at the time, but they got bought out early in the consolidations so I don't know where he's at now)

                I met him a few years after he moved here and heard the story all after the fact.  He considered it one of the best career moves he ever made and it came only weeks before he hung up a lucrative career to do cable tv installs so he could live near his wife's friends.

                People have to make choices.... that was my only point.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:43:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think that's true (5+ / 0-)

                  but I also think it's very much a flyer, that it doesn't always have the happy ending, in either direction.

                  And the way job searches work can really add to the friction. A worker in California may never hear about your opening, and if he does, he may not know if it's really a true viable opening. Your ads may be in earnest but you are hurt by all the advertisements placed by companies that aren't really looking for outside candidates.

                  Online job hunting has helped with this tremendously, but it still seems like needle-in-a-haystack for tech jobs in both directions.

                  This is in contrast to my friends who are in nursing, or even high end waitresses, who fully expect to be able to walk in to just about any city, find a help wanted listing, and be hired to start work the next day.

                  So what can we do to ease this friction?

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:09:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Wonder what his wife, her parents, and the kids (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  would say about this?  

                  His career is great (what else WOULD he say to another business person) but he's sure not going to talk to you about his wife's tears, the kids being unsettled in school, and the general depression that rings them all around the winter holidays.

            •  Upstate NY (0+ / 0-)

              isn't all awash in uberly high unemployment rates.  For example, it's slightly over 4% in the capital region.

              Where upstate has higher unemployment tends to be in the states Rust Belt.

              Basically, "upstate" is huge and is hardly homogenous.

              "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

              by Darth Stateworker on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 03:30:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Also, try selling what you own currently in this (6+ / 0-)

            slow recovering housing market.  Yeah, move to the DC area or any area with a hiring economy for IT folks and and loose your shirt on your relocation.  

            There are plenty of IT pros and other highly college educated skilled professionals out there with over 20 years experience pumping gas, unemployed, or working jobs that they would have never thought of working all due to their age and having been laid off for a"variety" of issues":  I can tell you that first hand.

            To claim that age has nothing to do with the firing and hiring process, is pure HR, lazy corporate, "tow the line in hiring low wage", BS.  The business world has been practicing and playing this game for decades, and not only in the technical fields of professional employment.  I have seen this greedy and sinful "Kabuki theatre" play out so many times over the 45 years I have been in the work force that it's not funny.  It's all about the bottom line, shareholders and corporate profits to the top management do nothings and how we have corporate "yes men/women" thumb suckers in HR jobs ruining peoples lives and careers that should never be there.  

            Geesh.  "Not enough skilled workers"?  

            "Move to where the jobs are"?

            Baloney.  They are out there, it's that many HR folks are "instructed" not to interview them because of their age. and other discriminating factors.  Nobody is fooling anyone here with that bag of flotsam.

            "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy...." - Rumi

            by LamontCranston on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:20:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't own anything in the first place (0+ / 0-)

              Owning your primary residence is a loser in today's job and real estate market. It really is. It ties you down and makes you depend on local jobs.

              Additionally, the value of your home is negatively correlated to your likelihood of losing your job, meaning that the moment you are most likely going to need to sell it is the exact moment you will be least able to do so.

              The boomers' lives were: find a good job near good schools. Buy. Wait 30 years, collect pension. That will not fly in today's fast paced competitive economy. You have to do things differently to stay ahead and mobile.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 02:30:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You must be younger than I as many of us over 50 (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dicentra, Bronx59, kurt

                plus years old own homes.  We have established families, and obligations and if you think a person can just turn a switch a go back in time and drop all responsibilities, then patent it, and go for it.

                It's the "Boomers" I am talking about that have suffered layoffs and not getting rehired due to their age, and not their lack of qualifications.  These are the bulk of the "long term unemployed" in those statistics.  These are the ones that are over 50 and many of whom have been working for over 25 - 35 years in their professions.  

                It isn't as simplistic as you make it out to be.

                "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy...." - Rumi

                by LamontCranston on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 03:42:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm 27 and own an apartment in desirable Brooklyn (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                so while in principle I agree with what you're saying, I think location is a variable to consider when purchasing. I've exposed myself to some risk were I to lose my job, but luckily I have a few things going for me:

                – I already live in NYC, where the tech job market is still very strong
                – I'm young without children
                – I'll be debt free except mortgage in April
                – I have enough cash to float me for at least 4 months. And I have securities that I could sell if I truly needed to.

                So yes, I agree with your point, but I think it depends on these other variables and having the ability to weather a term of unemployment.

                •  I am far older than you (59) and am debt free... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  with the exception of a tractor payment.  We are fortunate to have been able to have paid off our property mortgage in full while I was making the high dollar salary as an IT Systems Engineer and we also live on a very private 45 acre rural property in the Blue Ridge mountains.  If anyone thinks I would or could sell this to move to DC for the risk of getting another job as I had, then reality isn't their strong suit.  You appear from your post to be in a very enviable position, but 99% of the people in this country are not so fortunate or in either of our situations.  I can weather "the storm" till 62 easily (saved, and didn't "consume"), and feel for those that are not able to because they are the forgotten employable long term professionals and displaced workers that cannot get up a move to somewhere else to make ends meet.  I would love to work in my profession but after having my job move to another state where I could not realistically relocate to, I am now in the ranks of the long term unemployed, over 55, and now a forgotten statistical and unrepresented person in the world of the fantom workforce as are many of my professional engineering associates as well.  

                  There is an old but wise Native American saying that goes like this:

                  "Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins."

                  Like I stated, you are a fortunate one:  Be grateful and humble and understand compassion for those that are not so fortunate in life as you and I.  When your neighbor succeeds in life, then you do as well.

                  "When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy...." - Rumi

                  by LamontCranston on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 07:08:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  $400K buys a modest 50+ year old house (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...not near Metro, that is losing the battle with entropy in a neighborhood full of houses in similar condition.  

            I think to myself at least once a day that we'd be financially better off retired somewhere else than working in Metro DC.

        •  I grew (8+ / 0-)

          up in the DC/NoVA area and the job market there is much different then the rest of the country,  As you note yourself you are competing with the government and contractors for IT workers.

          "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

          by Kevskos on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:42:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The real issue is heterogeneity in STEM fields (15+ / 0-)

          I really dislike STEM as a term, exactly because of this. IT may indeed have a strong need for new labor force entrants, but we approach economic policy by lumping them together with medical scientists (like me), which have to struggle to stay in their field. So we overtrain for "STEM" fields that don't have labor demand as well.

          •  Oversupply (12+ / 0-)

            In medical STEM areas like biology and biochem, there is a huge oversupply. The PhD grad must go through 4 years of post-doc work and hope that his employer has a good project which will enable him to move to an independent lab. People go on to a second and third post-doc, and there are rules about how many post-docs folks can do.

            The oversupply is due to the ability of foreign workers to get jobs. We do not need them. We need to end the H-1b in the biological and biochemical areas, for sure.

            •  More on oversupply (6+ / 0-)

              Even if you stopped H-1b, my guess is there would still be an oversupply of biology/biochem candidates.  The oversupply was fueled by large increase in the number of graduate students that were trained since the 90s .  Why ?  Because its a sweet deal to hold a bright person ransom for 6+ years and give them poverty wages in exchange for a Ph.D.   I don't know what the solution is, but the current graduate education system has a part in this too.

              I suppose I am in  a STEM field and we struggle to fill our open slots.  Some of it has to do with qualified candidates not wishing to move, and some is we are awfully picky and are not allowed to train less experienced people.  I would prefer to hire less experience folks and train them, but I am just the worker bee with a Ph.D.

              "Life is short, our work lasts longer" Rose Wilder Lane

              by HarpLady on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:18:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There may still be an oversupply BUTTTTT (6+ / 0-)

                1) the oversupply would be less
                2) our current push to "go into science" to US students would be far less cynical and false.

                We push these kids to study science, and then they get out with the PhD and .... where are the jobs?

                I have a PhD. I have 2 kids. My daughter is a bright kid who is extremely savvy, but not STEM-oriented. I have counseled her to VERY CAREFULLY consider her options. Her boyfriend is in PhD program studying medieval French. I know that he is a very smart, but .... She is being cautious now, but will need to make a decision about her future. The current situation involves huge oversaturations in all fields - this is why we have the adjunct professor disaster that is destroying all of these PhDs.

        •  Market wages (4+ / 0-)
          The cost of living is often too high for a lot of entry level work and really senior folks find a way to get their security clearance and get into Gov Contract work paying more then I can match in the private sector.
          Well, there you go.  You're offering below-market pay and complaining that people won't take those jobs.  Now, you can get away with below-market pay if the job is really, really interesting with lots of opportunity to learn things and/or offers startup-like equity.  But if you're asking people to do "standard engineering work", you'd better offer more money than other opportunities.

          Since we don't know what company this is, there's no way to tell if it has a reputation for having a bad work environment, bully bosses, frequent layoffs, uninteresting products, and other good reasons for not wanting to work for it.

          Better to hide your tax returns and be thought a crook than to release them and remove all doubt. [Adapted from Abraham Lincoln]

          by Caelian on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:10:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nice try (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mattc129, Sparhawk, jessical

            No.  Im not.

            Anyone who has a security is INSTANTLY worth a hell of a lot more.  And companies will only pay for the expensive clearance process for top-tier candidates.

            Non-clearance jobs do not, have not, and will not pay as much as clearance jobs.  Period.

            My point was that I am in a narrow niche... companies the size of mine are not going to pay NoVA/DC cost-of-living wages for entry level workers when I can just hire them in my Phoenix office or my Southern FLorida or Oklahoma City for a MUCH lower salary that is still competitive for those markets.

            And then on the top-end, the high-tech super-stars in this market are all angling to get into a position that will sponsor security clearance.  I've had people I was paying $115 to $125 (like 5 or 6 years ago) that got their clearance and offers for $265 and up.  I'm not going to compete with that or even try.

            What I have to do instead is go back and find another non-cleared engineer.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:12:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It took a long time to scroll down here (0+ / 0-)

              and for the first time in ages, there are too many comments under one of mine to read and rec.  

              But in all fairness, I did not expect my broadside to inspire so many followups.  

              I'm trans, and 49, I am a damn good software engineer, and I would likely not qualify or win one of your positions, even with the exact technical prereqs, because I will never be clearable and I'm too old.  My comment was a visceral frustration with the assertion that these jobs go begging -- there are always candidates who shine out regardless, but generally jobs go begging for specific categories of people, some stated and some implicit, and a lot of great people aren't meeting the implicit requirements anymore.  I think that visceral reaction is broadly shared in reaction to that "I can't find anyone" recruiter view.

              But in fairness, I've often worn the hiring hat, and you need who you need, and you can get through the process who you can get through the process.  It isn't a spot that encourages a broad view of exclusion.  I am midlevel and technical by choice and experience, which colors this strongly, but I have also found that jobs that are needed now -- rather than job descriptions -- do not sit unfilled forever, because the organization is highly motivated to find a fit and make it work to meet the goal.  If something sits as a "job" for longer than my project goals, or anyone's reasonable project frame, then from the applicant's view,  the barrier to entry is being shiny enough to buy with a casual trip to the car lot, not a necessity to get from A to B.  And from the company's view, a long running description is an important part of building team interview skills, and collecting some good people -- but if my goal is to get someone to write this and make that run, I'm failing a manager if some decent candidates don't start landing in the chair after a few weeks, something is wrong.  Fix the skill set, poach, shuffle resources, advertise something....because otherwise we need to find a different arrangement of resources to get this done!  But I've been a contractor for a long damn time...

