Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Corporate Recruiters Insist There Really Is a STEM Worker Shortage - IEEE Spectrum

Corporate Recruiters Insist There Really Is a STEM Worker Shortage - IEEE Spectrum:
Or I would change the title to editors at IEEE Spectrum insist that STEM worker shortage is a myth.

It is supply and demand. At the equilibrium price, supply equals demand, thus no shortage. The problem is that, employers would always prefer a lower price than whatever they are paying, so there is always a shortage of workers willing to work at lower wage. At the same time,  the workers want higher salary, there is always no shortage of workers, but shortage of satisfactory jobs.

Perceptions! IEEE editors are right in saying that shortage is a perception of the employers, and they want more STEM workers to achieve lower wages. That is statement is always true.

Public policy should be based more on facts than perceptions of either employers or workers alone.

The author asks: "how much the recruiters were willing to offer in terms of salaries and benefits to those oh-so-hard-to-find STEM workers." His suggestion seems to be pushing the price higher, you get higher supply of STEM workers. But he seems to forget the simple econ101, high price also lead to lower "shortage" in another way, at the price of fewer jobs employers want to fill.

For editors at IEEE who likes higher wage and "job security", creating a real shortage of STME workers is the sure way to achieve it. Is that good public policy?

In the time of globalization, the editors at IEEE still define the job market as American job market. Hiring "foreign" workers when there are Americans unemployed is almost a crime. The truth is the job/labor market for high skill workers is easily portable. You can move the jobs to oversea, or take the workers to America. If the company does not do it, some smart employees would outsource his own job to overseas and pocket the difference.

Sorry, IEEE, foreign high skill workers are taking American jobs away. No going back. More accurately, there is no more American high skill job market any more. There is only one high skill job market. Google and Microsoft have research centers in China and India to attract the best and brightest. Infosys and others set up sweatshops for lower "high"-skill workers to take some traditional white-collar jobs.

Less supply of American STEM students won't give the benefit IEEE editors want. India and China alone can simply flood the market, which they are doing. More importantly, when there is no enough talent pool in America, it may push the price higher in short-term, but the R&D infrastructure will further move outside, which lower the opening in America even further, and there goes the competitive edge of America as a nation.

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