The STEM crisis is a myth


A provocative — and thoroughly researched — post from IEEE Spectrum about the shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math skills. I’m not skeptical enough to think it’s all manufactured concern so employers can keep salaries low, but I’ve read enough about the push for more immigrant visas for tech workers to know there’s something there.



Again, as the article pointed if there indeed is a shortage of high quality engineering/software engineers, salaries should be skyrocketing. As an engineer with 30 years experience working as a VLSI design engineer at a leading semiconductor company, I can attest that we have not seen huge increase in salaries in the past several years. In fact engineering salaries adjusted for inflation are probably lower than they were when I graduated in 1980. Obviously every company wants the ability to be very selective in their hiring and only giving job offers to the candidates with the highest aptitude and work ethic, educational background etc., but the simple truth is like in any profession everybody can’t be above average. Just what is wrong with companies having to pay highly talented engineers big salaries? Maybe that will convince more MIT grads (and other top schools) to consider an actual engineer career instead of working on Wall Street in a finance related profession. Also as a parent I look at this issue a different way -what about if your son/daughter graduates with a STEM degree but struggles and graduates with a C+ average. Nothing to be ashamed about- but the truth in today’s economy is they are probably out of luck getting an STEM job unless they have good sales skills.


I think, the issue not the lack of the quantity, but the lack of the quality. Frankly speaking, nobody will be interesting in hiring Texas state graduate to work in field of applied math or physics. MIT, Caltech, Berkeley – yes. Texas state – no. Sorry, Texas.


They can’t all be above average. Bean counters don’t know a “good” engineer when they see one and treat talent like a commodity. Thus there’s a market failure such that high talent often gets underpaid and “qualified” drones paid less than average but still overpaid relative to their value. Steve jobs had it figured out; you only need to pay 1/3 more to get three times the value (my numbers, not his.)
The only “shortage” is of exceptionally talented people willing to work for less than they’re worth.


BullXXXX I’ve been a Professional software engineer for 15 years, hiring people for the last 12 and there ABSOLUTELY is a shortage of good engineers. Emphasis on “good” – not great – but just “good”. Doesn’t have to be a genius but someone who can communicate, knows his/her craft (Java) and can code their way out of a wet paper bag.

So either these people with a STEM background are hiding, not applying for my jobs or (shock!) don’t WANT to work in STEM careers (probably the latter).

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