              Anyway, sorry you got broadsided with stuff that I ultimately think you're not responsible for.

              ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

              by jessical on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:36:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmmm ! (17+ / 0-)

      Immigration attorneys explains how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants, and the steps they go through to disqualify even the most qualified Americans in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers. See what Politicians and corporations really mean by a "shortage of skilled U.S. workers." Thousands of companies are running fake ads in Sunday newspapers across the country each week.

      You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

      by jeffrey789 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:42:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wouldn't call it a conspiracy. More a case of (13+ / 0-)

      long term effects of you reap what you sow.  For far too long, American industry has been moving to "off shore" technology and innovation to low wage countries.  Coupled with stigmas, limited career advancement paths, fixed wages, and a shitty overall future outlook (thanks to off shoring), it is no surprise that there aren't a lot of qualified people to fit the positions.

      "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

      by blackhand on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:49:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are fair points (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blackhand, terrypinder

        Im not really an opponent of off-shoring if it makes business sense, but I can see the linkage you are referencing.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:05:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The big question is (4+ / 0-)

          When does it really make business sense?  There was a fictional business story published a while back that was really about Asus and Dell and how Dell almost out sourced themselves out of business by making what, in the immediate frame, was the correct and profitable decision.  The link here, about 1/3 of the way down discusses the story, though the link is more about the Samsung Vs. Apple battle we have today.

          There are two sides to this story: the part that relates to Dell, and the part that relates to Asus. Dell, in its quest to maximize its financial efficiency, continued to outsource way beyond manufacturing components and assembly.
          But here’s a question: at what point did Dell seal its fate? When was it that Dell had outsourced enough that Asus, with a desire to simply get out of the low-value work, could have made it all the way to the point that it did?
          This has sociopolitical implications that are at the core of our current state of affairs.  One of the more interesting conversations I had with a economic Libertarian brought up good versus bad regulation.  The Libertarian argued, or understood, that there are places where the (Federal) govt should intercede because it is in the national and societal interests to do so.  Two areas that he mentioned being true interstate commerce issues and international trade.

          Here is a question to consider.  Had the USA implemented protectionist type practices, much like China has done against imports, would the people of the USA be better off today?  We would not have places like Walmart and their supposedly low prices.  More things would be manufactured domestically and would cost more.  We also wouldn't have the same number of low wage Walmart (service) employees and would have more skilled manufacturing jobs.

          In both of these instances, the "free market" model breaks down because the true costs are not reflected in the price of the product.  Out sourcing can have the same flaw.  

          "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

          by blackhand on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:27:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Corporate Charters are regulations, Limited (0+ / 0-)

            Liability, etc....

            Regulations are just laws.

            Money is just a system of laws.

            Markets can't exist without money.  Markets just are a creature of the "state", or some entity that can enforce laws.

            Either elected governments, or unelected ones - say government (law making/enforcing) by corporations, for instance.

            •  No idea what that even meant (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              terrypinder, Sparhawk

              sounds more like some kind of anti-corporate def poetry jam session...

              Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

              by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:20:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey, corporations might be great, but they can't (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                exist without laws/regulations.

                The "anti-regulation" movement on the part of corporate America is nonsense.  They merely want the regulations they want, and not the regulations they don't want.

                So, for instance, they  want regulations surrounding limited liability, corporate personhood, and  -  money.

                And lots of other ones too.

                This isn't a matter of good or bad, it just is the case.

                Or, do you think corporate America would like to give up limited liability?

        •  Making business sense is not a moral justification (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          It may be a necessity, but why would that preclude opposing something?

      •  And possibly conspiring in other ways.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blackhand, Betty Pinson, JerryNA
      •  Making the point, once again, (6+ / 0-)

        that there is a difference between a "CT", which may or may not be factual, and an actual conspiracy which has been proven.

        It is all too common to have detractors (and participants) call a real conspiracy a conspiracy theory. Perhaps they have high standards, like the "theory" of relativity, or the "theory" of gravity. Maybe we need to rename "CT" to "CH", for conspiracy hypothesis. Once something has passed enough scrutiny to qualify as a theory, there is clearly enough evidence that it deserves a respected place in our debate.

    •  That's not CT at all. (22+ / 0-)

      It's elementary economics.  Employers have a super-obvious and not at all conspiratorial interest in increasing the pool of skilled labor, an when given the opportunity to bring in people from abroad who will work for sub-market wages and who have reduced mobility once they arrive, of course they'll do it.

      The definition of CT around here has grown to include anything that people happen not to agree with.  The reason your jobs sit vacant may be that they're less attractive, on an expense-adjusted basis, that jobs in other parts of the country.  Housing prices are your issue, I'm guessing.

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:02:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My area is not unique (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, terrypinder, mattc129, Sparhawk

        and the "C" in "CT" stands for "Conspiracy" to wit you state:

        Employers have a super-obvious and not at all conspiratorial interest in increasing the pool of skilled labor,
        I've been an IT executive for a long time in major national and international companies... I am starting to feel left out that I don't get invited to the special meetings where we all get together to figure out new ways to fuck people.

        I wonder if those meetings have an open bar.  I bet they do.  ....sonsabitches.

        I will pay people whatever I need to in order to get them to come work for me.  I even have people in HR who's primary job is to track industry and regional trends to make sure our salaries are competitive for our market.  This idea what we are all working together to tamp this down is such bullshit.

        Even this pando article about the IT lawsuit out in CA is not really an example of this.  That was a non-poaching agreement between comnpanies, not a secret plot to crush wages.  They just wanted to stay out of a talent war and NCA lawsuit fight with trigger happy and deep-pocketed power hitters like Apple.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:11:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those special meetings have a name (10+ / 0-)

          They're called trade associations.  You're invited, vicariously, by paying your dues.  With that money, they lobby Congress about H1Bs and whatnot.  

          Look, either there are concrete bottlenecks in the production of competent STEM graduates in our country, in which case we should identify and remedy them, or the shortage jobs are that way because they're objectively super-skilled, like football players, and they'll always have to be compensated accordingly.

          It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

          by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:38:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You can't be serious (8+ / 0-)

          Non-poaching agreements ARE wage-suppression.

          •  I am very serious (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terrypinder, Betty Pinson

            I have worked for several companies that will actively sue competitors for anything they can construe into a Non-Compete violation and prosecute is FULLY knowing that we will either win and be compensated or lose, and even still we are in a better position to afford the litigation then the poacher.

            I also know directly that this goes on in the hospitality industry, retail management, management consulting, CPA firms and aerospace.

            The reason is NOT to suppress wages.  Its to avoid litigation/retribution.  I think there is definitely an anti-trust case to be made but this isn't a colluded effort to suppress STEM wages.  ..even the plaintiffs in the case acknowledge that.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:17:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you're company isn't in on the collusion (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              then it sounds like they're a victim of it.  Its not surprising if employers operating fairly are unable to compete with those who collude to unfairly keep their wage costs low.  If your company can't find protection under Sherman Anti-Trust or similar laws, they should band together with other employers in the same situation and seek remedy on the Hill.

              Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

              by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:53:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe you just don't work for the right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
        •  But the DC area IS quite unique (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in terms of the robustness of the area economy.

          Here is a starting link and you can follow from there.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:21:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The thing is, the language is not explicit. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional, JerryNA, kurt

          Nor is the thinking, often.

          Your HR staff ensure salaries are competitive, i.e. at or above the typical rate. However, how much above would you go? Are there limits? I'd think there are. Wouldn't you have trouble with your peers if you doubled the wages for a new position? With other employees in a similar position? Have you planned this? Considered it explicitly? Set it down as a policy? Yet it's enforced.

          It's possible to have an interest, i.e. to be able to benefit from something, without acting on it. If the typical rate goes down, even if you offer more than that, you'd be offering less. That reduces the portion of your budget required for wages-- you, or the board or the shareholders, some fraction of the companies owners, will benefit. You may not want, like or choose that to be the case, but are you saying it isn't?

      •  HR (5+ / 0-)

        is the other reason. If HR does the screening, which it is doing more and more, you get  a bunch of very stupid people screening on a basis of resumes matching ALL requirements.

        •  That really depends on the HR staff. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder, JerryNA

          You may be thinking of job agencies where that seems to be much more typical. The frequency with which it's used is likely  a function of the number of applicants, and JAs seem to try to match all people they have records on to all jobs then apply crude filtering, e.g. keyword matching. It seems a short step from there to applying more arbitrary measures, and less ethical ones that are (or at least seem to be) effective, such as whether the candidate already has a job.

        •  Worker... you and I have talked before (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder, Sparhawk

          Why do you ALWAYS blame HR?

          Did you have a problem with HR in the past or is this a scapegoat thing?

          No one in HR screens my resumes for anything other then salary.  If I a position with a starting salary of around $90k, HR screens out anyone asking for over $100k so as to not waste my time or theirs.  ..and sometimes I even ask to see the screened resumes in case I decide I want to try and get an exception for someone outside of my pay band.

          The HR screeners are close-to-entry-level 20-somethings with ZERO tech experience.  They can not and do not have any ability to distinguish technical expertise.  All the resumes go to my managers to review and select for interviews.

          There is no secret cabal to weed out americans or old people or true patriots or whatever other group people think we evil corporate managers lay at wake at night dreaming up news ways to oppress.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:18:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not CT, Plausible Explanations for Their Position (5+ / 0-)

      I think it's reasonable to assume that employers having an excess of applicants is beneficial to employers. That's just common sense.

    •  Have you worked as an engineer? (4+ / 0-)

      The number of super-achieving US engineers is undoubtedly much smaller than the number of super-achieving engineers in the world.

      Employers clearly prefer immigrants who they can control
      and are far more mobile. STEM fields are clearly flooded with H1Bs. You may be talent-hunter for government agencies but don't understand what grunt engineers face from cherry picking employers who don't want to be restricted in any way to US engineering talents.
      If you want to hire more US engineers you'll have to meet them half way which is more work for you.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!".-Upton Sinclair

      •  I have 22 years in IT (5+ / 0-)

        starting out as an engineer, going to architect to project manager and into and up to executive director.

        I am not looking for people I can "control".. Im looking for people that can do the WORK.  Ive hired low and trained up. Ive hired high with a commitment agreement.  Ive poached from other competitors with the same positions.  I've relocated people.  I've hired overseas.  I've hired H1-B's.  I've pulled people out of retirement (only once though) I've hired pre-graduate college students from on-campus job fairs.  I've hired returning vets at military job fairs.  I've hired every combination of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality and sexual orientation I can think of.  ... I think the excommunicated mormon single-mom lesbian biker might be my most extreme example of that but she was one of the best tech trainers I ever had.  :)

        Trust me.  I do not talk about this issue from a theoretical perspective.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:31:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  From the Ground (5+ / 0-)

      the "STEM shortage" is hogwash. I can speak as an experienced professional Engineer and parent. My son who graduated with excellent grades with a degree in engineering has been unable to get a single response to the hundreds of applications he's made in the two years. Especially in the case of Boeing and Microsoft, the job postings  he applied to, are repeatedly cancelled in large batches without being filled, while the company bemoans the lack of "qualified applicants" and how they need more foreign worker visas in front of government committees. Those job openings appear to be smoke to support their desire for cheap imported workers. We are hearing similar stories from the families of other recent graduates.

