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Tuesday: There’s a shortage of scientists and engineers? Are you crazy??

Obama is pushing for education for high-tech jobs at a new jobs summit:

Cree and other businesses in the innovation hub of Research Triangle Park have a rich academic base to draw from for recruits with the University of North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State University — the alma mater of Cree’s founders — so nearby, Obama said. As a whole, however, the country is not producing enough talent to fill the high-tech and highly skilled jobs that are available today. “Right now, there are more than four job-seekers for every job opening in America,” Obama said. “But when it comes to science and high-tech fields, the opposite is true. The businesses represented here tell me they’re having a hard time finding high-skilled workers to fill their job openings.”

Is this man *completely* out of touch??  It’s like a George Bush I trip to the supermarket where they have those scanner thingies.  If Research Triangle is having a hard time filling positions, I certainly haven’t heard about it.  Everyone I know, including myself, has either lost their job or is about to lose their job.  There are thousands of well trained, well educated, high-tech professional scientists and engineers out of work right now who could easily relocate.  Their jobs are going to China.  What do companies want more of them for?  They don’t seem willing to retain and pay the ones they already have.

Where has Obama been?

Amgen announces layoffs in Boulder, Colorado

Pfizer lays off 19,000 after merger with Wyeth

Astra-Zeneca plans to layoff 15,000 through 2013

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  How much more education do you want us to get?  We’re already overeducated.  We’re not allowed to get stale in this business.  And the cuts are not all in sales.  Now, they’re getting to the bone with thousands of high-tech jobs relocating to India and China.  What’s weird about that is that not even China and India with their billions of people have enough high-tech workers to do high-tech research but that isn’t stopping companies from sending our jobs there.  The bottom line is the bottom line.

Want to know where a scientist can make a decent living and do research and where their skills and educations will be valued and rewarded and their jobs protected?  Try countries where the government is willing to intervene or where labor unions are strong.  Like Germany and France.

But don’t roll that old crap about how there aren’t enough of us to those of us in the trenches.  The last thing we need are more unpaid scientists on the job market.

36 Responses

  1. BO has a much more intimate knowledge of his golf courses than he does his constituents lives, i.e. job, education, skill. Just because he’s been the prez for a while, doesn’t mean he’s bought a clue.

  2. “Is this man *completely* out of touch??”

    No. Obama’s owners want DISemployment high, so they can arbitrage the price for labor for effectively. Obama is completely in touch with people who matter. Unfortunately for us all, America’s scientists, and other members of the working class, don’t matter.

    • You are so very, painfully, correct about that.

    • Lambert just saw your front page “not invested in it” yep. So? Now what? So sad to have been Dems post Hillary. A frind who is in the know politically told me Hillary 2016 will be the call? RD once said that, too. Will there still be a country?

      hugs all of you…

  3. Maybe it has something to do with pushing more useless student loans on young people too? I heard him say that and almost dropped a plate. Once he finds a line he likes, he really sticks with it. No matter how silly.

    (I’m still fighting the bronchitis and the drugs make me wacky so I’m afraid to say more)

    • KB I hate to laugh here, but — omg. You are so to the point. RD? It’s only about his brand, no? I hear you — I’m so sorry. I am. Each day we learn more about our gen don’t we? Like the Weiner dude, no?

      It’s all a joke at this point — these politicians

  4. It was just a talking point, nothing of consequence was even intended. !0,000 jobs per year is what? -not even a piss in the ocean. I never thought I would hate a Democrat, but I do now.

    I don’t even give a crap if some ignorant Repuke wins next year, it would definitely be worse than what we have now, but what we have now is so bad I’ve just given up on the idea that the US will ever be a great country again. Better to get our demise over quick, than draw it out, forever hoping that this Democrat would be better.

  5. Obama is an upper class snob with all the trimmings: condescencion, a “knowledge” that those outside his group are inferior and don’t count, snide humor aimed always at his lessers. sexism, black racism (when convenient), an absolute sense of entitlement, and reliance on social connections, social skills, and physical appearance. He’s not fit to push FDR’s wheel chair.

    Even beyond what he has no curiosity about (like regular super markets, regular jobs, the world of the unconnected) there is a whole series of things that he knows that are patently false: like FDR allegedly extending the Depression by not following Herbert Hoover’s plan. He may be delusional but his delusion is in line with the interests of the elite so it is covered up and lied about.

    Obama is more than an owned tool. He is someone who has experienced the in life after five years of scrapping by while overseas with mom. It is Scarlett O’Hara time. He will lie, steal, cheat or do anything but “i’ll never be hungry again.” Both Obama and Scarlett have the bodies to prove it.

    • Amen, brother!

