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The Price of Egg(head)s
Old 08-30-2007, 08:13 PM   #1
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The Price of Egg(head)s

David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, has been quoted as saying that America has "a shortage in high-skilled jobs like scientists and engineers.”

I believe, in spite of the wording of the quote, that he means that we have a shortage of these high level workers not a shortage of jobs for them to fill.

Interpreted in this sense(shortage of brains), is this true or is Dr. Wyss full of p**?
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Old 08-30-2007, 08:19 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by barbarus View Post
David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, has been quoted as saying that America has "a shortage in high-skilled jobs like scientists and engineers.”

I believe, in spite of the wording of the quote, that he means that we have a shortage of these high level workers not a shortage of jobs for them to fill.

Interpreted in this sense(shortage of brains), is this true or is Dr. Wyss full of p**?
Right now the engineering biz is begging for people. About 3 or 4 years ago they weren't hiring and some were laying off. The high tech companies want to hire cheap, foreign techies that know the latest language so they don't have to retrain the last group of programmers that new the last hot language.

It's all cyclical. We don't do enough to encourage kids to study math and science. When they do, they are treated like commodities but that's about the same as any other major.

I will say that a typical engineer can be very mediocre and still have a nice middle class life style. No other 4 year degree can make the same claim.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:22 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by barbarus View Post
David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, has been quoted as saying that America has "a shortage in high-skilled jobs like scientists and engineers.”
I believe, in spite of the wording of the quote, that he means that we have a shortage of these high level workers not a shortage of jobs for them to fill.
Interpreted in this sense(shortage of brains), is this true or is Dr. Wyss full of p**?
Kinda setting us up to speculate, aren't you?

If you provide a link to the quote, perhaps we could all figure it out from the context of the article...
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:59 PM   #4
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Here's the secondary source where I saw the quote. I'd like to read the primary source myself, but couldn't find any paper Wyss had written. I assume that the journalist Herbst had just called him for an off-the-cuff observation, rather than referring to a published document.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/bw/20070822/bs_bw/aug2007db20070821451283
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:48 PM   #5
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I will say that a typical engineer can be very mediocre and still have a nice middle class life style. No other 4 year degree can make the same claim.
I guess this is the same everywhere, then, huh? I actually have some co-workers with barely a high school degree titling themselves as "software engineers"....
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:12 PM   #6
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Well from my vantage point there must be a shortage of highly skilled engineers and scientists willing to work for $25k/year.

If they paid say $350k/year you would be amazed at how fast the shortage would go away.

MegaCorp wants the former, and those pesky engineer holdouts want the latter. There is no shortage of talent but there sure is a shortage of compensation.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:13 AM   #7
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Here's the secondary source where I saw the quote. I'd like to read the primary source myself, but couldn't find any paper Wyss had written. I assume that the journalist Herbst had just called him for an off-the-cuff observation, rather than referring to a published document.
Quote:
The truth may involve shades of gray. "There is not a general labor shortage in the U.S.," says David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor's, which, like BusinessWeek, is a unit of The McGraw-Hill Cos. (NYSE:MHP - News). "There is a shortage of people willing to do grunt work for low wages -- the kind of shortage you want -- and a shortage in high-skilled jobs like scientists and engineers."
That sure is awkwardly worded. I think he's trying to say that there are more wannabe scientists & engineers than there are jobs for scientists & engineers, which perhaps explains why their wages aren't rising.

Quote:
Consider the numbers. Even as the unemployment rate has declined in recent years, millions of Americans have left the workforce and stopped looking for jobs. The government's Bureau of Labor Statistics has a dedicated category for "discouraged" workers who believe no positions are available to them. If the percentage of Americans participating in the workforce were the same now as it was in 2000, the number officially counted as unemployed would be 9.1 million, rather than 7.1 million. The unemployment rate would be 5.8%, instead of 4.6%.
I'm not a "discouraged" worker, I'm just voluntarily removing myself from the problem!
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:38 AM   #8
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MasterBlaster, I'd rather arrived at the same conclusion myself.

So have a number of scientists and engineers with blogs or who just make isolated comments on the Net.

It seems, though, that those that employ scientists and engineers and those that educate them are of the opposite line of thought.

This site seems to appeal to a lot of "techies"; possibly more on the software than hardware side of the aisle.

Things are going well with 2B. Any personal observations from others?
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:29 AM   #9
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There does seem to be a supply demand imbalance in the US... Part of the reason for outsourcing. The other is to exploit the wage differential.

With boomers retiring it will only get worse. We will open up immigration much more over the next 10-20 years... at all levels.

The problem is: while the wage differential is great, people want to immigrate to the US. If it is not, they will be less inclined to immigrate.

There are a number of things that go hand in hand that cause people to want to immigrate. If there is political stability, decent property rights laws, good human rights laws (no oppression), and capitalism is nurtured, those wage differential will evaporate.

It looks like India and China (and much of the rest of Asia) are moving in that direction.

IMHO - The Chinese are moving towards a capitalistic/socialist government and away from communism. I do not think they are unnecessarily planning to do so... but the snowball is getting bigger and bigger and gaining momentum. It is probably best that they do it slowly or they will wind up like Russia.


The last developing area in the world will be Africa.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:43 AM   #10
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IMHO - The Chinese are moving towards a capitalistic/socialist government and away from communism. I do not think they are unnecessarily planning to do so... but the snowball is getting bigger and bigger and gaining momentum. It is probably best that they do it slowly or they will wind up like Russia.
Youngest son did his History Day project on the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the changes in China since. He made it to the regional finals and I got to help him tighten up his project a little. He had a lot of primary sources and it was very interesting to read how close the Communists came to losing control. Since then they have loosened up greatly on the economic side, but the political side is even more oppressive than before. They obviously intend to stay in control politically, and seem to be doing a good job at it for now. They've funneled a lot of the people's energy into making money but I suspect that after as more people have all their material wants filled they will start asking for some civil rights.