    •  The geographical aspect is a major facet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of what you're running into.  The DC economy is in another  world compared to much of the rest of the country.  I don't have a lot of links to support that but I've seen the articles numerous times.  I note them because as an IT worker, I've often thought about moving to Silicon Valley or DC.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:42:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You should come here! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terrypinder, mattc129, Sparhawk

        If you have current skills and some decent years of experience you will do great.

        As I mentioned elsewhere in thread, entry level can be tough here because its typically not worth it in this area, but if you are already in the business, the sky is the limit.

        Full Disclosure:  I know I'm doing a lot of talking up of the DC/NoVA area for tech workers so I should admit that I am actively and ardently looking to GTFO of here in the next few months.  LOL... but that doesn't undermine anything I've said, I swear!  I've worked here for decades.... My wife and I are just looking for a serious change of pace.  If I was young again and just starting out I'd move here in a second (Im not really a Sil Valley kind of guy and I can't stand NYC).

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:55:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I should probably look more closely (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          than I have.  Because if the money is good, it can be worth the move.  I have  family there too, so I visit Silver Spring a bit.

          I'll look into it.  Thanks for the encouragement.  I'm a DBA and it is a fairly marketable set of skills.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:10:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Other side of the city (0+ / 0-)

            Silver Spring is North (as you know)... Amazon is out West in Herndon, VA but I know the director out there and I know for an absolute fact they are looking hard for DBAs.

            This is on their AWS side of the business, not

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:26:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a tip for ya (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I hear IBM's firing again.

      Numbers of dumped tech workers from that company alone over 100k in the past 3 years or so.  HP has been almost as bad.

      I find it funny that you put your own personal experience in HR up against the stories of people in numerous companies who have actually lived through the tech company shenanigans.  Just a few examples for you -

      IBM fired 10s of thousands of workers, and then opened up regional employment centers and attempted to hire exact replacements for them at greatly reduced salaries and benefits.  Starting salaries for these jobs are around 40k.  They've also been running some hilarious ads for senior security architects with an education requirement of GED and a starting salary around 40k.

      If you can't find people to fill your 100k jobs, give it a try on that link I put up or go find the similar one for HP.  But, I wouldn't go crying CT on the basis of what you (think) you see from your HR seat.  There's plenty of documentation of these big IT companies dumping workers for offshore labor as well as forcing down US wages by dumping older employees and hiring cheap young ones.

    •  The catch then is the definition of "QUALIFIED" (0+ / 0-)

      ... which will conveniently make some 1/2 price shithead with an H1-B more "qualified" purely as a matter of coincidence.

      Someone who himself only gets 1/2 of the 1/2 as the temp agency the H1-B visa is under gets the other half. But I'm sure there is no kickback to HR people going on in this Kaboki theater of bullshit.

    •  I hear you (0+ / 0-)

      and the additional thing that never gets talked about is that a large chunk of people who look qualified on paper simply can't do the job in a multi-tasking environment or with less than complete specifications, which is the rule not the exception these days. With references getting more and more generic due to liability, especially coming from larger companies, it is VERY difficult to find someone even if you have 200 applicants that look good on paper. And even in high tech areas like San Francisco where my company hires from

      After my experiences of the last few years with hiring, I'm almost convinced I would never hire a developer other than contract-to-perm, although it should be noted that such an approach would further reduce the pool of qualified applicants.

      I would certainly agree that there are various systemic problems with how companies have managed themselves and their workers the past couple decades which have contributed to this. The situation could be alleviated some by creating less demanding environments, which translates to spending more money. But the difficulty in finding IT talent other than on paper is very real.

      Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to and check out New World Orders

      by eparrot on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:05:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's only difficult.. (0+ / 0-)

        ...because nobody wants to train, and they all want a rockstar that can hit the ground running from day 0.

        I had to drill this point into my VPs head this last round of hiring.  He wanted a rockstar that could already do everything and would just have to be shown our way of doing it, when really, we needed someone with mid-level experience to triage incoming work so that senior systems engineers aren't doing package installations and basic troubleshooting.   Plus, we can train them up to move into a senior role when the amount of work expands or one of us leaves for the next hot startup.

        Everyday Magic

        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
        -- Clarke's Third Law

        by The Technomancer on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:52:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think you are wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, bananapouch1

    We import a big fraction of our nurses and computer engineers, and there is an entire layer of technical jobs below the BS level that are unfilled. My son the engineer could have a dozen job offers this week if he were looking.

    I came from AAAS last week where recruiters from all over the world had big exhibits and receptions. We need more.

    •  Well, this is garbage (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, sentinalnode, IT Professional

      There are plenty of nurses available, and many nurses are unable to find jobs. So, I don't buy this, period.

      Do you actually look at the resumes, or do you let HR do the screening? HR is one of the main reasons we have a "talent shortage". Because HR is filled with VERY STUPID PEOPLE who cannot think or understand actual skilled people, and are unable to do anything except determine if a resume matches EACH and EVERY SINGLE ONE of the requirements.

      Dump HR, and you will soon fill all your positions, like magic.

      •  Where are nurses, licensed nurses, unable (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bananapouch1, terrypinder, FG

        to find jobs? Nowhere I can think of.

        I don't know of any nurses who aren't working, unless it's by choice.

        Nursing programs at all levels (except maybe PhD) have waiting lists, and often only take those who have completed pre-reqs, and have good GPAs.

        And they're LONG waiting lists.

        CNAs might not always find jobs. But those aren't RNs, not even close.

        •  IIRC there was a diary a while back (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional, NoMoreLies, kurt

          about problems with abusive working conditions for RN's in hospitals.  Most now require RN's and higher to work 12 hour days on random schedules that interfere with sleep and overall health. For that reason, many RN's are opting out to work in lower paying jobs where they can control their schedules and have a decent quality of life.

          Here's a link to the news article discussed in that diary, about a nurse who died when she fell asleep driving home from work. Her family is suing her employer:

          Lawsuit: Ohio nurse was 'worked to death'

          Apparently a mini-industry of consultants has sprung up focusing on showing health care providers how they can save money and skirt labor regs by making nurses work 12 hour shifts.  Sad.   Can't blame the RN's for leaving these working conditions, even if it means lower pay.

          Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

          by Betty Pinson on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:07:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You don't know much about this area, either (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional, kurt

          On Oct 13, 2013:

          There are no shortages of nurses. There are persistent indications that there are great difficulties finding jobs.

          Yet nurses are brought in, to keep cheap, low-ethical, virtual slave labor in the nursing corps.

          The desire for slave labor is unending. The H-1B is a modern slave labor system.

        •  our former neighbors moved across country (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, kurt

          she had just finished up with nursing school---could NOT find a nursing job at all in SoCal. two to three thousand applicants per job, she was told. Ended up moving back and finding one here.

          Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

          by terrypinder on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:11:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Calling HR stupid... (0+ / 0-)

        misses the point.  They are not stupid, they are simply untrained in the technical fields they are evaluating.

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:06:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are you a nurse? (0+ / 0-)

        Umm..I work in the medical field.  My mother is a nurse, my wife is a nurse, my sister is a nurse.

         I just had a meeting with a CNO yesterday who said "my biggest initiative in the next three years is to become a magnet hospital so I can attract more nursing candidates...I can't keep my units fully staffed.  Look up magnet hospital in case you don't understand what that means.

        Is the nursing shortage what is was 5 years ago?  Nope, but it is real.

        And in case you need more proof.  Recent nursing grads have the lowest unemployment rate.

        georgetown study

      •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

        We give incentives to places like the Philippines. I know of no place where RNs are available.

  •  Corporations Caught Colluding to Reduce Wages (12+ / 0-)

    Corporations Caught Colluding to Reduce Worker Wages"

    So here we have billionaires and millionaires, a group of "free
    market capitalists" that tout meritocracy, conspiring and colluding to
    cripple wages for their workers.

    That DOJ suit became the basis of a class action lawsuit
    filed on behalf of over 100,000 tech employees whose wages were
    artificially lowered — an estimated $9 billion effectively stolen by the
    high-flying companies from their workers to pad company earnings

    Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied attempts
    by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the lawsuit tossed, and gave
    final approval for the class action suit to go forward.

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:45:48 AM PST

    •  Continued, (6+ / 0-)

      The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google,
      Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar are described in court papers obtained
      by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman
      Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like
      something lifted straight out of the robber baron era that produced
      those laws. Today’s inequality crisis is America’s worst on record since
      statistics were first recorded a hundred years ago — the only
      comparison would be to the era of the railroad tycoons in the late 19th

      Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s
      Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing
      not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information,
      and punishing violators

      Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior
      advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got
      directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from

      Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation
      Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information
      “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can
      be sued later?”These secret conversations and agreements between some of
      the biggest names in Silicon Valley were first exposed in a Department
      of Justice antitrust investigation launched by the Obama Administration
      in 2010.

      To the naysayers. This isn't hard to understand. It isn't excusable,
      and it is theft of not only wages, but of career opportunity.

      Imagine you were a hot shot Apple employee a few years back, Working
      at the pinnacle, where tech meets art, and Steve Jobs, is
      telling (demanding) that no one- NO ONE- dare to poach one of his

      If this anti poaching agreement didn't exist, that Apple employee
      could have (potentially) doubled her salary by becoming an executive at
      Yahoo or Intel. Two companies which would have paid through the roof to
      get some of that Apple pixie dust. But since they were afraid to incur
      the wrath of Jobs, the workers lost out, and they had no idea that they
      were secretly blacklisted.

      You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

      by jeffrey789 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 05:47:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok.. thats your argument for STEM shortage? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MGross, terrypinder

        Thats an anti-poaching and was NOT done in some preconceived gambit to depress wages, it was to try and avoid two things:  1) Talent war where larger corporations can deliberately raid talent in smaller competitors to stifle productivty and 2) rack up legal costs defending against Non-Compete agreement violation claims, legitimate or otherwise.

        This is not an IT specific thing in anyway.

        If there is illegal activity here then I hope it gets exposed and addressed in these cases, although most of them have already settled  (Pixar/Lucasfilm.. Intuit.. someone settled with Apple, I think).

        But this really isn't the point about STEM shortage.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:02:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would say that the pando article (0+ / 0-)

        only proves that there is a STEM worker shortage...hence the threat of litigation if google poached from apple.

        If there isn't any shortage, there wouldn't be a need to poach.

  •  I think part of the bottleneck is instructors. (3+ / 0-)

    It's hard to get people to teach these skills in US colleges and universities when they could make so much more in non-teaching roles, and not have to put up with students!

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:05:59 AM PST

    •  Not really. There is no shortage of math or comp (4+ / 0-)

      sci professors. Maybe in some community colleges but community colleges are often short of adjuncts given crappy pay.

