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The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage
6

The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

(OP)
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/...

Long article, but here are a couple of my favorite snippets.

"Were there to be a genuine shortage at present, there would be evidence of employers raising wage offers to attract the scientists and engineers they want. But the evidence points in the other direction: Most studies report that real wages in many—but not all—science and engineering occupations have been flat or slow-growing, and unemployment as high or higher than in many comparably-skilled occupations."

"Labor markets for scientists and engineers also differ geographically. Employer demand is far higher in a few hothouse metropolitan areas than in the rest of the country, especially during boom periods. Moreover recruitment of domestic professionals to these regions may be more difficult than in others when would-be hires discover that the remuneration employers are offering does not come close to compensating for far higher housing and other costs."

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

That's great, but in the area of power engineers there are shortages. Not because of a shortage of electrical engineers, but because of a shortage of universitys offering power classes.

Hard to believe a 50+ engineer could walk into any of a dozen utilities and be hired. Also positions available as auditor if I wanted to travel.
Not a lot of engineering jobs like that. I am also seeing retirees being hired for temp workload, because there are no job shoppers in this area.

The story of shortages seems to exist only in a few specilities, and wages aren't going up because the current population with that specility don't want to be that moble.

So I see these stories as part of the picture, and the proposed solutions as part of an answer. But in no way is this the whole story, and proposed soltions are not the whole answer.

In general, there are more engineers than we have positions for. But in some specialties there is a shortage, and that can't be fixed by bringing people from somewhere else.
What needs to happen is companies need to step up with internal training programs, but budgets won't allow that to happen on a large enough scale.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/the-stem-crisis-is...

In case you didn't see this excellent article- well worth a read. There's big money in pretending that there'll be a shortage on the horizon. These folks have been crying "wolf" since the 30s. The sidebar has a quote from someone famous predicting an imminent shortage, in every decade since the 1930s...

As to recruiting in remote locations: professionals tend to marry other professionals, not all of whom are in "portable" professions like teaching and medicine/nursing. Providing a job for one spouse ain't gonna cut it.

The only shortage their is, if there is any shortage, is a shortage of people who weren't hired into particular fields 10 years ago as fresh grads. That's not a shortage, that's a succession-planning problem.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

The only shortage I see are the number of people telling the truth in the ranks of the news media, government, and industry: that there is no shortage of employable STEM candidates.

Employers don't seem to be interested in training anybody these days because it takes time and costs money. This means that you have to invest in your employees in order to get the benefits from that investment. It's much easier to let some other company pay for that and then cherry pick the people you want. Then you don't have to invest anything in training and your new employees can be expected to work productively from day 1. Ideally these companies want people with 10 to 15 years of relevant work experience, because they are relatively young so they don't expect to be paid too much, they are on average healthier than the older members of the work force which translates to lower health care costs, and they would be expected to be more productive. Employers want to have enough of these candidates readily available so that they don't have to offer significant wage increases in order to hire them. And if they fear this might be the case in the next few years, they yell SHORTAGE to get college enrollments up. And clueless students take the bait, not realizing that in four years they'll be saddled with a massive amount of college debt and no job prospects. And they will still be hearing the siren call from government and industry of SHORTAGE.

Some of these guys are real bastards.

Maui

www.EngineeringMetallurgy.com

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Far from offering expanding attractive career opportunities, it seems that many, but not all, science and engineering careers are headed in the opposite direction: unstable careers, slow-growing wages, and high risk of jobs moving offshore or being filled by temporary workers from abroad. (from the article)

That sums up the electronics side of Electrical Engineering the past decade.

Today, employers are so specific about job qualifications that only a "purple squirrel" who will work for mininum wage need apply.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

In structural, I think we went thru a phase of offshoring work, but much of that didn't work out. That may be the one good things about our absurdly over-complicated Codes.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Bastards indeed! I am one of those misled engineering grads.

I am passionate about STEM, but I think they also need to teach their students some "soft" skills that businesses like, as well as how to market themselves. Even if you are a tech genius, the guy with the bigger smile or friend on the inside has a much better chance.

