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Why Arenít Our STEM Graduates Hired?

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RGARVIN640
User Rank
Manager
Re: former h1
RGARVIN640   8/8/2013 9:49:13 AM
Given the current salary structures at most tech companies, the only workers that HR can hire to meet approved budgets are H1's. This is the main problem, as salaries have been flat, to slightly down, for the last 10 years. IF you were a HS student in the top 5% of your class, and you did just a little research on career fields and their salary levels, you would never choose STEM over a Law or finance degree. Just loooking at Ph'd level graduates, the salaries for the the first 5 years are very close, but after the 5 year mark, STEM salary increases flatten out, while those in the law and financial industries continue upward. This is not true for those companies run by engineering and science graduates, but for the majority who work for CEO's who are not, it is a common occurance.

garydpdx
User Rank
CEO
Everybody is right, it is a complex problem
garydpdx   8/4/2013 10:48:44 AM
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It's not just a US problem, other western countries are facing this, too.  Sorry to be late to this discussion but a Pando Daily article that just came out highlights each of the issues/problems:

http://pandodaily.com/2013/08/02/stem-talent-its-a-distribution-problem/


What is new may be the impact of labor immobility within the US, where the US is (or has been?) one of the most mobile societies on Earth, I'm not sure if it is worse now or that demand has now made it more severe.  I know that a long while ago, at a major firm, we had people decline offers because they preferred to stay in upstate New York.


And I have seen people leave STEM for more lucrative fields.  One friend is an American born and raised in Queens, NY who finished a Ph.D. EE in semiconductor materials, then promptly went to law school, and is now a leading patent attorney based in Manhattan. On LinkedIn this past week, I reconnected with a friend who moved from a great career as a geological engineer to managing a commodities investment fund.  I have told friends not to discourage their childrent from pursuing STEM studies since that knowledge would be valuable in other areas if they don't make it a lifetime career.


The Pando article does have an interesting point from a commenter and that is the issue of talent.  More than once, I have been involved in recruiting for positions (in the US and outside) where all the candidates, domestic or foreign, were AWFUL. Just because someone is local, and available, doesn't mean you can do the job.  There is a level where your passport(s) should NOT be a job qualification.


The IT cheap labor/outsourcing issue is muddling up other areas because someone who gets a visa there means that somebody who (e.g.) solved one of Facebook's posted programming challenges or is recruited by (e.g.) Intel for its semi foundry development (where many positions do require a Ph.D.) don't get one if the quota runs out.  We never hear about those problems in modeling and professional sports (seriously, has anybody heard of a local beer leaguer challenging the move of a NHL hockey player from the main team to the Grand Rapid Griffins?  Or in baseball?).  Maybe the US is trying to do too much with one visa program.


any1
User Rank
CEO
Re: Better Jobs? Where?
any1   7/29/2013 3:05:25 PM
@mcgrathdylan - These freshly minted engineers at the credit union aren't bundling securties or overseeing mergers and acqusitions, they are just trying to identify what characteristics can be found that can predict certain behaviors of the credit union customers - like defaulting on a loan, not paying the full balance on their credit card, etc.  If the credit Union can identify which of their customers will have certain tendencies (based on data that the credit union has on their past behaviors, or demographics, or whatever other pertinent data they might have about them)  they can optimize their lending practices, or learn to attract certain kinds of new clients (more profitable ones), etc.  These engineers are mostly just following the money. This helps the credit union understand the dynamics of their internal money flow and where, why and how they are making or losing money, and what rates they should be charging  for various services.  The credit union has correctly assumed that it is much harder to teach complex data analysis skills than it is to teach a few relatively simple accounting concepts. 

mcgrathdylan
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Blogger
Re: Better Jobs? Where?
mcgrathdylan   7/29/2013 2:04:28 PM
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@any1- wow. that is very interesting. I am really surprised to hear your neighbor say that engineers make excellent financial analysts without any special training. I mean, engineers are smart and I don't doubt that they make good financial analysts and that they could do a lot of other things well, too. I just figured that with so many people going to school specifically to get a job like that, it's a bit of a surprise to see that a bank would consider hiring a freshly minted engineer who has not studied for that field. I guess I'm glad to know that an engineering graduate has that option open to him or her, but that sounds kind of ominous for the profession, if that avenue and presumably big money are open to them.

any1
User Rank
CEO
Re: Better Jobs? Where?
any1   7/29/2013 1:47:08 PM
Financial services (not just "Wall Street") are a much larger part of the US economy than they used to be, and they do employ a fair amount of technical talent.  My neighbor is a vice president at a credit union.  He tells me they are always hiring  software, computer hardware, network, and IT professionals.  In addition he found that engineers make excellent "financial analysts" (even with little to no special financial traning), and he hired three recent engineering graduates just for their ability to data mine and find trends in statistics of loan and credit card operations.  I also know a coworker whose son just graduated this May with a degree in business IT and started at $68,0000/yr.  Business IT is probably not classified as a STEM major, but it seems to pay a lot more than say, a BS in biology, that is considered STEM. 