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Right now the engineering biz is begging for people.
BIL is the dir of engineering for the undersea division of a pretty large oilfield products company - he told me about a year ago that they were hiring people who would have never made it past the dropping off the resume phase a few years earlier.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:21 AM   #11
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If they paid say $350k/year you would be amazed at how fast the shortage would go away.

.

At $350K/yr I would consider going back to work. Okay, I am done considering it. Now back to fun.
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Old 08-31-2007, 05:13 AM   #12
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BIL is the dir of engineering for the undersea division of a pretty large oilfield products company - he told me about a year ago that they were hiring people who would have never made it past the dropping off the resume phase a few years earlier.
That's happening all over the industry. Companies don't hire for years and suddenly want to triple their staff with top tier experts. There's only so many they can steal from each other. It comes down to planning. Companies used to do that to avoid massive personnel swings.

Tell your BIL I'm available for $200k and please assure him that I lack most of the qualifications he's looking for.
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:51 AM   #13
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The last developing area in the world will be Africa.
Yup, and I eagerly await seeing it happen. Just think of the huge numbers of people in Asia that are/have been lifted out of poverty as that region has developed. And Africa has lots of natural resources...
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:55 AM   #14
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I am responsible for a global technology organization which consists of both engineering and software professionals. I have been in this field for 30 years (management for the past 15). The market is very tight (available personnel) in the US right now. Many people I know can pretty much name their price right now. We have a few openings in the US and we are having a very difficult time finding qualified individuals. It is very
reminiscent
of 1998 - 99 just before year 2k).
I have been concerned as many have been about outsourcing to countries with lower paid professionals and the following is my personal experience. In certain circumstances we have found it possible to utilize low cost talent when we needed very specific technical work performed. In situations where we needed communication and project management outsourcing will not work for us. As far as the shortage of workers in the US it has always been difficult to find highly motivated and talented individuals this is the hardest and most important part of my job. (also the most rewarding too).
I honestly believe there will be positions for those individuals who are talented and willing to work hard to be some of the best in their field.
I have a story I like to tell. In 1974 when I was taking classes in computer programming (they call it software development now) the professors told us how computers would program themselves. In the 1980's when fourth generation languages came out the magazines told us how computers would program themselves... Four years ago my youngest son called me from the university (he was studying software engineering) and was very concerned that he may be in the wrong major because one of his professors told him that all software development would be outsourced to Asia. (this is a kid who was on a full academic scholarship). I relayed my story of what the profs said to me while in college... He has since graduated and has an exceptional position with a major corporaton making considerably more than his two older brothers who graduated from top tier universities and chose other professions...

By the way.. I just read an article which describes that one of the major Indian software firms will be opening an office in Atlanta and hiring about 1000 people.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:20 AM   #15
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IMHO - The Chinese are moving towards a capitalistic/socialist government and away from communism. I do not think they are unnecessarily planning to do so... but the snowball is getting bigger and bigger and gaining momentum. It is probably best that they do it slowly or they will wind up like Russia.
The Chinese do not seem to want to emulate the US or Europe. Think Singapore, and other similar soft-authoritarian systems which have economic but not political freedom.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:40 AM   #16
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Note from an old phart:

Circa 1966 - when I was er ah younger my engineering orientation(welcome to the company) had 13 engineers - 6 of us were American.

Howard one of my older acquaintences at the time told the story about Sputnik - he had been laid off from his Chem Engr job about a year earlier and was selling Hammond Organs door to door to feed his family. He had some rather colorful adjectives to describe his thoughts reading the banner headline in the paper -'Where are America's Scientist's and Engineers?'

I thought off Howard's tale when I was reading a few years later -'Will the Last Person Leaving Seattle Please Turn Out The Lights.'

I was reading at my new job - in Denver.

Cycles - gotta lov em!

heh heh heh - Constellation and Aries to replace the Space Shuttle in a few years. Heck I'll only be in my 60's - time to suit up again - I don't think so.
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:09 AM   #17
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BIL is the dir of engineering for the undersea division of a pretty large oilfield products company - he told me about a year ago that they were hiring people who would have never made it past the dropping off the resume phase a few years earlier.
The big difference today is that now they have to be nice to their employees. This is too big a paradigm shift for Big Oil. Let them stew.

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Still taking a job away from a Canadian.
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Old 08-31-2007, 12:55 PM   #18
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The big difference today is that now they have to be nice to their employees. This is too big a paradigm shift for Big Oil.
He can appreciate that I'm sure, because several years ago that was his attitude. He got his current job because he got so fed up with the company and how they were treating him he just walked in one day and quit. He took a week off and then set up an office at home, printed up some business cards and was already negotiating his first contracts when his former boss's boss called up and asked him to go to lunch. The guy said "we screwed up and can't afford to lose you - and here's the job we want you to do."
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Old 08-31-2007, 06:58 PM   #19
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The world/US/Employer/neighborhood is always going downhill, just ask any older person.
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:32 PM   #20
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Leonidas,

So he went back

Nuts to that. If they had their heads so far up their a** in the first place, how could they be expected to change? On their part, they could never trust him again. (It is funny talking about managers trusting someone. ) You can tell when a manager is lying--his lips move.

I would have listened to the job they wanted done, then given them my billing rate. Sure, I will work for you--at arms' length.

You may surmise that I don't like working for other people anymore. I work for me.

Gypsy
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