To get back on track..
It's amazing how many engineers I meet in Ontario that don't do engineering. ...


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." L. da Vinci
- Gian

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

I finished up a week-long course in Unconventional Gas Upstream Engineering on Friday and got the course evaluations. The most-repeated complaint was that the exercises were too hard. That is always the most repeated complaint. Most of the class was new facilities Engineers in their first year out of University. One of the exercises was to take the closed form flow equations and a set of conditions and pick one of the equations as the most appropriate for that set of data (the flow stream had 8% CO2, etc.). The slide before the exercise said "The Weymouth Equation made the assumption that there was no CO2 in the flow when they did their correlation". Time required to eliminate that equation should have been 10 seconds. The slide before the Weymouth slide mentions that Panhandle A is only valid in a narrow Reynolds number range--should have taken a couple of minutes to calculate Reynolds Number and eliminate that one. Another 5 minutes to plot the conditions on the Moody diagram and eliminate AGA Fully Turbulent. They should have been calculating the flow rate with the Isothermal Gas Flow Equation within 10 minutes of starting. At 40 minutes one group finally figured out the answer (the rest didn't get quite that far).

These folks are really "doing Engineering" in their day jobs, but they have been so ingrained in University that "all necessary parameters will be in the problem statement and there will be no irrelevant parameters in the problem statement" that even simplified real-world problems are beyond their ability to set up. One guy read through the problem statement on every exercise. Got a disgusted look on his face. Went for a smoke. Every time. I finally asked him why he wasn't attempting to set the problems up and he replied "what's the point, the answers are always in the back of the book". He didn't buy my "I don't care about the destination, I'm interested in the journey" line.

My contention is that the only way you can get an oversupply of Engineers is if you have lowered the standard to acquire that title to the point where too many of the practitioners can't set up an Engineering problem and you need 3-4 times as many to do any task so that maybe you'll get one critical thinker.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

Law is the common force organized to act as an obstacle of injustice Frédéric Bastiat

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

I was in a situation once when I was an employee and I had to teach non-degreed drafting technicians how to do structural engineering - not that I was proud of that, but it was either do it or quit your job - that caused all kind of interesting results, mostly OMG I hope this guy doesn't screw things up, oy vey!

The worst part was this was made possible by using computer software. Ugh. 30 years earlier and this corporate-money-generating-venture would have been unthinkable and impossible to implement.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

FeX32: 2006 stats were that around 30% of engineering grads in Canada were actually working as engineers. In fact, if you add up all those who were working as "engineers", "engineering managers" or "engineering inspectors", that amounted to only 36% of engineering grads in 2006. By 2011, that proportion fell to 31%...So if you didn't meet a whole slew of people with engineering degrees who weren't working as engineers, THAT would be the surprise.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Indeed moltenmetal. Luckily the general employment level of someone with an engineering education is good.

However, I sometimes feel that if our system was more like the german one we would be better off in some ways.
Their universities have strong connections to industry and many times their students have specialized training for companies that have connections with their university. This, of course, makes attaining an engineering job after graduation quite simple.


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." L. da Vinci
- Gian

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

There are some examples of Industry and University program which are both intended to enhance the educational experience of primarily undergraduate engineering students as well as provide access to learning what companies are expecting and what the opportunities are in certain industries.

One such program which I'm intimately familiar with is something called P.A.C.E. (Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education) initiated by General Motors and which has attracted several partners to the program, Siemens being one of them.

For some information about this program, please go to:

http://pacepartners.org/

For a list of the P.A.C.E. partners, go to:

http://pacepartners.org/partners.php

And for a list of participating universities, go to:

http://pacepartners.org/institutions.php

Now, I would hope to think that this isn't the only such program out there. If any of you are aware of others, perhaps it would be of interest if you would post what you know as well.

And then of course, we have our own corporate initiatives when it comes to supporting academic organizations:

http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/academ...

