9 responses to “Imaginary STEM labor shortage”

  1. Dan

    As an engineering graduate, that is not currently working as an engineer but looking, it is very frustrating to hear talk of a ‘labor shortage’ in the news. For one example: I have was told that I’d be perfect for a job, except I didn’t have enough experience for it. It was an entry-level position that in the synopsis said you didn’t need to have experience to be considered. The company ended up not hiring anyone for the position and it was posted a week later on job boards. They said they needed the position filled soon, but they’d rather not hire someone than train them. Other jobs I have seen posted on job boards for a year straight. The same exact job in the same exact company re-posted every month or so. Are you telling me a big company (Goodrich in this case) can’t find anyone qualified for an entry-level position in San Diego? I’ve applied multiple times to this job, even telling them I wouldn’t need relocation help, and still nothing. And, yes, I am qualified for the position according to the criteria they posted.

    Sorry for the mini-rant, but like I said it is frustrating to hear companies talk about a labor shortage when there are plenty of young STEM graduates that would do almost anything to get a job at the moment.

  2. Two Quick Tidbits « Design. Build. Play.

    […] Cherish wrote an excellent piece over at Engineer Blogs today about the imaginary STEM labor shortage and how companies are complaining about the lack of qualified applicants because they are too […]

  3. Miss MSE

    When Mr. ME was searching for a job after I knew where I was going to graduate school, I was appalled by how many job posting were “Entry level: minimum 5 years of experience”. There were also many postings with “Only candidates with 3 years of experience in [software] will be considered”, but for very specific software packages only used by a handful of companies, and too expensive for universities.

    I know too many competent but unemployed engineers completely willing to relocate *anywhere* to believe in the labor shortage. I also know enough scientific and technical communications majors looking for jobs to know that there are people out there to help put together training programs.

  4. Today’s EngineerBlogs post « FCIWYPSC

    […] engineerblogs.org. trackback In case you haven’t been over there, I posted today about the Imaginary STEM labor shortage at EngineerBlogs. Share this:ShareTwitterRedditFacebookLinkedInStumbleUponPrintEmailDiggLike […]

  5. Pramod

    I don’t agree with you about this. In my experience as an interviewer for two big technology companies, we were always looking for general background knowledge, not a specific set of tools.

    We did expect candidates to have done some work in a similar area before – but I thought this was perfectly reasonable. If you’re hiring computer architects, it’s reasonable to expect that the interviewee has *at least* spent a few months working on a course project or something like that was closely related to modern computer architectures. In fact, we even relaxed this requirement in one case when we had a really good candidate show up with no experience in this field.

    I do agree that the companies may be playing games to try and get the H1B limits increased, but I doubt this has anything to do with wages. The simple fact is that the US is not producing enough competent engineers. “Fixing” higher education to produce enough engineers is a hard problem. In the meantime, the government has a hard choice – don’t increase the H1B cap and watch jobs go overseas or increase the cap and deal with all the political problems that will ensue.

  6. ChrisW

    I think what I find oddest about this situation is companies that are willing to leave positions unfilled if exactly the right person doesn’t come along… Has making money stopped being an incentive in the current economic chaos?

  7. holly

    I work with many H1B’s and they are making market wages. My boss told me that. So, if that’s the case, where is the savings in hiring them?

  8. Weekend Journal -- Decent Timing | Engineer Blogs

    […] time: I am lucky to be a capable, young electrical engineer, when there are many complaints about not being able to find the right STEM workers (real or not). The fact that I could move jobs relatively easily, even in a rough economy such as […]

  9. Scott

    From the little I know about H1B visas the biggest problem I’ve had with them is the lock that the sponsoring company has on the visa holder. Once someone comes over here and discovers that their salary isn’t nearly as impressive as it seemed from afar, there’s not a lot they can do. If they lose their job they have to scramble to find a new sponsor (lots of luck) or go back home.

    I’ve always thought that H1B visas should be portable — usable for any job, any company, anywhere in the US, for a fixed period of time. If a company really feels that their best interests are served by hiring from abroad then they have to accept that that person isn’t indentured to them and is free to take a better offer anywhere else at any time. That would mean that they’d have to pay market rates (or higher!) to bring someone in from abroad.