      •  How does that work? (4+ / 0-)

        I recognize that some people have a strong enough teaching (or teaching/research) vocation that they're willing to work in academic even though there are much better options out there economically speaking, but as a mass phenomenon I find that implausible.  Institutions higher in the food chain can compete for people who have the expertise (and concrete familiarity with the private sector), but I don't see how lower-down institutions can do it and we do need those institutions if we're going to have enough people trained and out in the workforce.

        It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

        by Rich in PA on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:34:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Immigrants. The only way for many immigrants to (3+ / 0-)

          move to US is get into a PhD program and after that college teaching is a logical place to end up. There are other factors as well: teaching jobs are better distributed geographically etc. Of course, low pay may lead to lower quality. Lack of familiarity with private sector is a serious problem for many STEM professors and may be especially bad in IT.

        •  People choose to go into academia (0+ / 0-)

          for many reasons. In many cases, they wish to have the opportunity for research and writing, and often wish to not do industry.

          In my area, statistical and methodological analysis, I interviewed with some "applied industrial research" groups, such as Bell Labs. The work sounded very stultified and constrained. Would it have been? I don't know.

          I chose academia for the opportunity to "be a professor". When you are selecting one path or another, often the salary differences are quite small at the time. They also do not tell you that once you choose a track (industry or academia), switching is very difficult. I now do clinical trials work, and have occasionally tried to go to the pharmas. I never get a single bit of interest. When hiring, I would NEVER consider hiring someone from a pharma, either. So it works both ways.

      •  Sorry, as someone in academia who (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, FG, terrypinder

        has been on a number of hiring committees, there is a severe shortage of computer science faculty candidates in more applied areas, and the good candidates are often juggling multiple offers with (for academia) quite large salaries.

        •  What do you mean by more applied areas? (0+ / 0-)

          More a curiosity question than anything else, since I'm more of a theorist (my research was on graph algorithms) but when I was looking for a faculty job I had the hardest time getting an interview (I eventually ended up in industry)

  •  MoneyWatch, November 18, 2013 (16+ / 0-)

    The claims about STEM shortages come from employers, along with their lobbyists and trade associations, claims Michael Teitelbaum, who a fellow in science policy at Harvard University and a senior advisor at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

    The tech industry can benefit if Americans -- and more importantly -- politicians believe that America is falling behind in producing highly skilled workers. While claiming that there is a STEM shortage, industry groups have lobbied Congress to allow more foreign IT workers to work in the U.S.

    "This is all about industry wanting to lower wages," Norman Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis, told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    If your child wants to major in a STEM, make sure he or she is doing so for the right reasons. It looks like the popular motivations for turning to these majors -- a practically guaranteed job and a high salary -- are no longer sure things.

    •  Adam Smith (8+ / 0-)

      Adam Smith rightly saw the dangers of this more than 200 years ago:

      "The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

      –Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations, vol. 1, pt. xi, p.10 (at the conclusion of the chapter)(1776)

      You Don't Happen To Make It, You Make It Happen !

      by The Omega Man on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:45:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I love when people pull quotes like this from (0+ / 0-)

        Smith.  I keep trying to get myself to read him again, but am too lazy to get through is older English.


        •  Problem is... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PrahaPartizan, katiec

          that most (Conservatives) don't actually understand what he wrote.

          "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

          by cardboardurinal on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:11:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  More (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          katiec, kurt

          “I realize that no one reads Adam Smith anymore, much less the "libertarians" who have mangled what Smith said, but for "free market" advocates, shouldn't they take heed, since they supposedly base their entire economic philosophy on Smith's tenants? Yet it's amazing how selective the propaganda, as well as scholarship, is about teaching.

          Adam Smith. Quote:

          "But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with prosperity, and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. The interest of this third order, therefore, has not the same connexion with the general interest of the society as that of the other two."--Adam Smith, "Wealth of Nations.

    •  Part of the reason for the shortages is that (3+ / 0-)

      our students are so damn bad at math and science.

      REALLY bad, in a lot of cases.

      If you don't know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, you'll have major problems. And you have to do higher math, think logically, and be able to reason. We do a horrible job at teaching that, and too many of our students don't want to hear that they need a bunch of remedial stuff BEFORE they start in their desired major.

      You can't train somebody to be an engineer or programmer if they can't reason logically. And do math, if they're going into engineering.

      You have to be able to get from point a to point b, without a map, and often point b changes to point x midstream.

      If you can't deal with that, and the fact that you're going to have to relearn things, or learn to do them differently, on a regular basis, you'll never make it.

      Too many of our students don't want to THINK. They just want to be able to memorize something for a test and then forget it.

      •  Obviously you know nothing about China and India (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional

        That is EXACTLY what the school systems in China and India teach - drill and kill, memorize and NOT think. I have unfortunately hired a number of mostly Chinese, and I will not hire them any more. They are unable to lead, think by themselves, or do anything independent. US folks are able to do this, very well.

        •  I agree with you here. (0+ / 0-)

          In my school there is a large population of Asians, most of whom refuse to integrate with the general population. They have no relations outside their own ethnic group. Many of them speak English at a mediocre level, and their skills are narrow and limited to technical fields (they would not be able to write a good 5-page paper).

        •  annnnnnd.... here we go (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If racial exclusion works for your hiring practices, well.. then good luck with that.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 01:52:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional, bgblcklab1

        ad hominem attack on American schools and young people.

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:12:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is an entire industry (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nosleep4u, bgblcklab1

          which is telling us how bad Americans are at science, math, whatever. Mostly these are repukeliscum, but some are democratic traitors, too.

          Until 1992, we did not have a STEM shortage. We had the ability to hire our own graduates. Americans invented the entire computer industry, except for Tim Berners-Lee. We invented every single useful program. We invented every language worth anything.

          All of a sudden, in 1992, American industry discovered slave labor. There were HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of slaves-in-waiting in India and China who would DO ANYTHING, LITERALLY ANYTHING to get to America.

          How to get them here? The simplest answer is the invent the Myth of the Really Smart Asian. Today, this myth is thrust down our throat all the time. Americans are too stupid to do anything, plus they are lazy, so the myth goes.

          It's all cheap labor crap. The thirst for slave labor is endless. That is the definition of the H-1B system - slave labor. It needs to end.

        •  Actually it is largely true (0+ / 0-)

          Ask any professor who has had to deal with unprepared undergraduates. Like me. Our best is the best in the world. But K-12, for most students, doesn't get the job done.

          •  Of course there... (0+ / 0-)

            are a lot of unprepared undergraduates, but implying that most American young people are unprepared is patently false.  It might be true for underfunded schools with subpar facilities, but American schools that are run well are on par with the best schools in the world.  

            "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

            by cardboardurinal on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 10:59:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I taught at a state university in a state (0+ / 0-)

              with what are supposed to be some of the best public schools in the US. They did not get the job done. Huge fractions of the student body need to take remedial English and repeat high school mathematics. And these students are mostly middle class and white.

      •  This is unfortunately true. (0+ / 0-)

        Many STEM programs in US schools are simply mediocre, and kids graduate high school with very limited knowledge in the fields. Why would anyone then expect them to major in STEM fields when those are so unfamiliar to them?

  •  I do kind of hate sounding like a broken record... (13+ / 0-)

    ...but "STEM" contains such a wide diversity of fields with vastly different demands and salaries it's almost nonsensical to treat it as an entity at all.

    Petroleum Engineers now average something like 250k/year at 10 years out, and have unemployment rates around 0.1%  Chemistry majors continue to have depressed wages and employment, and have for decades at this point. Both are STEM degrees.

    •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, terrypinder

      Absolutely true. However, even though the STEM construct isn't particularly helpful, policymakers and private employers look at $250k salaries for petroleum engineers and use that to promote more H-1Bs and the education and training of people in all STEM fields, even when there is a glut of workers in chemistry or biology, etc. We need an intelligent economic policy that doesn't rely on simplistic buzzwords. (I know, might as well ask for a pony too...)

      •  On H-1Bs (6+ / 0-)

        If you look at the total number of H-1Bs by profession, it's pretty clear which industry is abusing the system.

        •  And if you add up the numbers (5+ / 0-)

          There are more than 1/2 million jobs taken up by foreign workers that can be filled by US workers. Just an estimate, of course, but the numbers are HUGE.

          The long-term unemployed that are now living on grass-clippings and dead rats? Probably 1/2 million.

          So, in other words, we give jobs to foreign non-citizens while we allow our own children, brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and other AMERICAN CITIZENS to fall out of the middle class into poverty?

          Since when is trashing American workers part of the liberal values we all prize so much?

          And if the "immigration reform" travesty S 774 passes, the numbers of H-1bs will double. The number of green cards will be unlimited. This will all get much, much worse.

          If you are unemployed, you had better be opposing immigration reform. It is YOUR OPPORTUNITY to ever work again that immigration reform is threatening.

          •  Lump of labor fallacy. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FG, charliehall2

            This is the fallacy that there is a fixed number of jobs in the economy to hand out to the population. It misses out on the point that immigrants pay taxes to support welfare and SS programs, and that they often create businesses that hire Americans.

            The same flawed logic is sometimes used in support of shorter work weeks and lower retirement ages.

      •  Petroleum engineers seem to be (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional, terrypinder, kurt

        a frequent hobbyhorse, and they're held up as being in short supply with the implication the people who work in those jobs are extra smart and hard to come by because of a lack in the american educational system and work ethic.

        In reality, the jobs are often not all that appealing compared to other options for smart, technical people. They tend to be in unpleasant and un-family-friendly places near the wells or out on rigs. There are not many distinct employers... and many of them don't have great reputations in terms of their ethics, either.

        There are only about 30,000 jobs in petroleum engineering and only a few schools that train them, who graduate about 3,000 students a year.

        This is the market at work: the salary rises to attract people to the field who might rather work doing something else.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:15:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Plus the boom-bust cycle (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nosleep4u, Caelian, kurt

          They work for 5 years, there's a bust, and all the PEs are fired. You want that kind of job? Right now, you can go to work in N Dakota where 1 bedroom apartments go for $3000/month (highest in the country) in a town without even a movie theatre. Good jobs, eh?

  •  This is absolutely correct (6+ / 0-)

    There is simply no need for any foreign guest workers. They displace American workers.

    Since 1992, when the H-1B was enacted in its present form,
    millions of American IT workers have been displaced by H-1Bs. There are hundreds of thousands who have left the field since they cannot get interviews.

    And, no, I don't have statistics on this. There are NO incentives for anyone to actually study this. The only incentives are on the employers' side, where there are huge economic incentives to continue the anti-American propaganda that Americans are unfit, Americans are unable to do the work, Americans are incompetent.

    And if you don't believe that there is an organized industry to bring in cheap scabs from SE Asia (China, India, etc), look at the Cohen & Grigsby video.  Google "cohen grigsby h1b" and watch the video. This is an organized conference by the  outsourcing firm to teach HR folks how to NOT HIRE AN AMERICAN. Right on the video, the statement is made "the point is to not find a qualified American". Right on the video, as blatant as that.

    •  While I agree... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to a certain extent, I don't entirely agree.  There are some people that we absolutely should be bringing here.  Of course that is not what happens with the H-1B and L-1 programs.  We bring average people over, not the exceptional ones.  

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:15:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have the O-1 program for exceptional (0+ / 0-)

        The H-1B and L-1 program should be scrapped.