    • He’s a snob but I’d not call him an upper class snob – he doesn’t even know how to dress properly

    • Madelyn Dunham’s checkbook was ALWAYS open for him and his mom, employed by the State Department, living in a gated community even in Jakarta, and the only “scrap” was his resentment that in his preppy Hawaiian school, some families were richer than his, which explains his resentment of white folks…not rich enough.

  6. Obama’s advisor is Immelt, who I have heard has a fondness for cheap, overseas labor. ya’ know, I don’t think that works with STEM jobs. If these jobs were easy, everyone would be doing them. Having a lot of math and science skills does not necessarily make you a good researcher. They’re necessary but not sufficient.
    Business people are fooling themselves if they think otherwise.

  7. The outsourcing of programmers was done like crazy in the 90’s and now it is still done but they are staffing with “any warm body” because supply doesn’t meet demand.

    Considering how long research takes, the problems of staffing with “any warm body” will take years to surface.

    You always get what you pay for – always.

    I think Lambert is right, this is a plan to create false competition between US workers and workers in 3rd world countries. When we are willing to take a highly skilled job for peanuts with no fringe, the work will be complete.

    IT still has outsourced work but nobody expects to get miracles from it anymore. The management knows the resume says they can do X, but probably they just read about it in a magazine. They also know the “senior” level worker from overseas will perform much like entry level here.

    • Exactly and well said….when it doesn’t work because as you say

      You always get what you pay for – always.

      they don’t think the concept is wrong and rethink …they come up the latest cheap labor hot spot…which I believe is eastern Europe and run after it and say this time it will work! . The last thing they think about it what is actually produced …that’s in their wake and some grunt’s responsibility

  8. Wherever Steven Jobs gets his health care ( just as an example) research is fully funded and that’s all that matters to them….here , out side that magic circle, they don’t care and want everyone who they allow to work, to work for 3rd world wages…so I believe Obama means there is a shortage of scientists and engineers….who will work for 3rd world wages. But also what he’s saying reminds me of the current ” get a online soap box decree and get a better job! ” scam. What you get is thousands in debt @ 30% and still no job…. as you say, the idea we don’t have enough of such people already is patently false…but such sayings has been used for years already to ease visa restrictions for scientists and engineers to come here who will work for less ….


  10. I don’t know about Pharma, but there is definitely a shortage of skilled Computer programmers in RTP, NC. Positions go unfilled for a long time, and it is easy to find a position if you are qualified.

    • You have to wonder if the constant outsourcing of the last decade has had an effect on the number of students who want to pursue comp sci and programming as a career. That’s what’s going to happen in the chemistry area. When good, highly competent, experienced chemists can’t get jobs here, people will stop going into chemistry. You can’t force people to like chemistry just because there is an upcoming labor shortage. People remember how you treated the last bunch of chemists. It ain’t pretty.

    • Not rocket science… why go into computer science when your job category has been outsourced from within and without? A cheap, docile workforce is being created in less developed countries by universities that tie into the needs of American corporations. Local talent that might be better devoted to introducing flush toilets and providing clean water at home than being an indentured servant in the U.S. The CEOs tell our Congresswoman that they need more H1B visa workers as they write her a check for her next campaign. After years of this, wonder why a decent country couldn’t figure out how to train and hire its own citizens? Look to the Indian model of training for a clue. I bet students don’t have to take big loans. The end product is adequate with high self-esteem. Indian men have taken over the role that American women used to have… It was a field that needed trained programmers so women weren’t discriminated against.

      I guess there’s always nursing, if one can compete with the Phillipinas.

      • Indian schools are all private. For the most part only kids from the higher castes get to go. I think they do better than they used to about allowing kids from lower castes a chance if they are REALLY smart and somebody notices. I’ve worked with many people on H1Bs and some with Green Cards, they are nice people and always kind enough to talk about what life is like back home.

        I don’t know where the article is anymore, but there was a documentary or article on computer science degrees from Indian schools. Some students attend schools where they can’t afford real computers, so they study manuals and take tests.

        It is just really different and it seems like the directors/executives who decide to take this leap don’t understand what they are dealing with (nor do they care since they won’t have to do it.)

        I believe the needs are great enough to use talent from all over the world but I object to American companies enjoying the benefits of our taxes, not paying thier fair share and then sending work off shore all the while claiming there isn’t the right kind of talent here. That is complete bullshit and I hate bullshit.

        American companies should just call it like it is: “We don’t care about the product because we are only here for the short-term gain. We don’t care about employees because they are a pain in the ass and cost money, taking a bite out of that short-term gain. All we need to do is run the company PR machine long enough to drive up the share price, collect some tasty bonuses and hang out with all the important people before we change jobs to another company and start again.”

