Skip to comments.U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs arenít there
Posted on 07/08/2012 2:26:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Michelle Amaral wanted to be a brain scientist to help cure diseases. She planned a traditional academic science career: PhD, university professorship and, eventually, her own lab.
But three years after earning a doctorate in neuroscience, she gave up trying to find a permanent job...she took an administrative position at her university, experiencing firsthand an economic reality that, at first look, is counterintuitive: There are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs.
That reality runs counter to messages sent by President Obama and the National Science Foundation and other influential groups, who in recent years have called for U.S. universities to churn out more scientists.
Obama has made science education a priority, launching a White House science fair to get young people interested in the field.
But its questionable whether those youths will be able to find work when they get a PhD. Although jobs in some high-tech areas, especially computer and petroleum engineering, seem to be booming, the market is much tighter for lab-bound scientists those seeking new discoveries in biology, chemistry and medicine.
.....Although the injection of $10 billion in federal stimulus funds to the NIH from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created or retained 50,000 science jobs, according to the NIH, that money is running dry, putting those positions at risk....
....Ive listened to this stuff on the news about how we need more scientists and engineers, she said. Im thinking, What are you talking about? Were here. We need something to do besides manual labor for another academic person.
[Kim] Haas, the former drug company chemist, has even harsher words.....Haas said of her daughter. She loves chemistry, loves math. I tell her, Dont go into science. Ive made that very clear to her.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
April 12, 2012: "The Obama administrations top science and technology official ["Czar" John P. Holdren, 1968 co-author "The Population Bomb" - who in a 2008 New York Times op-ed, called climate change skeptics "dangerous" members of a "denier fringe."], has argued for the economic de-development of America, warned science students last Friday that the United States cannot expect to be number one forever.
We cant expect to be number one in everything indefinitely, Dr. John P. Holdren said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Holdren is director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and chairs the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST), making him the top science adviser in the administration.
......In a question-and-answer session with students after the talk, one student asked Holdren how the United States could move forward now that it is no longer the big shiny beacon where all scientists travel to do their research.
Holdren called it a mixed picture, and said it was not purely bad for the United States that other countries were making gains instead of us."......... White House Science Czar Tells Students: U.S. Cant Expect to Be Number One in Science and Technology Forever
April 12, 2010: "The Obama administrations top science and technology official ["Czar" John P. Holdren, 1968 co-author "The Population Bomb" - who in a 2008 New York Times op-ed, called climate change skeptics "dangerous" members of a "denier fringe."], has argued for the economic de-development of America, warned science students last Friday that the United States cannot expect to be number one forever."........
Sounds like a 10 Billion dollar can-kick to me.
Under ObamaCare, the will be no payments for “expensive therapies”. Hence, no further need for R&D dollars, researchers or sales force. All generic drug product lines will be sold off to third world countries. The US will continue to see widespread drug shortages of simple items.
Good luck getting the necessary meds you need to stay alive.
There are plenty of jobs for engineers. PHd lab rats are nothing but academic whores. They don’t deserve a job just because they have lost of book learning. Tell me you can design hardware or write good code or fix things or devise new insruments or better widgets that can be sold.... then you will have a job. Tell me you want to spend your time researching things that interest you and may or may not be useful??? Those guys are a dime a dozen.
As a university researcher, educator, and “trainer of scientists” I think the observation is accurate. But..... for any meaninful story, the headline should have read: “Scientisits are not excluded from Obama’s economic disaster. Job prospects among the bleakest in our country’s history.”
Do not seek a career dependent on government grants.....even a brain science Phd.
Aww, poor thing. She planned to live fat-n-happy off ‘hopey changie’ federal grants the rest of her life, just like those scam solar companies.
“Obama has made science education a priority, launching a White House science fair to get young people interested in the field.”
I wasn’t aware that was part of the powers of the Executive Branch. Silly me!!!!
Better increase the H1-b quotas. /sarc
In a related story...
Air Conditioning repairmen earning $100/hr. cannot keep up with demand for services.
There are jobs...I wouldn’t say plenty, for engineers but not for recent graduates. I just tried to help a graduating Lehigh university engineer to get a job, and although I’ve worked for 50 years in the chemocal business, I couldn’t help him.
I’m working still myself at 72 so I guess I’m taking someone’s job. But then they don’t have to pay me benefits and I don’t make as much as I used too, but now there are people with experience like me, available at the full cost of a new hire.
Don’t blame the new graduates. PhD’s are necessary and they were sold out by the system as the article says.
For fun, I recently took a course in math - after a 30 year gap. One of the things that struck me was how much of what I was studying existed for the pre-computer days. There were rules for how to anticipate the shape of a graph, or solve the equation, when everyone in the class knew their calculator could do it in 1-2 seconds. If you didn’t want to spend $100 on a calculator, there were online programs that would solve it and do 3-D graphs for free. I enjoyed the class, but it cured me of going back to school for a math degree.
Someone majoring in math would need to go outside of math to find work at anything under the PhD level.
I suspect the same is true of engineering. One engineer who knew what questions to ask and how to frame the problem could do the work of 20 engineers from the slide rule days.
I suspect many of the jobs requiring brains are now being ‘out-sourced’ to computers as well as India. It isn’t that the work has stopped, but that technology now allows one person to do the work of 10-20, which drops the demand way down.
All those non-union car plants in the country are looking for engineers, software developers, machinists and people who know robotics.
Thousands of jobs waiting to be had at great salaries. Insteal the colleges are turning out literature majors.
The WP headline is pretty misleading, as the article purports to be about “scientists” and mentions engineers, but is almost entirely devoted to only one group of fields -bioscience - and one industry - pharmaceuticals.
Not surprising there is a glut in this field as right about now is when all the people who were steered into the field by the biotech frenzy finally have gotten the PhDs only to find out it was a bubble.