        •  I have seen that... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FG, charliehall2, kurt

          we have brought over exceptional people over in H-1B and L-1 as well.  O-1 is much more difficult as it is not a dual intent immigration status and can cause some problems when the immigrant applies for a Green Card.  Also, O-1s cost a lot of money, so if we scrapped the H-1B and L-1 programs smaller businesses would not be able to afford to bring over the exceptional immigrants from overseas.  

          As I said above however, H-1B and L-1 are abused by bringing over average (and mediocre) people.  

          "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

          by cardboardurinal on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:50:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  No H1B, no American medical research (0+ / 0-)

      I am not claiming that this applies to all STEM fields, but there simply aren't the American biostatistics graduate students we need.

  •  There is a simple reason why IT firms push (7+ / 0-)

    Take Facebook (please).

    Prior to the public offer, Zuckerman was able to offer stock incentives to the workers. If you came and worked like a fucking dog putting in 80 hr weeks, you would get stock incentives and options. These allowed him to offer crap wages in return for the opportunity to cash in later.

    Once the public offer was made and the stock was listed, stock options are no longer available. This means that he now was in the market of having to pay actual wages. What to do, what to do? Push for H-1Bs, who are willing to work for substantially lower wages (and please, no crap about how the prevailing wage is paid to H-1Bs, when this is OBVIOUSLY and TOTALLY FALSE) for the false and illusory promise of the green card down the road.

    You will not see start-ups prior to the IPO on the H-1B bandwagon. It is AFTER when the incentives are gone that they cry so piteously about the lack of talent.

  •  recced for correct usage of the word "data" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    I'll evaluate the rest of the claims as I go. I would have to say taht in some fields, you're correct. Chemistry especially seems to not have a shortage. In others, I'm not so sure.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:09:20 AM PST

    •  Definitely one of my pet peeves too :) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Also, I agree that STEM is not a very helpful construct (see above comments).

      Nonetheless, since policy-wise we address the field as a group, I think it's important to show the data about how the STEM group as a whole is faring. I'm likely going to follow up with another diary about heterogeneity in STEM fields.

      •  that would be most helpful (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrbond, Yoshimi

        I've also argued that STEM should be STEAM, the A being "art". There's an art to presenting scientific and technical data and I've found some have it and some don't. I read a great many papers in the field I'm interested in and know which authors will educate me and which ones will leave me very frustrated.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

        by terrypinder on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 07:19:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Engineering and science jobs tend to be high (5+ / 0-)


      Meaning, that there are relatively few workers and relatively few jobs.

      There are always weird things that people send to me like "10% of astronomers are going to retire, oh noes, there is going to be a shortage! We must train more!" Then, I remind them that 10% of professional academic astronomers is less than 1000 jobs and that we graduate that many Ph.D.s most years.

      Skills get very specialized and even though you may be very smart and very experienced, when an engineering project ends there may not be another job waiting around that meets the exact qualifications of the people who now need work. Employers are less willing to retread employees with different experience than the exact job they're trying to fill.

      When you add that employers are willing to wait months for the perfect fit but that there is reluctance to hire someone who is not currently employed, it shortens the pool even more.

      Geography is also a factor. A location where there are many employers doing similar work eases friction for both employer and employee. A location that is more isolated requires both parties to take a leap of faith - the employee liquidating his life and moving his family to one and only one employer who may not work out for the long term; the employer hoping that this person is a good fit and will stay. As more high-tech workers are married to other high tech workers, this factor becomes more of an issue, because now you need a city where both can find work.

      The way around this tends to be networking - people hiring in people they know well enough to be willing to invest in training and risk them in a slightly different field.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:08:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's right up there with the lie about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cordgrass, IT Professional

    coming shortage of teachers to sucker kids into education so they can use the glut to keep wages down and destroy the Unions.  If you calculate teachers currently under contract, subtract out the one expected to retire in the next few years, and then divide by an expected increase in school age children - surprise! - you get a shortage.  If you use instead the number of people in America who have graduated from accredited teaching programs and have state licenses to teach but aren't teaching to be divided by the expected increase in school age children you find that every teacher in America could drop dead of some unspecified disease and the only problem with getting all the classrooms covered for the coming year would be the amount of paperwork involved.  Of course we have the STEM people, an unfortunately high proportion of whom are unemployed.

    •  And yet some school districts bring in H-1bs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IT Professional, bfitzinAR

      from the Phillipines and Mexico.

      Yet there are thousands of teachers who begin their careers by subbing, hoping for the opportunity to get a full-time job.

      In many cases, the weak crap of "you can't teach Spanish unless you are a native speaker" is given to justify this. That is garbage. My dad taught Russian and he began the teaching process knowing no Russian - like many teachers, he stayed 2 days ahead of the students. Was he effective? I don't know, but he taught many subjects. Teaching is an art, and once you have a basic notion, you can teach many different things.

      •  This is not true (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terrypinder, FG, kurt

        Honestly, it's not.

        You don't necessarily have to be a NATIVE speaker, but if you're struggling along with the students you will NOT be an effective teacher.

        This is true in just about any subject, but it's even MORE true in any math/science/technical one.

        If you don't understand what you're teaching, you won't even recognize if a student has a valid, but different, method of solving a problem. And if they do have a valid method but make a mistake executing it, you won't have clue how to help them see where they went wrong.

        •  Have you ever taught? (0+ / 0-)

          Doesn't sound like you have...

        •  And additionally (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IT Professional, bfitzinAR

          it is true. Prince Georges Ct MD had a huge program of H-1bs from the Phillipines. Of course, school board members had to go there, on the public dime, to select candidates. In Texas, RIGHT NOW, there is a huge scandal of EXACTLY what I am talking about.

          Do you follow this issue? I am sure you know NOTHING about it, since you are so invariably wrong on the most basic parts.

          •  About 10 years ago (0+ / 0-)

            they couldn't find teachers for Oakland, CA elementary schools.  

            The inner city type school system was so corrupt and twisted, the state of California came in to run the schools, fire all the incompetents and the seriously crooked administrators.     During this time, they found that a number of Filipino teachers had actually paid to get the jobs they were given -- one of the hiring administrators was getting paid to give them jobs.  Lots of dollars involved.  

        •  Not at the elementary level (0+ / 0-)

          and to a certain extend and depending on the specific class, not at the secondary level.  Although you are very correct that a teacher must be open to knowing that there are multiple ways to solve problems and the one the student is using/trying to use can be just as valid as the one in the text.  

          Truth to tell, if you can't teach it you don't understand it and I don't care how many pieces of paper you have that say you do.  But if you understand the concept, even if you don't understand the specifics, you will learn those as you teach and both you and the students will be better for it.

          •  You do have to understand the concepts (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and be willing and open to learning different ways than what's in the book.

            You don't have to know EVERYTHING, to be sure. And things change all the time (especially in science fields).

            I don't have a problem with learning from the students, every decent teacher does that to some extent.

            But if you don't know the subject AT ALL, and especially if it's a language or math/science field, you aren't doing the students any favors.

            •  Again, we're talking about public (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              school here - elementary and secondary (I was licensed to teach K-12, but really "specialized" in Middle School/Junior High) - if you don't understand at least the basic concepts, how'd you get out of public school and into college in the first place.  I'm lousy at languages and so I wouldn't try to teach one.  I know people who are very good at them and could teach by staying a couple of chapters ahead.  Ditto music, which as far as I'm concerned is another language.  But when it comes to the Core - English grammar, General Science, Social Studies, and Math - I have the basic concepts.  I couldn't have become a teacher without them because I couldn't have graduated high school much less college if I didn't.

              You are thinking about 3 layers up from basic elementary and even secondary education.  My job is/was/would be to introduce the concepts to the kids in a concrete way and encourage them to follow whatever interests them as far as they can.  That sends some kids to auto mechanics and others to nuclear physics.

              •  You'd be surprised (or probably not) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                at how many people manage to get into and through college without learning much of anything.

                As for languages, I think it depends a lot on what language. If you know French pretty well, you could probably manage Spanish and Italian without too much difficulty, but I wouldn't want to try to learn Arabic or Chinese from you.

                Same with math, especially at the lower levels. If you know the basics you should be able to teach those, and get kids started. Basic science too.

                With younger kids it really is about enthusiasm and basic concepts, and doing 'cool stuff'. There's plenty of materials available.

                At higher levels, it becomes a lot more important that you have more in depth knowledge.

      •  I know - I tried the subbing route (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional, kurt

        and basically got nowhere.  I personally wouldn't try a foreign language (including music) just a few steps ahead of my students - especially not in TX where I got my original degree and certificate since many Latinos take Spanish for an "easy A" and then get clobbered in the grammar sections - but as a sub I have most certainly depended on reading the lesson in the textbook before the kids came in as far as Core classes are concerned and actually did very well.

        But the fiction of a shortage to create the glut - the H-1bs, etc - it's nothing in the world but Union busting.

      •  They used to do that before 2008 when there was (0+ / 0-)

        actual shortage of teachers. Now they largely don't. And btw 'staying 2 days ahead of students' hasn't been allowed for decades.

  •  T&R for correct use of "data" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrbond, terrypinder, IT Professional

    -- as a plural -- in your title!

    Grammar lives.

  •  Not only H-1B, but J-1 as well (4+ / 0-)

    Why is it that there are so many Indian doctors? Why are US physician ranks overrun with SE asians?

    1) It is very expensive to train US kids to be doctors. It is cheaper to allow the Indians to train the doctors. However, every Indian doctor TAKES THE PLACE OF A US KID WHO WANTS TO BE A DOCTOR. In addition, we remove doctors from India, where there is a shortage of physicians. The Indians get jobs here with the J-1 visa, which has NO LIMITS on numbers. I see applications for cardiology fellows, and 90 % are Indians. We need to make opportunities for American students in American health care, not Indians.

    2) US kids pay FULL PRICE for very expensive undergraduate study.  Indians pay NEXT TO NOTHING. Thus, when the time for graduate work comes, the Indians have no debt, but many US kids carry 25K, 30K, 35K in debt. They cannot afford to go to med school where they will accumulate more debt.

    3) In many cases, the US student goes to college and gets a foreign TA who is NOT UNDERSTANDABLE. This saddles them with both a difficult subject and a TA who cannot speak English. This is a terrible burden on the US student. We need to VERY STRONGLY upgrade SPEAKING REQUIREMENTS of the TOEFL.

    •  You seem to be conflating graduate (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder, FG, Sparhawk

      and professional post-baccalaureate education, which are two very different things.

      If the realm of "science" - i.e., Ph.D. and subsequent training, it is very easy for foreigners to come into the country and flood the labor market.

      In the realm of "medicine" - i.e., M.D. and subsequent training, there are significant barriers in place (which probably explain the salary discrepancies between M.D.s (high) and Ph.D.s (low)).

      •  Totally wrong (0+ / 0-)

        The J-1 is used to bring in thousands of Indians, often to more rural areas. This is used to fill supposedly difficult to fill positions. But really what is going on is that the US medical establishment is unwilling to set up more med schools, and fills these positions with cheaper foreign workers. It's the same deal, but in this case it comes again at the cost of US students unable to get a medical career.

        •  About this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the US medical establishment is unwilling to set up more med schools
          I am sure they are quite willing, if funding were available.