Again, I'm sure that many companies have initiatives like this, particularly those who can provide not only monetary support but also technology and tools that can be used by schools to support their engineering programs.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Actually FeX32, an engineering grad is about as likely to be unemployed 6 months or 2 years after grad as the average university graduate, so there goes that theory. The employment prospects in general for engineering grads are not all that good here, and there's a simple reason: we're generating far more of them than the economy could possibly use. It's true in other professions here too, but worst in engineering by far. In fact there are substantially more teaching grads working as teachers than there are engineering grads working as engineers, and teaching is massively oversupplied.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Just maybe the university piece of paper just isen't enough. And maybe that fact needs to be made known and clear.

And maybe students should be asking for stats on former grads ability to find a job. After all trade schools seem proud to state that over 90% of there grads are employed in the industry they study in.
Why aren't universities making such statments? Why don't universities have to compete for students, and why is it assumed the piece of paper is all that is required to get a job?

I must admit I have a little distain here for some of what happens at universities, because most have sports programs and require masive injections of money from the state. The few privite universities don't have sports teams and still manage to operarte. Maybe the business grads from privite universities are better at money managment than at public universities. And just maybe the same can be said for there engineering grads. And maybe that's why public universities don't advertise there grads sucesses and failures.

So maybe both sides of this debate are true. There maybe enough engineering grads, but not enough of quality.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

moltenmetal,
I understand your conjecture is well thought out. I am not disputing it.
It just discerns me that the universities are not making this more clear. Also, it seems the GTA has one of highest engineering job densities in Canada.
I wonder how much this varies by discipline. As I understand it, Chemical Engineering, although being one of the highest paid, has one of the lowest job prospects. I may be incorrect though.

John,
That is useful information. I know faculty at some of this uni's. Also, companies like Siemens are great for putting in the effort for this type of training.

cheers


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." L. da Vinci
- Gian

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

My alma mater's (primarily an engineering university) placement rate was 96% for the class of 2012, the most recent one with data available. I was only required to take a couple of soft classes when I was there. Very heavy technically, but that's the focus of the university. They also have a heavy industry presence doing collabrative research. It was a very small private university.

The university I went to for my Masters degree was a large state school. Their approach was more do all things for all people. Their placement rate is anecdotaly a lot lower.

Maybe the Canadians should attend technical U.S. universities and triple their placement rate.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

The "placement rate" is a rubbish statistic, as anyone who gets a job of any kind, or who goes on to post-grad studies, has been "placed". It completely ignores under-employment, whether that be part-time or employment in a field for which they are over-qualified by education. In fact, you can use the rates of post-grad enrollment as an indicator of employment prospects for grads- when they can't find work, they go back for more schooling in the hope that this will make them more employable.

If I recall the Council of Ontario Universities study data correctly, the "placement rate" for engineering grads after two years is about 93-94% averaged over all Ontario universities, which was about the same for engineering grads as for the average university graduate from all programs- so much for the notion that eng grads are greatly more "employable" than others... The rate is just a little better than the nominal overall unemployment rate, which of course is a garbage statistic because it ignores those who have given up looking for work etc. All these stats mean is that a kid who graduates with student loans has to be doing SOMETHING after two years to keep body and soul together.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Good point that stats can be faked. Have any suggestions?

That's the problem, members of the liers club are all over the place.

And another problem is the number of people who drop-out of engineering school, with student loans. Maybe some of them should have never been enrolled in the first place.
It seems to be a grab the money before they relize type of system (maybe that's another part of goverment that shoulden't be trusted).

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Quote (ky108)


(maybe that's another part of goverment that shoulden't be trusted)

As if the private universities and so-called, for-profit 'trade-schools' and colleges aren't doing their part in impoverishing a generation of students.

DISCLAIMER: Our middle son is an instructor at one of these for-profit schools, in this case 'Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts'. Note that I paid for his Bachelors Degree in Psychology that he got at Cal-State Fullerton but he paid for the culinary degree he got at the 'Culinary Institute of America at Greystone', although I did co-sign for his student loan, which he paid-off years ago (thank God).

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Perhaps I'm not thinking it through but the part about not routinely cold calling employees of your competition I don't find as offensive.

However, the part where even if an employee of a competitor applies on their own initiative they won't be considered really disgusts me.