        It would be refreshing if they were just honest.

        • Yes, it would be great to have superb talent come from anywhere, but what I see at a lot of high-tech companies where I have worked over past decades in Silly Valley is imported mediocracy. As coding became modularized, less talent needed.

          But in general, the imported talent is not at the standard of the indigenous tech worker who happened to live long enough to get beyond a starting salary. Time to dump him when his kids are probably entering college. There must be profits.

          The fact that there are cultural differences and that the American mentality is often geared towards an efficiency that is not common in all countries adds overhead. But then one gets what one pays for (and the government a people deserves).

          A smarter country could train the workers it needs, but if the goal is a race to the bottom in terms of salaries, such would not be necessary. I do wonder who is going to be buying the burgers on Burger Doodle Row and Made-in-China disposable products at the Big Box.

          • As programming became modularized… but it didn’t really. If anything, it is more complex and less procedural than it once was.

            My experience with “imported talent” is just like yours. I’ve worked with a couple people who were really sharp but mostly I thought the resumes were WAY over sold.

  11. Companies just don’t see employees as resources anymore. It’s getting closer to seeing them as tools or something. Of course, tools require investment as well, unlike the equipment that’s falling apart where I work. The response becomes two-fold. Somehow, $80,000 is a lot of money, despite the personal investment many scientists make in their own education, when they can get engineers in other places for much less. Either they want an employee who did the exact same job for a competitor for that much, or they want someone for much less even if they have the ability to learn the specific job offered.

    This isn’t even the free market. It’s a concerted attempt to make sure even professionals will work for nothing just to get a job. At the other end, the board is made up of MBA and lawyers, all of whom hire other MBAs and lawyers at much higher salaries because they see themselves in those employees. Otherwise, you’re just a tool to those tools.

    • Not lawyers. Their jobs are now outsourced to India. When we start getting our MBA’s and CEO’s from there, the process will be complete.


    • A colleague who works at an aerospace company was telling me that her new boss
      told her that he couldn’t understand why her job could not be done by someone
      without an advanced degree. The moron MBA boss couldn’t distinguish between someone who has a few patents and someone who just took a
      few undergraduate courses in the field. So yes, its all about de-professionalizing the workforce.

  12. “It’s a concerted attempt to make sure even professionals will work for nothing just to get a job. At the other end, the board is made up of MBA and lawyers, all of whom hire other MBAs and lawyers at much higher salaries because they see themselves in those employees.”

    Riverdaughter’s posts are on fire with this latest serious of posts, and you commenters are also smoking!

  13. Undoubtedly, Obama was quoted out of context. I imagine the full quote was The reason the tech industries here are hiring overseas is because …. “”they can’t find enough qualified people here”” …… who are willing to work at third world wages, with no benefits or security, and expect no loyalty in return for being available on demand twenty four hours a day three hundred and sixty five days a year.

  14. Following Foucault: The PhD’s need to be kept working in Universities, so they need more students. More students means more student loans, and while this seems crazy, it does create the impression that the govt is doing Something! Like all our road building here in Springfield MO is about keeping job crews working. It also creates the illusion that everything isn’t falling apart in this depression because everyone driving by has to detour around all this action and it sure does look like a whole lot is going on. We need more roads, more cars, when gas is so high?

    It’s not about anything but the message all this is sending. We need more educated people in tech jobs as we are going places! Globalization = Integral Reality. IR has nothing to do with true or false, jobs or unemployment, etc as these oppositions all belong to a linear world, the world of dialectics and Virktual Reality has nothing to do with a linear, a progressive world, a dialectical world. It has only to do with “floating” signs that simulate, dissimulate, mask or are signs of emptiness, that is no meaning at all.

    Obama is a product of inflated degrees, inflated university attendance, inflated grades, and an inflationary job market of jobs that produced nothing but were “floating” signs of identity.

    I’m trying.

  15. Actually I am still obsessing over the Soccer Moms posting. I think riverdaughter needs to work that up into a book. INterface it with Foucault’s Lectures at the College de France 1974 when he gave a semester’s worth of lectures on Abnormal, once a week to an international audience. These lectures are very accessible as they were written to be read aloud to an audience. His written work is also accessible but in a different way. The auditory lectures just flow. They are a joy to read. Transcribed after his death.

    But back to riverdaughter. There are so many seminars, contests etc for anyone writing within Foucauldian theory. And the academics in this field are wonderful. And then there is my favorite post post modernist, Diane Rubenstein and her outrageous This Is Not A President.

