US Shortage of STEM Professionals: Fact or Fiction?

In summary: They're only in it for themselves.In summary, I've read several articles in newspapers and on several sites (such as cnn.com) concerning US and its serious lack of professionals with scientific, mathematical and engineering skills. Is it really true? Thanks.Yes, it is definitely true that the US has a shortage of professionals in these areas. However, I don't think it is as bad as people are making it out to be. There are some benefits to having a shortage, such as the fact that engineers get paid well. However, the main benefit goes to companies and their shareholders, not to the workers themselves.
  • #1
TEMYCH
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I've read several articles in newspapers and on several sites ( such as cnn.com) concerning US and its serious lack of professionals with scientific, mathematical and engineering skills. Is it really true? Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Have any links? I don't know if there are any actual new problems, but the US has always been a little thin on engineering/science professionals. Too many people these days go to college and major in "liberal studies" or something that they can't use when they graduate.

Doesn't bother me though - supply and demand means engineers get paid rather well.
 
  • #3
russ_watters said:
...but the US has always been a little thin on engineering/science professionals.
There was an upsurge after WWII as I recall, due to the GI bill. Lots of people who couldn't otherwise have afforded a college education took advantage of this, and a lot of campuses were overrun with ex-GIs. Most of these were attracted to purely practical fields like engineering, and agriculture.

I doubt today you could accurately say we're thin in the area of computer science. Other branches of science and engineering, possibly.
 
  • #4
We have to face it:
Mathematicians&scientists have always been "oddballs".
What has changed, though, in the latter half of the 20th century, is that the intellectual elite no longer dominates and controls the public arenas as they used to, like newspapers. In effect, we've experienced a democratization of civil society, and thus, it is no longer the admiration of the intellectuals you'll find in the mass media, rather the ridicule of them.
This makes a career in science seem less prestigious to youths than it may have seemed earlier.
 
  • #5
russ_watters said:
Doesn't bother me though - supply and demand means engineers get paid rather well.

If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem. I want an even bigger shortage on professionals. Instead of having rough competition for a $15/h job with no benefits, a $20/h job with lots of benefits is just handed to you.
You can even see that difference between cities. In Edmonton, you can make about $12/h doing construction, and overtime is 1.5x normal wage. In Fort McMurray, about 4 hours north of Edmonton, you can get paid $20/h as a janitor, and overtime on holidays like Christmas you get paid 3x your normal wage.

There are some benefits of having more workers of any kind, but most of those benefits go to companies and their share holders. As a worker, I would rather maintain a shortage.
 
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  • #6
One of my professors said that the US is rather thin on physicists and it looks like we're going to hit a slump in about 8 years... good news for me :D
 
  • #7
ShawnD said:
There are some benefits of having more workers of any kind, but the only real benefit goes to companies or share holders. As a worker, I would rather maintain a shortage.
Quite so.
The more educated the population becomes (i.e, the more replaceable each person becomes), the greater percentage of their valuable output will go into the pockets of the employers.
 
  • #8
arildno said:
The more educated the population becomes (i.e, the more replaceable each person becomes)

Excellent wording. Being replaceable is the last thing any worker wants.
 
  • #9
ShawnD said:
I want an even bigger shortage on professionals. Instead of having rough competition for a $15/h job with no benefits, a $20/h job with lots of benefits is just handed to you.
Food for thought.
 
  • #10
TEMYCH said:
I've read several articles in newspapers and on several sites ( such as cnn.com) concerning US and its serious lack of professionals with scientific, mathematical and engineering skills. Is it really true? Thanks.

There is a big push for getting more science/engineering types through schools. I personally do not see a shortage of engineers in my area. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting 5 of us around here. It seems to me that the bigger push is getting women and minorities more interested in the sciences.

I do find it pretty dubious for people to be saying that in political circles when more and more scientific/engineering jobs are being pushed off shore to foreign countries.
 
  • #11
FredGarvin said:
There is a big push for getting more science/engineering types through schools. I personally do not see a shortage of engineers in my area. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting 5 of us around here. It seems to me that the bigger push is getting women and minorities more interested in the sciences.

I do find it pretty dubious for people to be saying that in political circles when more and more scientific/engineering jobs are being pushed off shore to foreign countries.

Since when are politicians supposed to be self-consistent? They couldn't give a rats arse about any of us.
 

What is the definition of STEM?

The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These are fields of study that are closely related and are critical for innovation, problem-solving, and economic growth.

Is there really a shortage of STEM professionals in the US?

It depends on who you ask. Some experts argue that there is a shortage of STEM professionals in the US, while others believe that there is no shortage. The data shows that there is a high demand for STEM jobs, but not enough qualified candidates to fill them.

What are the factors that contribute to the shortage of STEM professionals?

There are several factors that contribute to the shortage of STEM professionals in the US. One of the main factors is the lack of interest and participation in STEM education. Another factor is the difficulty of STEM subjects, which leads to a high dropout rate among students. Additionally, there is a lack of diversity in the STEM workforce, with women and minorities being underrepresented.

How does the shortage of STEM professionals affect the US economy?

The shortage of STEM professionals has a significant impact on the US economy. It slows down innovation, reduces the competitiveness of US companies, and limits economic growth. It also leads to companies outsourcing STEM jobs to other countries, which can have a negative impact on the US job market.

What can be done to address the shortage of STEM professionals?

To address the shortage of STEM professionals, it is crucial to increase interest and participation in STEM education from an early age. This can be achieved through targeted programs and initiatives, such as STEM-focused schools and outreach programs. It is also essential to support and encourage diversity in the STEM workforce through mentorship programs and equal opportunities for all. Lastly, companies can invest in upskilling and training their current workforce to fill STEM positions.

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