RKab
User Rank
Rookie
former h1
RKab   7/29/2013 1:10:15 PM
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As a former h1, i think the phenomenon for hiring h1 and not new us born stem grads has myraid reasons. I am just making some points here:  1) competition for entry level jobs from abroad. in my f100 company, there were many entry-level people who were actually from east/south asia with over 5/7/10 years experience. they were willing to start at entry-level in the usa to get a start in this country, some for their children education etc. they are ok to stay there 2-5 years to get experience and then move on to a slightly higher position in another company. for a lot of them, US pay is comparable to far east -but a lot less work and better work culture and compared to south asia, pay is at least 60% higher. just the above makes it difficult for the entry level person here to compete.

2) The top 80% of the top 30 engg colleges always get recruited. Plus the grads from any univ with good contacts.  The outliers and the people in colleges below now who dont have many professional contacts have to compete with 1). The expereienced people from abroad trying for these jobs outnumber the grads from smaller colleges by at least 2:1.


3) Most companies have a bottleneck on the career ladder. poeple who should have retired have not because of hte economic conditions and healthcare fears. this trickles (actually it is a gushing stream) down and people who whould be senior are still at entry level - so the new college grad has to compete with them.  some companies force out senior people who then work in a lower level position in startups - positions which would have gone to a new college grad.


4) And how many companies now are really growing? Growth in terms of people in the USA? Very few - most jobs are created abroad. In fact,the tech industry is facing a 2nd wave of outsourcing led by smaller towns with lower income in the outsourced country.

5) Despite the claims otherwise, unless there is a control or limit on the poeple coming in or a limit on outsourcing, this trend is here to stay.

realtimeshary
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Freelancer
Re: Foreign engineers are willing to "pay" companies to sponsor them!
realtimeshary   7/29/2013 12:36:37 PM
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Another real factor, Most US raised readers are not aware aware that most European/East/West/ ex British colonies whose education is modelled on the UK O/A levels start thier Alzebra/calculus/physics edecution at age 13. so a larger pool ready for the challenges of modern STE, if they decide to go in the sciences. About 60 percent are exposed simple linear / quadratic equations by age 14.

realtimeshary
User Rank
Freelancer
Re: Where are those grads?
realtimeshary   7/29/2013 12:19:05 PM
http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/appendix.htm#c2

The web site above by the NSF tabulates the undergrads and grads by hard numbers sliced diced many ways colleges / ethnicity etc. Not very hard for a think tank to cross - check and refute, but none can because it's correct and open information.

none of the posts here are from unemployed lamenting joblessness, but from employees lamenting salaries, and anti-protective trade in the labor market,(look at protectyive medical labor marlet - great for the docs, not the consumer) . Mine is an actual experience of an actual mid size busniess unable to hire due to lack of supply.

 

smartbost
User Rank
Rookie
Foreign engineers are willing to "pay" companies to sponsor them!
smartbost   7/29/2013 11:04:16 AM
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I know many young foreign engineers who will work for nothing (or next to notyhing) to get an American company to sponsor them. The legal cost is nothing. Once they have a green card, they can do as they please. There is no way that a STEM grad from an American school with $100K of student loans can match that! We are kidding ourselves if we look at the problem from a minscule angle. The problem is systemic and complex. US STEM students, as bright as they are, will end up with other jobs to pay teh bills while foreign grads with NO student loan (Engineering educxation is free in India, China, Europe, and Canada) will take the jobs for less money in order to gain access to a green card and supress the salaries. That explains the number PERFECTLY!!!

rick merritt
User Rank
Author
Conflicting numbers
rick merritt   7/28/2013 9:09:42 PM
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Thanks for pointing to these studies.

For as long as I have been with EE Times, management in electronics companies have claimed there's a lack of engineers and engineering groups have claimed management is filling positions with lower cost H1-B folks while domestic engineers go unemployed.

Getting to the bottom of the situation has been difficult due to conflicting numbers from different studies.

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