Under ObamaCare, the will be no payments for expensive therapies
This depends on the current definition of expensive. Bandaids. asprin, pain and euthanasia pills are relatively cheap. Everyhing else can become defined as expensive ...
Two groups who vote overwhelmingly Democrat: PhDs and unemployed. Get someone to take on a mountain of student debt to get a PhD and then make sure he never gets a job and you’ll have a Democrat for life.
Yes. Phd is way overrated.
The bio-technology boom started in earnest around 2002 (think the anthrax scare just after 9/11) and lasted until about 2005. The government pour HUGE amounts of money into the area, then asked for the results and found none. The academics and government labs were like, “What? You wanted products? We don’t do products!” After that, the industry imploded.
You are spot on. Further, because Obamacare will further break the US bank there will be fewer and fewer dollars available for federal research grants. I know there are plenty here who don't think the federal government should be funding research, but unless there is an alternative there will be a marked reduction in American science, and this will put us behind in the world.
In my experience, there’s no better way to sabotage a product-development project than to let Ph.D’s run it.
I'm an MD, not a PhD, but the statement you make is overgeneralized. At some point in your life you likely had, or will have, some medication or medical intervention that was developed at least in part based on the efforts of PhDs. Having said that, those PhDs who traditionally vote democrat are screwing themselves, as well as the country in general.
I agree with the general premise of your comment, but would point out that pouring money into big pharma would likely have the same consequences. It is very difficult to develop viable therapeutics, which is why they wind up often being so expensive (until they are off patent). I think one of the big problems is that the people giving out money get suckered by hype too often (this includes venture capitalists as well as government funding agencies). True science doesn't need hype. Science has gone Hollywood to a great degree, and this has hurt it immensely.
I have a Chemistry degree and when I decided I wanted to go back to school, I decided to get an MBA instead of a Master’s or a pHD. This was for one simple reason, people who majored in the sciences/engineering typically have relatively no idea on people management or how a business work and I wanted those skills as well.
That being said, I still love science and I am happy that I have a degree in it, but I wouldn’t suggest it to kids getting degrees out there. It really can limit your upward mobility.
Also, I have met lots of pHD’s that I wonder how the hell they got their degree in the first place. They seem to be devoid of practical knowledge and common sense.
I think that may be true of non-science academic PhD's, and possibly some academic science PhD's. Most of the science and "working for businesses" PhD's I know are conservative.
The military and NASA cuts aren’t helping.
You have to distinguish between academic PhDs and private-industry PhDs. The PhD who depends on government grant money is naturally going to favor the expansion of government, because a bigger government will have more money to spend on an increasingly large number of topics.
The article was typical liberal SOP take one case where there is a science jobs problem then extrapolate it to all science career tracks.
The government empowers the credentialed over the competent. Naturally, the credentialed favor expansion of the power of government. The Democrats are the party of government. Therefore, most PhDs favor the Democrats, who recognize their “brilliance” and reward it proportionately. Same mootchal backscratching as between government unions and Democrats.
Just another of the many methods Obama is utilizing to destroy the United States. That’s what this is really about.
Perhaps of a certain age. Try being told by a headhunter their client is "looking for someone younger" and not even being retirement age.
There are technical fields in government military labs and warfare centers that are desperately short of engineers and/or PhDs, even with the cuts - where entire divisions have nobody under the age of 60. The problem is that they now have a smattering of 25 year old fresh out of college types, but then there is a huge hole in the middle. The Navy actually hired a lot of people out of the auto industry to try to fill that.
Going into defense has been “uncool” for quite a while (if you wanted to get laid, you tell girls you’re going to work for Solyndra, not the Naval Research Lab or Lockheed Martin), and there was a long period of time where Wall Street was siphoning off science and engineering talent for people to be “quants.”
...as we spend $40+ Billion on food stamps, things like basic research simply get crowded out.
...but, of course, people won’t figure that out.
So true. I’ve worked far a large biopharma company for 8 years and we’ve had several layoffs. The low hanging fruit of drug development are gone now so here we are.
One thing no one has mentioned is immigration. About one half of the scientists I work with come from other countries. Do we need to import scientists in this field?
“Yes. Phd is way overrated.”
The wife wouldn’t agree with you, but the kids are cheering for you!!
I believe law firms hire and send scientists and engineers to law school to help beef up their in-house knowledge and court expertise.
“I believe law firms hire and send scientists and engineers to law school to help beef up their in-house knowledge and court expertise.”
Many companies encourage scientists and engineers to go to law school to then practice patent law for the company. Many patent attorneys are dual degreed. I have worked with company patent attorneys on patent applications of my own inventions.
Even more so now: look at the ads from proprietary trading companies-- they all want physics and engineering grads to do financial calculations.
If we hadn't farmed out all manufacturing and a lot of high tech work overseas because of idiotic macro economic policies, perhaps they could work in more productive fields.
The Left complains that the US has 'favored' the financial industry. In fact, it's just that the financial industry is the only one that hasn't been completely mauled by out of control taxes (corporate, state and local) and strangled by an exploding regulatory system.
Yup if you are over forty you are in serious trouble. That’s when you hope that you have a serious specialty that someone desperately needs (lasers,electro-optics,mixed signal IC design) or you try and figure out a business you can start for yourself
The article was about folks who want to spend their careers in academia. I have no sympathy for them. You most definitely do NOT need a PhD to get a good engineering job. In fact of you have more than a bachelor’s some places are not even going to talk to you.
The truth is that jobs like her dream job are too expensive. She wants a tenured position and a lab to tinker around in?
Get serious. There are plenty of jobs in industry, but you have to work and do what is valuable. Not play for pay.
Credentialism and politics both work hard to undermine merit.