          It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to put a student through medical school, of which only a relatively small fraction is recouped through tuition.

          If you can come up with a realistic solution where the $$s are going to come from, then yeah, expansion of US medical schools is a really good idea.  If not, it's basically just good fodder for internet rants.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

          •  To expand on these thoughts a bit (0+ / 0-)

            have you given any thought to how medical students learn to treat patients?

            If not, this article might be a tad eye-opening:

            Ethics of Practicing Medical Procedures on Newly Dead and Nearly Dead Patients

            IOW, when somebody in a hospital dies, trainees rush in to perfect their techniques before actually performing the procedures on actual living patients.

            On one hand, this makes sense because really, who wants to be the person who want to the very first test case for a newly  minted physician.

            OTOH, the whole thing is enough to make one just a tad queasy.

            But back to practical matters - these procedures on the "newly dead" are often presented to insurance companies (and Medicare/Medicaid) as last ditch life saving procedures worthy of financial reimbursement.  If these funds were not coming in to medical schools to offset the costs of training physicians, the opposite dynamic of what you propose would be taking place.  Which it to say many existing medical schools would be closing, quite the opposite of your pie in the sky idea of opening even more of them.

    •  But we do have a shortage of doctors & med schools (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sny, terrypinder

      What's stopping the American kid from becoming a doctor, is not the indian doctor. It's the fact that there isn't enough medical schools in the US, and it is super competitive to get into one.

      •  But the availability of Indian doctors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional

        allows the situation to persist.

        If we had laws FORCING US hiring, they would HAVE to build more med schools. Of course, US kids do go abroad to get training, and then come back.

        But we need to HIRE OUR OWN KIDS, not Indians.

      •  And expensive...n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:18:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  In my kids case (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Omega Man, IT Professional, kurt

      it's all true. State school, undergrad in Genetics, 30K debt, unavailable profs, TA's with little English teaching the class and solely concerned about their own future.  At this point going to grad school would seem like digging a deeper hole.

      •  COMPLAIN to the University president (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional, sentinalnode

        Many university presidents FAVOR foreign students. They PROMOTE hiring the foreign student. At U of I, there is a VP for Foreign Students (this is not a joke).

        And U of I is a Land Grant university. Land Grants Us were founded to train the students of the state, not of China.

        And also tell your senators and representative NOT to pass immigration reform which will double, triple, quadruple the H-1bs and green cards. Get US kids hired first!!

    •  Are TAs such a big deal? (0+ / 0-)

      I am a freshman in college and yes almost all my econ TAs are Asian and they are sometimes hard to understand, but at the end of the day it doesn't make that much of a difference.

  •  one observation I must make . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, The Omega Man, terrypinder


    However, supply and demand applies to the labor market just like any other market
    is just libertarian free-market crapola. People are not toasters or lumps of raw materials or pieces of equipment. They are humans, they can act, and they can fight for their interests. Toasters cannot.

    Wages are not determined by supply and demand--they are determined by the willingness and ability of employees to fight for their wages. When the sitdown strikers at GM doubled their wages, or when the workers in several industries in China have struck and tripled their wages, the supply of labor did not change and neither did the demand for it--the only thing that changed was their willingness and ability to fight for their interests.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:15:05 AM PST

    •  I'm not arguing a free market here (5+ / 0-)

      In fact, I'd say the whole point of this diary is to emphasize how the labor market can be and is manipulated.

      However, you don't have to be a Libertarian wacko to accept that supply and demand pressures are real and substantial forces in the labor market.

      So, no, wages are affected by market forces to an extent. That's actually how unions work, by artificially restricting labor supply (i.e., going on strike) in order to either receive increased compensation or to impose additional costs on the employer (like forcing employers to spend money on job safety measures, etc.)

      •  100% correct (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional, kurt

        Unions work by ARTIFICIALLY restricting labor. That is what a scab is, and why scabs are the enemies of union workers.

        Yet, what are Democrats doing? Promoting immigration reform which will EXPAND the labor pool.

        Are we insane? Who came up with that insane notion?

      •  I'd agree that supply and demand influence (0+ / 0-)

        what demands can be made by either side. For instance, after the black death is when workers started to get more rights: simply because there were less of them, and they could move from one land owner to another without enforceable consequences. This led to, e.g. the Statute of Labourers which tried to limit this effect.

        Again, this is not some kind of physical effect that drives people around like particles. It's a change of situation, and people can react to that situation, or not. Well or poorly. The view of libertarians, which is also the (often unexamined) assumption of much economic theory is essentially fatalistic. In the case of liberts, it usually comes from a desire for a "natural order" or "a place for everyone, and everyone in their place" which is essentially conservative-- it doesn't mean blithe acceptance, rather than anything wrong with the present state is a deviation from "nature". For economists, it's more physics envy, I think. "If you are a good economist, a virtuous economist, you are reborn as a physicist, and if you are an evil, wicked economist, you are reborn as a sociologist." -- Jagdish Bhagwati

    •  You're totally wrong (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IT Professional, Caelian, kurt

      In today's world, the oversupply of workers has led to the commodification of labor. You are not a person with skills. You are a C++ coder or a C# coder or a C coder. You can't be all 3. The term "purple squirrel" is used for ads which set up impossibly selective criteria for folks to fill.

      Commodification of labor is here. And the only time that the use of strikes and other such vehicles is possible is when there is a labor shortage. Which we do not have.

    •  Well... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caelian, mrbond, terrypinder, kurt

      I find a lot of the libertarian crap about supply and demand and how it will naturally regulate everything to everyone's best interest full of crap too.

      However, there occasionally IS such a thing as demand for certain types of labor specialties and the available supply.  Just ask any COBOL programmer who was working in the 1997-2000 era.  A lot of IT specialists were in demand at the time.  This was all driven by the Y2K work and the internet bubble.  I don't know ANY IT person working at the time who doesn't have a store of anecdotes on that.

      On the other hand, fast forward to 2006 and my friend who is a long time US citizen but Indian by birth is asked after his interview if he expects an "American salary" or an "Indian salary".  Among a few corrupt companies, a two-tier salary system got adopted.  Some (not by any means all) H1B visa workers are here via an understanding of mutual exploitation.  The workers get access to decent work to hone their skills at what are still wonderful wages given the exchange rate and employers get lower cost, compliant workers.  I think this pattern is more common for entry level jobs than positions requiring stringent credentials.

      This perspective is IT though and shouldn't be projected upon the entire STEM world.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:16:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And corporations are not toasters, my friend n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Quite the contrary, there is a shortage (7+ / 0-)

    of STEM workers under the age of 40 or willing to work for the same money they made when they were 40.  I've had several interviews go south when they see that I've got more experience than I show on my resume.  Now a days they're looking for workers with less experience (ie. cost less).

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:42:19 AM PST

  •  Here are some articles that may be of interest (17+ / 0-)

    Why are scientists abandoning their research?

    Among the key findings: Nearly half have already abandoned an area of investigation they considered central to their lab’s mission. And more than three-quarters have reduced their recruitment of graduate students and research fellows because of economic pressures.  Basken, Paul, and Paul Voosen. “Strapped Scientists Abandon Research and Students.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
    Take those who have worked under Patrick S. Moore, a professor of microbiology and medical genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. Twenty years ago, Dr. Moore and his team discovered the viral cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma, one of the most common cancers in AIDS patients. More recently, his lab found the viral cause for most Merkel-cell carcinomas, which kill several hundred Americans each year.

    But now the three postdoctoral researchers who led the Merkel-cell discovery and then helped identify a promising possible cure are all unable to find permanent academic jobs, Dr. Moore said. Perhaps they’ll find work in a corporate setting, doing applied research, he said. But they “should be doing exploratory science to find the cause of the next cancer. Basken, Paul, and Paul Voosen. “Strapped Scientists Abandon Research and Students.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

    The STEM crisis is a myth
    Another surprise was the apparent mismatch between earning a STEM degree and having a STEM job. Of the 7.6 million STEM workers counted by the Commerce Department, only 3.3 million possess STEM degrees. Viewed another way, about 15 million U.S. residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline, but three-fourths of them—11.4 million—work outside of STEM.

    The departure of STEM graduates to other fields starts early. In 2008, the NSF surveyed STEM graduates who’d earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 2006 and 2007. It found that 2 out of 10 were already working in non-STEM fields. And 10 years after receiving a STEM degree, 58 percent of STEM graduates had left the field, according to a 2011 study from Georgetown University.

    The takeaway? At least in the United States, you don’t need a STEM degree to get a STEM job, and if you do get a degree, you won’t necessarily work in that field after you graduate. If there is in fact a STEM worker shortage, wouldn’t you expect more people with STEM degrees to be filling those jobs? And if many STEM jobs can be filled by people who don’t have STEM degrees, then why the big push to get more students to pursue STEM?

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:50:35 AM PST

    •  Very helpful! Thank you (4+ / 0-)

      I am surprised to see that the movement of STEM graduates out of their fields is much larger than I expected. (58%!?!)

      •  But where do they go? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IT Professional, kurt

        We have both 1) a supposed need for science workers and 2) a situation in which science workers cannot find jobs.

        What is REALLY REALLY NEEDED by the industrialists is a supply of highly trained people with advanced degrees who will do incredibly complicated and skilled jobs for minimum wage for 80 Hrs/week and will neither want overtime nor require a pension.

        And there will never be enough STEM-SLAVES like that.

    •  Bingo! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My issue is that the STEM education is too focused. These students also need to know their liberal arts.

      •  Some of my friends who left STEM (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yoshimi, dicentra, kurt

        are professional artists today.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:25:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          how many people leave their STEM jobs because they simply don't like the environment of these workplaces.  I worked at a research lab that was almost entirely engineers, still a very male dominated field, and saw many young women who came and found the environment so inhospitable that they left within a few years to pursue teaching, or arts, or other areas of interest.

          •  There is some of that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            (Some of my friends who are artists are male too)

            A significant factor for women is that any time out for childrearing can make it very hard to reenter the STEM workplace. But even there, most of my former-STEM artist friends are child-free.

            I think of the examples I have in mind, that they are all happy in their new work but that they didn't want to leave their trained field.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 03:54:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  C Eng salaries for fresh out of college grads (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are easily $80,000+, upwards of $120,000 in Silicon Valley/SF. And that doesn't count equity grants at public companies. Can you clarify where you get the notion that companies are hiring fresh grads to keep salaries low?

    I guess my point is define low. If a senior engineer makes $160,000, then yes, hiring a fresh grad at $90,000 is keeping things low since it's all relative. But in my experience, fresh grads who go to work at startups and even large companies like Yahoo and Google easily and consistently command around $90–$120k salaries.

    •  The new grad hiring preference in tech isn't new (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IT Professional, FG, kurt

      As far as the preference for fresh grads in engineering fields, I was under the impression that the practice was known to be going on for quite a long time.

      •  But again, you need to define low salary (0+ / 0-)

        The TechCrunch article (3 years old) you cite mentions $60,000 for entry level vs. $150,000 for experience. I agree, that is quite a spread. But when you approach $90–$120,000 starting salaries for entry level employees, which some engineers can now get at startups, is that really something to complain about?