So much for 'do no evil'.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Is this like a non-compete agreement in reverse? It has a bright side, in that bad apples won't find a job after being fired (no puns intended).
It is also just bad for both companies to continue to snipe each others engineers. It's also good that we get orignal ideas from different companies that must compete in the marketplace.

It also means the movers and shakers must actually do something in order to move to the upper floor. I just hate big mouths that can't do anything get promoted.

Besides having two or more companies looking for the same type of engineers is a good way to look like a shortage when there isen't. A local shortage is not a national shortage. It just means the location dosen't attract that many engineers.

It may however depress wages in the local area, but as long as it is limited it isen't bad.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

KENAT, I guess you missed my point.

Bad apples, engineers that don't know there stuff, cheat, lie, steal, you know the type.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Quote:

And maybe students should be asking for stats on former grads ability to find a job.

There was actually a successful class action lawsuit against a San Francisco based culinary arts school recently based on the fact that they were cooking the books with their job placement statistics.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

At least in the industry I am in there is little special business knoledge that can be taken from one company to another. However in the manufacturing of the products we use, it is apperent that what some company designs new is protected for a number of years, then seems to transition into the products that the other companies use. The exception would be the copy righted products. So when we see a product we like, from a company that we don't, we just have to wait until it is adopted industry wide.

Basicly ideas are transportable, company managment practicace is not. We don't buy much from company A because there sales methods make there sales people seem like A-------. We buy from company B because there company practice makes it easy to work with them.

In the case of two technology companies, a no call practice may make since because they may want there products to be different from each other. Unlike the industry I work in, where products that are simular become somewhat interchangable, so companies must compete on frendleness.

The other issue is when products are easyer to use in an industry where there is a shortage of qualified engineers, it allows more of the design to be completed by copy and paste, and less by special design.
By qualified I mean within there capability to properly design the application.

So apperent to me the so called shortage of engineers is the ability to contain costs of employment. And if there truly was a shortage of engineers, there would still be a few who could not find jobs for reasons other than there degree.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Like most things in America today, if you're rich enough, you don't have to put up with what the masses do, like paying your taxes or being subject to laws.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Are you refering to our inperial leaders? You could get jail time for talking like that.

It should irritate most of us the more than double standards we have. And I believe it is intential to attempt to bring down the cost or what has to be paid to staff the needed engineers.
We see the same thing happening in the medical industry. The goverment is coluding to reduce the cost of medical care by compressing pay of doctors.
It almost looks like some socialest plot. Even more when you see a number of mismanged things that are reducing food production in this country. And enviromental laws that restrict energy production, or use.

Makes you wonder if something political is happening, like a fundumental change in our goverment.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

NO, I was thinking more along the lines of the oligarchy that the Supreme Court has been laying the groundwork for these past several years, basically turning the idea of "We the People" into a farce. At one end of the spectrum you have organizations like ALEC writing model legislation for Republican controlled state legislatures covering everything from making it harder to vote to 'stand your ground' laws to nullification of federal laws by the states, while at the other end the 1% has been told that they're now allowed to 'buy' as many elected officials as it takes to assure that only their needs will be given consideration in the Halls of Congress.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

I still don't get the business sense of some of the severance packages for the board of directors...Its seams like they would have some built in scheme to discourage them from being absolutely terrible at there job. For alot less money i am sure they could have found someone that could do a better job.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

It's primarily the result of CEO's and COO's serving on the Boards of Directors of other American corporations creating what's known as 'Interlocking Boards of Directors'. And as a result, this has developed into a "You scratch my back, I'll scratch your back" corporate mentality in this country.

While there has been research over the years into what has been happening...

http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/articles/235...

...and while it seems pretty obvious to most people once they know the facts, what with the aforementioned recent Supreme Court rulings, if you honestly think that anything is going to be done about this, by Congress or even in the courts, you've got another think coming.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

KENANT, I’m laughing through my face-palm because it’s so unfortunately accurate. What’s worse is that they flip back and forth between calling it socialist and fascist…because apparently those are the same thing, I guess.