    Judith Butler will be at Columbia the spring of 2012. They are trying to woo her away from Berkely. Riverdaughter, you are in jersey so I bet you could attend an open seminar of hers. She is like no other and her analysis of socially constructed gender and gender ambiguity is awesome. When a university has someone of her scholarship they often have a way for people to attend lectures without being degree orientated.

    • I will have to look her up. But I’ve had my share of academic feminism in college. I may not be her target audience anymore.

      As for the soccer mom post, all of those examples came from real life. I either took them from experiences I had when I was on the board of Ed or as the parent of an very non-standard suburban kid. Now that I’ve found Mompetition and freerangekids.com, I realize that it’s a real problem and not just me.

      I would like the suburban soccer moms to know that they are not universally loved but the only people they appear to care about are other suburban soccer moms. Oh, and making sure they outdo the rest of us in the helicopter parenting department.

      Latest example of suburban weirdness: on June 24, my daughter’s high school will be running an “active shooter scenario” drill, complete with police, ambulances and rubber bullets. The principal sent out a request for student volunteers to play the role of hostages and casualties. In return for being victims (she assures us that it’s all perfectly safe, even the rubber bullets), each participant will get four hours of community service credit.

      Because a columbine happens all the time. It could happen.

      {{rolling eyes}}

      I don’t know how much this is going to cost but you can be sure some little coterie of concerned moms is going to show up at the school board hyperventilating that we must keep our children safe even if it means we have to cut another administrative assistant’s job to pay for it. It’s for the CHILDREN, forgawdssakes. Something might happen. I can’t see how anything would happen. Each school is already locked up, guarded and monitored like a fricking fortress. The security industry must be flourishing..

      • That drill is straight out of DeLillo’s White Noise!

        Diane Rubenstein is hilariously funny and still amazing scholarship. She studied in France under them all. At Yale her students were well acquainted with philosophy but at Wisconsin they weren’t so she taught it through American Presidents. That’s how I got the idea to do it through Twilight and now Cosmopolis. DeLillo is catalogued as a post modern writer but he says he is an American Fiction Writer and won’t discuss the other at all. She is so brilliant and way out of the feminist mainstream of Discourse.

        Judith Butler is another one. You can check my blog on her at focusfree http://focusfree.blogspot.com/2011/05/gender-ambiguity-and-judith-butler.html?zx=c121e663f9935fcb She is the real deal.

        mompetition is great. I loved them. All of this stuff you write about is theoretical in Foucault’s lectures on Abnormal and they are beautiful to read.

        Power is not coming from the top down. Power is being exerted by Soccer Moms, to put you under surveillance and watch you for any abnormalities. This is where power lurks.

      • RD,

        I haven’t been here in awhile but kudos to you on your soccer mom and Wenier posts. Well done.

  16. Reducing wages is baked in. That’s what the “no highly skilled workers” canard and BS STEM education talk is about. Flood the field, ship jobs temporarily until the scientists are begging for their jobs back at a lower rate of pay. Business in China and India stinks for the oligarchs longterm–political instability, privacy issues, language issues, toxicity issues, etc. Better here at their wages–that’s the plan.

    • You know, that might be the plan but I think it will fail. See my most recent post at the bottom. We are now experiencing drug shortages because production facilities are either not profitable to maintain or are getting nailed by problems with GMP issues. Also, the FDA is cracking down on drugs that were approved before 1938. Some of these medications are still used and useful but their safety profiles no longer meet FDA standards. So, companies are pulling them rather than run the expensive gauntlet of getting them approved.
      This is the canary in the coalmine. Because a lot of drugs are going off patent in the next couple of years and there isn’t much in the pipeline to replace the billions of dollars lost. THAT’S why companies are trying to reduce labor costs. But the reason they are having so much trouble getting new drugs is because they went through a destructive wave of mergers and acquisitions in the past 15 years that disrupted research when it was most crucial.
      The ironic thing is that if the country wants new drugs, they are going to have to rehire a lot of the people they have laid off and unless they relocate us to less expensive areas of the country, they will have to pay for us to live in very expensive states like CA, MA, NJ, and CT. The business guys have pleased themselves by relocating here but in the process, they’ve managed to make research a lot more expensive.
      The shit is going to hit the fan in a year or two. The MBAs asses are on the line. The companies will have either split up their research divisions into little pieces that need to compete with each other for resources or laid off a lot of their most productive workers. China and India can’t pick up the slack yet. They have a lot of people but very little expertise.
      It would have been better for shareholders, researchers and patients if the MBAs hadn’t been so incompetent but there you go. You go into business to make money, not drugs.

  17. The problem, of course, is the cost of living is cheaper in China and India than it is here.

    You aren’t going to be able to pay third world salaries while having things still costing first world money.

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