        •  I think we're getting lost in the weeds a bit (3+ / 0-)

          First, it's not about the dollar value of a specific field per se. It's all relative to that field (and the cost of living in that geographic region). The point I was trying to make in my comment is that while you, an engineer can pull down $100k as a starting salary, what happens in 15 years when you find that no one will hire you because a fresh grad will work at that same entry-level salary? "Up or Out" is a cliche for a reason.

          Second, and this has come up a lot today, is that "STEM" is an overly broad construct, and while software engineers in Silicon Valley might be seeing an increase in labor demand, that doesn't necessarily apply to a broad-based increase in STEM field demand.

    •  I'll take a shot at this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrbond, kurt

      Assuming "C Eng" means C programmers or software engineers...

      This specialty probably represents less than 1% of the entire STEM labor "marketplace".  It is not going to work to try to project that one specialty onto all of the STEM world.  The STEM world as defined by the BLS and highlighted in this diary has quite a few job categories named and within each one could find several specialties at work in the real world.  There are hundreds of them.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:48:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Should have been clearer. I mean comp engs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Like PHP, Ruby, all of today's big web languages. The languages startups and companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo want to hire.

        •  I should have thought of that (0+ / 0-)

          I've been in the field awhile and I tend to think of "software engineer" but not "computer engineer".  S.E. may be more old school - I don't know.  

          Even though that is a fairly good slice of computer engineering work, it is still small compared with the entire STEM world, IMHO.  For some of the advanced degree work there are some wild jobs in fields like biomedical eng., industrial eng. or EE.

          It depends on what we see in our own corner of that world.  I've seen some wild stuff in IT in the last 15 years related to salary manipulation in the Chicago area with a few companies.

          I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

          by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:28:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Trade vs. science (7+ / 0-)

    One of the major problems is that industry has shirked its responsibility to train employees. The way its supposed to work is for academia to teach students to be scientists, and industry to train students in the tools and processes used by that particular corporation. Instead, corporations look for people already experienced in the tools and complain that they don't find competent employees.

    I'm not saying that all corporations are like this. But even with a good engineering group willing to hire generic smart scientists, its hard for a smart student to make it past HR without the trade knowledge.

    I'm also not saying that every single unemployed STEM student is worthy of a STEM job. The reality is that some never learned anything other than how to use  google.

    •  Right on the money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IT Professional, liz

      I watched a segment on TV about an industry that needed workers. So they set up a program at a community college, and students came and trained to the EXACT specification of the company.

      And at the end of the segment, this total fucking piece of crap owner said that he was "thinking of hiring" some of the grads. What the fuck!???! These owners have NO civic responsibility nor will they ever acknowledge that they owe society anything. Appalling.

      •  Another example of cost shifting ... (0+ / 0-)

        Local community tax payers pay for all the training,  support the school, have committed to payment of facility bonds over a long period of time, meanwhile the business side works out all the tax breaks, tax holidays and special treatment they can get from the locals, and then condescends to hire a few?

  •  good diary (4+ / 0-)

    If things were so desperate for STEM workers, we would expect wages to grow substantially to chase that "low supply" of STEM skills.

    I am certain also of a couple points too.  

    1)  STEM as you say is a complex area of the labor market and that implies some specialties may indeed be hitting some lack of applicants while other job categories have sufficient applicants.  (For those of us who have seen some salaries drop from some specialties in the last 15 years, this is not a surprise.)

    2)  We all have our local anecdotes from which we should not project to the entire country's STEM labor market.  A lot of that is regionally based.  DC, which has been the hottest area economy outside of ND and TX oil booms is not a good indicator for the whole country.  Or entry level C++ coders are not a good comparison for what is happening to some arcane specialty in industrial engineering or genome data design and processing.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:32:39 AM PST

  •  I do site selection for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, dicentra

    major tech companies and locating the facility close to a  school that specialize in PARTICULAR science and technology is a major driver. That said, I think some of the Community College/Technical School STEM programs are too focused on a particular technology (i.e. - nanotech or semiconductor) which trains students for a technology that could potentially be obsolete in 10 years.

    I think teaching STEM is good but the education needs to be broader with an equal emphasis on the Liberal Arts.


    •  but sadly (0+ / 0-)

      the schools (k-12) are dropping the arts and humanities in favor of STEM subjects precisely because corporations are driving school reform and the push for more STEM graduates.  

      And in colleges, our students are advised to avoid liberal arts and humanities degrees.  Take, for example, the recent comment by Obama about art history majors that got him into trouble.  

  •  Immigration reform would solve H1B problems (0+ / 0-)

    The H1B workers would be allowed to switch jobs, and they would have to be paid higher wages. Companies which hire too many of them would be punished.

    •  The H-1B program should be scrapped (0+ / 0-)

      and companies should stop bypassing the local work force.

      •  So... what if a company wants to hire a foreigner? (0+ / 0-)

        They would have no option of doing so under your plan? No more immigration to the country?

        •  Companies should not control immigration. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Citizens via the government should determine this when it is good for the citizens.

          Family immigration of citizens, and a waiting list for everyone else, and only when there is full employment.

          •  Only family immigration? (0+ / 0-)

            What if someone doesn't have family in the country? The way every other nation does is that family migration is limited to spouses and minor children only, without birthright citizenship. The bulk of immigration takes place due to a worker's skills, whether they apply themselves or are sponsored by an employer or in some cases even a state government. Not the unskilled chain migration the U.S. has.

            Take a look at Australia's system, it seems like an interesting approach:

            Also, don't forget that many multinational companies benefit if they can easily transfer staff from one country to another (this can fall under an L visa in the U.S.).

            •  The bulk of immigration is family based (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              in the U.S.

              If someone does not have family in the U.S. then they should only be allowed the visit as a tourist.  If no American wants to marry you then take the hint. You are not needed by the country.

              •  I don't get this reasoning. (0+ / 0-)

                So people who don't marry at a young age are losers? Are you one of those who think that everyone should get married in their early 20s?

                In a 21st century economy, businesses often need to hire workers without regard to their immigration or marital status. That is why a sensible immigration system would take into account the country's economic needs and ensure that the people who come here will find jobs quickly.

                Family-based chain migration makes no sense, it should be restricted to spouses and minor children only. Currently, it takes often over a decade to immigrate legally thru the family channels, which I find pointless.

  •  Facts vs Anecdotal evidence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, TooFolkGR

    "You show me data that tells me there is no STEM worker shortage. But I hire for a company that can't find STEM workers. I can't tell you the name of the company but all the workers have to do is rent a trailer and drive to the secret location and get a job."

    You say that the STEM worker shortage is fake, but I kind of know this company who can't find STEM workers at any salary / I saw this sad story about a company on FOX news / I heard this tale on the radio / etc.

    I have a framework that tells me that anecdotes are almost always surely wrong.

    •  The absence of evidence in this situation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GOP on LSD

      allows any claim to be made.

      All of the big money is on the side of the INCREASE H-1Bs side.  This includes the IT and tech companies who want cheap labor which is virtually slave labor. It includes immigration attorneys, who would cheerfully stick a knife in their own mother if she had a tech job. It includes the politicians in both parties except for a very few. The good guys include Durbin (sometimes), Sanders, Grassley, Brown, several Republican senators. Schumer is a slime ball who is no friend of the American working professional. Many senators and representatives from CA are totally wrong and paid off by the IT industry on this issue.

      All of the workers are on the other side. Since 1992, there have been hundreds of thousands of Americans who have had to train their H-1B replacement.

      Here's a fun story:

      “Newtown — A shocking display as three American software engineers sat down in the city square doused themselves with gasoline and set themselves on fire. A note left behind stated simply “The US Government has commited genocide against software engineers. They import over 500,000 Indian engineers with fake degrees every year while American software engineers starve in the streets. Indian mafias have taken control of placement agencies and management positions making it impossible for our best and brightest to find jobs. We have lost everything and have no other way to protest this criminal government’s actions that have destroyed the American software profession” Read more.

    •  Agreed... In My Market There Are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      10 available positions available for every qualified java developer.

  •  A couple of observations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dicentra, kurt

    We went through this in Ohio a few years ago when Ted Strickland was governor and he announced plans to push for STEM education. The premise was that graduates left Ohio due to lack of jobs and employers didn't come to Ohio due to a lack of STEM qualified employees.

    I remember back then I was quite vocally critical of Strickland's overall plans and still would be-except that comparted to Kasich of course, Strickland's plans now look great.

    At the time, nobody was really presenting evidence that there was an actual shortage of STEM graduates.

    From a labor market perspective, I think that you can only say there is a shortage if employers are unable to fill jobs at the going wage rate. Of course, this gets us into frictions in labor markets as well. And there are also regional variations.

    Another possibility is to look at numbers of applicants relative to positions.

    If there is really a shortage, then one of two (or both) things should happen.

    Employers should raise the wage and/or hire people who lack the specific qualifications but who are trainable.

    Are either of these happening?

    It may also be that a $100,000 a year job (which is fantastic where I live) is not desirable in other locations. Even then, you might not want to move to my town (not that we have a ton of $100,000 a year jobs). In other words, you have to look at the mobiilty of labor and the regional variations as well.

    More generally, we hear this a lot that employers can't find workers with the skills they want, but what it seems to come down to is that employers don't want to invest in training.

  •  Shortage of American Stem workers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dicentra, sentinalnode, kurt

    What your salary stats fail to account for is that 40-60% of all stem graduates and workers are foreign nationals and that 75-90% of all advanced STEM degrees are for foreign nationals.

    Essentially if we simply closed the H1B program those numbers would spike crazy high.

    Flat out without the H1B the average starting engineer from a good school would be earning ~150k a year.

    The demand is there, just with H1B the demand can be fulfilled and keep labor at cheap at the same time.

    •  Maybe we should build a bigger fence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      around our Universities.  Electrified.  With Crocodiles.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 02:38:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or give our own students a fair shot. (0+ / 0-)

        Im going to go out on a limb and assume you were trying to make a real statement and just not snark.

        1) Foreign nationals often get direct assistance and support to go down the STEM route. As STEM education creates value for their society (unlike some other degrees)

        2) In other nations grades are bought and sold.

        3) Standardize tests from other nations are corrupted as hell.

        4) United States culture is ass backwards and devalues socially those with STEM degrees. Other nations value those individuals socially.

        All those result in U.S citizens getting screwed over in a very competitive educational system that creates significant wealth for those who STEM educated.

        •  Most programs in my field offer affirmative action (0+ / 0-)

          to American grad students. I've seen inferior students get admitted and funded who have no business being in a graduate program just because they have US Citizenship and therefore qualify for government funding. We need more and better students to go into STEM rather than into MBA programs.

          •  The stats dont back up what you are saying. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:


            44 percent of students on F-1 student visas
            were here to study STEM in 2008.
            • 63 percent of foreign-born students in STEM
            fields are in graduate programs.
            • 59 percent of PhD recipients in engineering
            fields in 2009 were foreign-born

            Also FYI educational programs prefer foreign students who pay cash because U.S. students often require financial aid/scholarships. Kinda blows a hole in into your pro American affirmative action thesis.

            "We need more and better students to go into STEM rather than into MBA programs."

            The quickest and most effective way to get American's into the STEM field is to reduce the H1B Program.

            Until than, American's of talent will rightfully seek employment in other fields were they can get paid better, and respected more.