JohnRBaker, yes, oligarchy is the proper term. The authors of the paper conclude:

Quote (Gilens and Page)

The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

John, we seem to have differing views of what this goverment is, but it appears we both agree there's something wrong with it.
rconnor, I think it is called fascist, because socialist is goverment(everyone owns)everything, where fascist is goverment controls everything without owning it.

Either way the goverment is so large they believe they can trample on the peoples rights without recourse. And worse, they have so many laws they can selectively prosecute people which ever laws the goverment sees fit. Example: prosecute a rancher in Nevada, but not the millions of illegals that are in this country (and the money the hugh display of force).

If I was a better lier I would be in politics myself. That's apperently where the money is.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Godwin's Law Alert

rconner

Well the NAZI's were technically National Socialists, Mussolini's bunch were the actual fascists.

They probably actually mean some variation on Authoritarian or Totalitarian or some such but that's' probably too nuanced for many in the target audience where as saying Fascist invokes comparisons with WW II era Germany and it's leader - even if technically incorrect.

(By the way my last line should have been "Man Socialism really must mean something different here in the US than it did back in Blighty." but I think you got my point.)

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What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Rcoonor,

I believe that "plutocracy" would be the proper pejorative. The same thing as the golden rule: "he who has the gold makes the rule". Scatocracy might be a more fitting term for government by lawyers.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

In our case it is "He who has the biggest mouth, makes the rules". Most of the current political types did not start out with the gold. They recieved it in kick-backs.

Hitler also started by soap-boxing in the streets to who ever would lissen.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

And it’s official! Godwin’s Law has been validated once again!

Urgross, the two are similar however I feel that a plutocracy is more of direct leadership “by and for the few” whereas in an oligarchy it is more indirect through influence and pressure where the “by” is irrelevant as external influences/systemic issues will always make it “for the few”. But ya, it’s splitting hairs. I really like Lawrence Lessig’s Republic Lost on the matter (here’s a talk). The issue isn’t that the government is too large or too small but that the system has been twisted to represent the needs and wants of campaign contributors, not the people at large. The paper I linked before does a great job quantifying this issue.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

That's why like babies, lawmakers should be changed often, and for the same reason.

Term limits would also help reduce the incumbent advantage. Makem run for a different office.

Here's an idea. Since we seem to be short of govermental leadership, maybe we should allow H1b visas for political leaders from other countries to fill the void. We can just say they were boarn in Hawaii as that state seems to have a problem with finding it's records of births in the state.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

The answer is NOT term limits but rather citizens staying informed and then voting in every election so that they protect their own selfinterests and not those of the high-rolling contributors.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

I agree to a point. The point is most people running for office will attempt to hide there real agenda, and the news people will not make attempts to unhide these things because they are biased. The real story is rarely told (note declining news paper and tv news consumption). Also how is anyone to find out who is paid off?

And sometimes it's just good to have fresh ideas.

One thing out of our founding is that only the richest people were allowed to vote, and that maybe because the poor, and free-loaders will vote themselves money every time.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Hmm, I think maybe we should have term limits for Engineers too. I mean new ideas and enthusiasm are more important than experience right?

I suspect term limits are at best a 'band aid' of potentially dubious effectiveness.

As to your comment about not allowing the poor to vote, well it's not like the rich have ever voted or supported a political cause that benefits them at the expense of others right?

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

JohnRB I think you said it best on the other tread...and many other places when dealing with Gov Policy.

"At least professionals don't deify the rich since they know exactly how wealth is obtained, not like the sheep who watch Faux News and consistently vote against their own self-interests." -JRB

I am from a Po-dunk Town in NYS. I have vary large family, most of which vote based on what Stains Music, aka Faux News, tells them. Typically it is against there best interest, but because they are afraid of the internet (because Stains Music has made them), and doing even a little research into whats going on, they would realize they are only screwing themselves.

