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Sun May 26, 2013, 04:58 AM

Economists say we are producing more STEM graduates than we have jobs for

http://www.dcvelocity.com/articles/20130507-the-stem-debate/

Yet a number of economists now argue that while many employers see a dearth of STEM professionals, the nation actually doesn't have enough jobs for the graduates we are producing. Paul Beaudry, an economist from the University of British Columbia, argued in a paper he and colleagues published in January that the demand for skilled workers in the U.S. began to decline in about the year 2000—not coincidentally at the time of the big dot-com bust.

Why the contradiction? If Beaudry and his co-authors are correct, the decline has been hidden from view by the peculiar way it has played out. In their paper, "The great reversal in the demand for skill and cognitive tasks," they wrote, "In response to this demand reversal, high-skilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder and have begun to perform jobs traditionally performed by lower-skilled workers. This de-skilling process, in turn, results in high-skilled workers' pushing low-skilled workers even further down the occupational ladder and, to some degree, out of the labor force all together." Or, as he recently said during an interview on the superb radio program Marketplace, "I wouldn't want to exaggerate—it's not like everyone is getting a barista job, but that's exactly the feeling. It's kind of like this pushing down." So the lack of good jobs for the mostly highly trained STEM professionals plays out in under- or unemployment for those with the fewest skills.

This is important to material handling, logistics, and supply chain management. Jobs in these professions are becoming increasingly technical, and the tools that support them are becoming increasingly complex. If the next generation of potential STEM graduates perceives—accurately or not—that job prospects in those areas aren't promising and turn to management consulting or, heaven forfend, Wall Street, we have a problem.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Economists say we are producing more STEM graduates than we have jobs for (Original post)
eridani May 2013 OP
Warren DeMontague May 2013 #1
defacto7 May 2013 #8
Warren DeMontague May 2013 #10
onpatrol98 May 2013 #2
Thor_MN May 2013 #3
Yo_Mama May 2013 #12
northoftheborder May 2013 #4
EvolveOrConvolve May 2013 #5
EvolveOrConvolve May 2013 #6
Igel May 2013 #7
defacto7 May 2013 #9
goldent May 2013 #11
Yo_Mama May 2013 #13

Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 05:03 AM

1. Hmmm. If only there were some peaceful, technology-oriented, species-improving, knowlege-seeking,

Government Agency that could benefit from increased funding and provide fulfilling careers in Math and Science, and in the process provide returns far beyond the initial investment...

Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmmm.





This is the DU member formerly known as Warren DeMontague.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Mon May 27, 2013, 01:11 AM

8. Oh man, get me on that boat!

I want that ride!

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #8)

Mon May 27, 2013, 03:38 AM

10. Is that a cool shot, or what?

Me, too.
This is the DU member formerly known as Warren DeMontague.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 08:14 AM

2. Economists???

The people who didn't see the crash coming. Who now say the economy is fine? If it's an economist who predicted the crash AND DID NOT support NAFTA, I'm listening. Otherwise, not so much...

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 08:53 AM

3. Aaaaannd we needed to increase H1b visas why????

 

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #3)

Mon May 27, 2013, 02:19 PM

12. In order to drive down wages

I know of quite a few recent STEM grads who have gone overseas for jobs because they couldn't find ones here.

The whole H1B thing should be stopped. It is abusive. Huge companies refuse to hire anyone not an H1B.

Instead we should change it to standard immigration - if high-skilled people want to come, then fine.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 09:12 AM

4. What does STEM stand for?

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #4)

Sun May 26, 2013, 09:21 AM

5. I think

it's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 09:35 AM

6. I work for a high tech company, and there are a TON of jobs we can't fill

The problem isn't a lack of candidates, it's a lack of qualified candidates. And the qualified candidates we do get are usually Indian, Chinese, Korean, or from another Asian country, and those candidates often have language barrier problems that make them unfit for the jobs for which they apply.

Unfortunately, education in the U.S. often doesn't prepare workers for the types of STEM jobs that are out there. We have Bachelor or Masters degree holders that are completely inept at performing the most basic engineering skills. We have workers with multiple Doctorates who have no business sense at all, and want to spend most of their time in a lab "tinkering". These people may be "highly trained", but they're trained in the wrong areas (usually full of theory and lacking in any practical application of the theory).

The company I work for made a conscious decision to remove the education requirements, and a flood of GOOD candidates came in. Workers with lots of real-world experience and little formal education. We've experienced a renaissance and are profitable again largely because the quality of our product has increased sharply.

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Response to EvolveOrConvolve (Reply #6)

Sun May 26, 2013, 12:05 PM

7. And that's the problem with this kind of summary report on a study.

It hides all the details that falsify the conclusion that people are trying to arrive at.

So we don't (present tense) have enough (pre-existing) jobs for all the (current set of) STEM graduates (at any level of expertise).

That does not mean that we will not have enough jobs, that we need to count on just pre-existing jobs, that the current set of STEM graduates are a match in terms of fields for the openings that do exist, or that they're training to the right level of expertise for the current jobs.

In fact, part of the silence involves the fact that start-ups may have a high fail rate, but have dropped off greatly in the last decade *and* have traditionally accounted for a lot of new jobs. But I guess we can have people engaging in high-tech start ups with no technical expertise.

We don't need low-level STEM graduates because, well, we need more high level ones. Somehow they jump from high school to grad school with nothing in between.

We don't need to worry about distribution of graduates in STEM fields because, well, all that sciency-tech stuff is all created equal. Just some funny symbols and a lot of college loans. Heck, just hire a Hittite scholar or Egyptologist--college loans *and* funny symbols. And that really cutting-edge base-60 arithmetic or African-centric math.

I've talked to too many people connected with tech fields who complain they can't get qualified engineers or specialists. Yeah, they're Americans with degrees, but they're short on being able to teach themselves, to show initiative or flexibility, to work independently, or to focus on their jobs instead of their joys. They often want to advance in their careers instead of making advances in their field.

In short, they're what schools and parents have produced as adults in the last 5-10 years.

And we're proud to say that they overwhelming voted for our guy?

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Response to Igel (Reply #7)

Mon May 27, 2013, 01:12 AM

9. Kickin your comment.

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Response to Igel (Reply #7)

Mon May 27, 2013, 10:05 AM

11. "In short, they're what schools and parents have produced as adults in the last 5-10 years. "

I'm not sure what you mean. I don't see a big difference between today's STEM graduates and those of 20 years ago. I've noticed engineering schools have tended to have more undergraduate design projects, and students (maybe) tend to have a little more coop/intern experience. Otherwise it is the same old mix of those who want to just work on cool projects, those who want to the be the next Steve Jobs, those who want to climb the corporate ladder, and those who just want a paycheck. Some graduates come out with a good intuitive business sense and initiative (always valuable whatever your role) while others seem oblivious and need clear assignments and direction.

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Response to EvolveOrConvolve (Reply #6)

Mon May 27, 2013, 02:21 PM

13. Well, speaking as a STEM myself

Getting that degree can't help you if you don't get the practical job experience also.

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