  •  Conflating salaries with supply (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sentinalnode, kalmoth

    I am no fan of the H1b - I think it is used precisely as an excuse for companies to avoid in-house training.

    However, I have seen nothing, in Pharma at least, to indicate that we are lacking appropriately educated people.  What I like is the newest FDA guidance on process validation which is meant to get serious about real statistical process control.  Good opportunities for those educated in statistics and quality engineering.  But, we need far fewer MBAs who are a waste of oxygen.

    Education in a STEM field only provides an indication that one is trainable and it is disingenuous for employers to claim that they want somebody trained in STEM for a very, very, narrow application.  For instance, programming a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) (e.g. Allen Bradley or Siemens) in either the DOS interface or boolean relay logic is easily picked up and one does not need specific training to become proficient.  The same with use in manufacturing of Statistical DOE (Design of Experiments) and quality engineering (where the craptastic "6-sigma" has led to an influx of practitioners actually ignorant in applied stats and quantitative measurement of output quality).

    What I worry more is our societal attitudes that value celebrity and entertainment and do not value education in the sciences.  That WILL have an effect on educational choices, especially for disciplines that take devoted work and practice to master.  Case in point is how people allow ignorance to suppress the teaching of evolution or think that science denialism is merely an opinion equal to actual knowledge.

    •  Not true in my field (biostatistics) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      which requires an advanced degree. Without the H1B program you can probably shut down most medical research as there will be nobody to analyze your data.

      Trouble is, there aren't enough statistics and biostatistics graduate programs and the ones that exist are populated almost entirely with international students. Without the H1B program they return home to their native countries. With the H1B program they get jobs and get sponsored for Green Cards and become Americans. Bright Americans want to get MDs, JDs, and MBAs.

      •  I beg to disagree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As one who had contributed to the now ongoing revision of ISO 11137 for the statistics of dosimetry and can program SAS; while biostatistics may be a study for an advanced degree, the actual applications in use are rather mundane.  In doing QA reviews of analysis by biostatisticians during IND I've seen such common errors as confusing the deviation for a population with the deviation of the mean, failure to correct for the uncertainty of the deviation, and using illegitimate operations in canned programs such as non-orthoganal collapse of a factorial matrix.  All of those lead to errors in significance testing.

        What you cite is precisely what I am talking about - using the H1b process to avoid specific in-house training of a population generally educated in math and science (and applied stats) and demonstrably trainable.  A credentials race rather than an actual lack of supply.

        But you point to a larger problem.  In our current society which rewards entertainment, celebrity, and myopic finance, who wants to spend the extended time educating oneself in a demanding field?  And in highly experimentally driven sciences like many fields in Biology, proficiency at design and conduct of experiments only starts when one receives a doctorate.

        •  Not possible to train in-house (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          P E Outlier

          Most Americans have no clue regarding applied statistics. And even having had a typically poorly taught statistics course does not help determine what confounders one needs to include in an analysis. The cookie cutter methods one tends to learn in masters degree programs without research requirements don't add much to this. Our best masters degreed statisticians have doctorates in other fields.

          •  Most Americans don't understand uncertainty (0+ / 0-)

            What I really enjoyed in the stats education I have pursued and through my self-education is learning how to understand, control, and use uncertainty so that one may construct robust experimental designs or data analysis.  I do not know if that is the key to understanding statistical application, but it seemed that way to me.  

            Understanding what confounders are needed to include in an analysis means that one also must have some basic understanding of a model's fundamental science.  Do you think that people with that big hammer of cookie cutter methods try for such a fundamental understanding?

            I'm too stupid to remember cookie cutter algorithms.  Approaching a process or treatment to model or analyze I need to derive the application, sometimes iteratively, until as much error as possible is removed.

            I've tried the patience of many academic statisticians but was intent on excelling at intelligent application of what I did learn.

  •   Long Term Unemployed Advanced Degree STEM (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrbond, kurt

    That's where the real pain is - once someone has an advanced degree and is over 50, they are essentially untouchable.  This is supposed to be the peak earning years after 20 years of salary sacrifice, and people are finding themselves with no income.  It's nearly impossible to get a lower rung job.  

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 04:24:39 PM PST

    •  That happened to my cousin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers, kurt

      permanently unemployable at age 59 despite 40 years of experience.

      I hope that doesn't happen to me. (I'm 56.)

      •  Yep, Can't Even Get A R&D Greenhouse Job (0+ / 0-)

        Hey good luck when the alarms go off on your growth chambers on Saturday night  but your Millennial tech is at a rave!

        I used to fantasize that industry would get a clue as to why their clinical trials and tissue repositories and data repositories kept going tits up.  Not any more.

        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

        by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:48:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Long Term Unemployment In Pharmaceutical Industry (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrbond, charliehall2, kurt

    I know this will come as a shock to the folks here who think industry scientists are evil masterminds....

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 04:26:48 PM PST

  •  You're dead on, MrBond (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrbond, kurt

    This is a game that goes back into the 1980s.  Native STEM workers are relatively expensive. It is in the employers' interest to suppress wages. The easiest way to do that is to offshore and to import foreign workers. And the easiest way to generate public pressure for that is to lie about the availability of native workers.

    Now, if it were a matter of just bringing in the best scientists, I'd say "fine." We got Europe's best scientists, including Albert Einstein, because of a hostile work environment in Europe in the 1930s and early 40s. It was a good thing to bring them in, even though it might have (slightly) depressed American wages and opportunity.

    But this is not what employers are after. They want people who will shut up and not report unethical and illegal acts by employers, or resist when employers impose dangerous or exhausting conditions. They want people who will slave away for below-market rates and be grateful for it. I know, because I have heard this sentiment from the lips of some very senior people.  

    And the d--ndest thing is that Democratic Senators are in on this crooked system. I had a talk with a senior Senate Democratic staffer some years ago. He told me that the Senators had no idea there was gambling going on in Rick's casino (i.e., that employers were using false pretenses, even breaking the law to hire foreigners). There is no way they could not know what suffering they are imposing on native STEM workers or what havoc they are wreaking with ethics in high-tech industries. Some of the strongest advocates of unlimited visas for STEM workers are Democratic Senators.

    •  Also Employees To Have Se With (0+ / 0-)

      You want them young, firm, perky, and unaware of employment law.

      But this is not what employers are after. They want people who will shut up and not report unethical and illegal acts by employers, or resist when employers impose dangerous or exhausting conditions. They want people who will slave away for below-market rates and be grateful for it. I know, because I have heard this sentiment from the lips of some very senior people.  
      There is a ton of truth in that because once people are on a roll, they are likely to spew idea after idea that are all illegal and eventual racketeering.  A senior person will say "Hey do whatever you want, but don't expect me to go to jail."

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:10:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How Bad Is It? Temp Project Managers (0+ / 0-)

    Notice how companies are advertising for experienced, certified PMs for one year contracts, often at ridiculously low salaries?

    Even if the salaries were OK, the developers know they can flip off the PM for a year and then he'll be gone, and probably be made the scape goat.  Making a PM a temp is like gouging out the eyes of a pilot.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 06:13:48 PM PST

  •  There is a shortage in my field (biostatistics) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P E Outlier, kalmoth

    It has been over a decade since we have been able to hire a US born faculty member, and even she was the child of immigrants.

    •  And if you have an advanced degree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in biostatistics, send me your resume. We are hiring.

    •  I think you are confounding . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      . . . credentials with education and experience.  Merely having the credentials means that one is trainable, not that one will be successful in academics, research or industry.

      Feeding a self-serving credentials race is part of a problem that poses higher education as a "consumer choice" for what becomes mere trade school training.  It creates the dangerous mindset that the cost of highly specific training for employer demand should be socialialized.

      A myopic reliance on credentials alone is part of the problem, not part of the solution and I suggest you should rethink your position.

      Would your seeking a credentialed person in biostatistics eliminate a person like me who has, from the basis of an advanced degree in molecular genentics and cell biology; been published with works on phage lambda, mammary gland carcinogenesis and process design, trained in quality engineering, process development and biostatistics with concentration on DOE, holding patents for radiopharmaceutical process design?  If one does not have narrow credentials then one is useless, right?

      Thank goodness I'm retired otherwise I guess under your criterion I would not have been able to contribute anything.

      •  Credentials not narrow (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        P E Outlier

        Can you explain the difference between confounding and mediation? Can you explain the difference between control for confounding by matching vs. inclusion of covariates in multivariate analyses? Can you explain how you can get attributable risk from case control studies? Can you explain why it is possible to get both synergistic and antagonistic interaction from the same data depending on whether you model the interaction on a multiplicative or an additive scale.

        If the answer is yes to questions like these, we would consider you! But the fact is that most basic research scientists don't have a clue about epidemiologic study design. I can't count the number of bad genetics studies that have failed to be replicated because of design flaws. Unfortunately many statistics and biostatistics masters programs teach cookiecutter methods and students do not get an understanding of these issues. But some students do. And it is very, very rare for non-biostatisticians other than epidemiologists to understand these issues.

        •  I can answer some of that. (0+ / 0-)

          High dimensional X treatments are not limited to multivariate analysis, but also to any design with large numbers of IV's where sampling is constrained or expensive, such as Plackett-Burman factorial designs for multi-step processes .  Conditioning on all covariates is limited until one can collapse the design by eliminating IVs, usually done by buying more data to increase power in your partitioning of variance.  But, in the case of drug testing or epidemiological data, I gather that matching depends on experimental context.  When the context allows, then one may find a group of non-participants/non-treatment that are identical to the treated group in all relevant pre-treatment characteristics.  Ah, but then for high dimensional treatments why not use balancing scores as suggested by Rosenbaum and Rubin to make the conditional distribution of a response independent of assignment into treatment?

          I have never had the pleasure to learn techniques of risk assessment from case control studies.

          While I do not know enough for determining significance for synergestic or antagonistic effects, whether one models interactions additively or multiplicatively has a significant impact upon estimates of variance.  When additive and independent, then variance is simply additive.  But with the product of variables, then variance (in the case of two IV's) becomes E(X-squared*Y-squared) - E(XY)-squared.

          And, I have to agree with you about most basic researchers.  My start in statistics came about early in my career when I needed to convince somebody that use of the poisson was not because one was dealing with rare interactions but because of its estimation when sampling a large fraction of a population.  But then I diverged when I found that the use of parametric and non-parametric statistical intervals allowed me to discern more of what was happening experimentally than simple estimates, and then that led to . . . . I think you know how that goes.

          I have also had an antipathy for cookie cutter methods, even at basic levels of analysis, and before I let my reports at a canned stats program I made certain that they could set up designs and analysis without the programs first.  Some, like Statistica, allow illegal operations.

          But right now, my biology has gotten back to basics - insect taxonomy - helping out the local Conservation District with measures of stream quality.

          But I still think that employers are exceptionally poor at using talent and training and substitute credentials instead.

  •  10 years of zero income growth, yeah normal. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrbond, kurt

    Wages are stagnant and the supply of domestic STEM workers is strong. The bullshit over needing to import more due to a "shortage" is total propaganda by the industries who want to keep labor costs from rising ... and the political minions they employ.

    The clock is ticking, how long are people going to sit around sliding into poverty and starvation before they get pissed and put and end to the nonsense?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site