Easter Dinner conversation include, reduce school standards, reduce taxes, reduce EPA standards, No-increase in min wage, ETC. Most of my family makes <50K a year and all of these things will lower there quality of life. Fortunately the SafeACT has no effect on my family.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Quote:

Term limits would also help reduce the incumbent advantage. Makem run for a different office.
The gerrymandering inherent in our FPTP system make term limits pointless.
The number of swing districts diminish every year.
The number of landslide districts increase every year.
Outgoing politicians can just rearrange districts to assure a sympathetic colleague will take their place.
A secondary result is an divergence towards extremism in candidates. A given party is guaranteed a win in their district. So the only threat comes from within the party. So you need to out crazy your own guys. Being moderate and compromising with "the other party" is just an invitation to lose your own primary.
Term limits are a nice red herring. Fix the mathematics of the election system and you fix incumbent advantage and a crap load of other problems as well.

Quote:

The answer is NOT term limits but rather citizens staying informed and then voting in every election so that they protect their own selfinterests
It's in vogue to pin it all on an ignorant populace. What with their xbockses and their cellphones and their jello pudding snacks.
It's really the contrary... citizens are making logical and informed voting choices...but...
Strategic voting (again, a mathematical result of FPTP voting) means the most reasonable and logical candidate to vote for is usually NOT the candidate that best represents a voter's actual beliefs.
Most voters end up voting "against" someone, rather than "for" someone.
Worse, actually voting for the guy you "really want" is detrimentally to the aforementioned "selfinterest" as it is very likely to result in a victory for the guy you "really don't want in a million years".
So it follows that to protect their self-interests, a voter must paradoxically vote for someone who they probably don't want, less they get the guy they DEFINITELY don't want.

Quote:

One thing out of our founding is that only the richest people were allowed to vote, and that maybe because the poor, and free-loaders will vote themselves money every time.
Our founders were by and large rich.
Arguably the American revolution was precipitated by business. Our founders did not think they were getting a fair deal from the crown re: export of their products, taxes, etc.
They weren't terribly interested in "freedom" and "inequality" beyond "freedom to run our businesses". All other considerations were secondary or non-existent.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

So much of our electoral system is boiled down to voteing against someone. So the one who rases enough dead is the winner.

The fact is most people are disenfrangised with the political system, and will vote for the name that most matches there favrite beverage, if they vote at all.
I'm guilty of some of that. I don't have kids in public schools, so I would likely vote for who ever runs on lowering property taxes. But that person will never win because they are seen as uncareing.

For senitor or congressman, it also dosen't matter, as the same party always wins. About the only issues that I really vote on is the next bond issue. But if it fails it will only reappear in the next election.

So it is understandable that there is such a low voting turnout.

As far as engineers with a new perspective, they want the latest and greatest, without knowing how to apply them.
Safer to say, we need both perspectives, old and young.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Maui,

I followed the paper trail to find their definition of STEM. It seams it all depends on what Employers think a STEM job is and report to the Bureau of Labor.

I also found this.
http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2011/05/art1full.pdf

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Gymmeh, thanks for that link. Interesting stats.

Maui

www.EngineeringMetallurgy.com

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Here is an interesting link from NPR showing the percentage of college majors by graduating class. It looks like engineering has remained stable other than a slight uptick in the mid eighties. It is also interesting to see that even though the percentages are mostly the same, the actual number of engineering graduates has been increasing due to more and more people going to college over the last decade. Unless engineering industries are going to suddenly create a whole lot more jobs in the future, it would appear we are very far from having a "shortage".

What's Your Major? 4 Decades Of College Degrees, In 1 Graph

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Thats a fun graph

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Oh noes, the number of people with education degrees is falling. We actually get some teachers with a degree in their subject, not just a degree in "education."

I also wonder how many of the degrees early on were "Mrs" degrees... That was always the joke about a large fraction of education majors when I was in school.

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Interesting that there is an uptick in Journalism degrees, somewhat concurrently to the rise of the internet in the '80's, that has persisted to current day. Wondering what all the journalism grad's. do in these days of declining newspaper subscriptions, and the conglomeration of so much of the media (i.e. a real decline in the number of paid journalists from what I've read). I guess they all write blogs in their spare time between retail jobs?

RE: The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Where are they working? Buzzfeed, Politico, Drudge, Huffington Post, et cetera, et cetera. Plenty of online journalism (or "journalism") outlets making tons of money.

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