Don't think following the AMA's tactics is going to work for Scientists & Engr.s because we don't quite have the same leverage as MDs. But there are still quite a few other things we can do :
1. Engr.s are one of the most passive group among professionals, we can't remain sitting ducks any more. Need to take charge of our future, get more involved in policy making
2. Raise subscription and fund very high quality studies on Corporate behavior, labor policy,past history, role of finance, Govt. interaction, true demand for STEM grads, etc. Comparison of US industry with Germany etc. Gap analyses on a solid Engr. footing.
3. Publicize these findings, Fight on the ground where we have a natural advantage - Data. When it comes to data-driven argument who can beat Scientists and Engr.?
4. Hold debates both online and at various State legislatures Do not let opponents confuse / get away with spurious arguments
5. Get your local Politicians to pitch in, make them walk the talk, rate them according to friendliness to US workers. name & shame
I've seen people get laid off and I've seen outsourced workers hired on H1B visas to replace them. I believe it is pure economics - a money saving arrangement. If H1B workers were paid the prevailing labor rates and if the domestic workers were provided the job training that the visa workers receive, H1B visas would disappear (or at least shrink significantly). As it is, the H1B workers provide low cost labor - and if they return to their native land, they may bring home the expertise they gained during their "paid 9internship" in the USA. Too many skilled workers are still unemployed. I'd like to see an honest effort made to fill domestic jobs with domestic labor.
Their sole purpose was to stop the big increases in engineering salaries happening in the 80s. If US universities are so bad, then why do foreign students flock to them? If US engineers are so bad then why isn't the US being left behind? Most of the time when US companies fell behind, like in the automotive industry in the 70s, it wasn't the engineers. It was the business school trained managers with degrees in finance who wanted things made cheaply and uniformly (cadillacs with chevy motors) to take advantage of "economies of scale". How did all those lousy US engineers produce so much of what we take for granted today in the electronics and software world? Did somebody just flick a switch and every US student became an idiot?
Most of the work done by H-1Bs is not high level work requiring special talent. It is low level garbage like "software test". I know I did this work before I retired to stay employed after the defense blow out of the 1990s. Anybody with an AA degree in CS and some decent ability could do what I did and I had an MS. We hired plenty of H-1Bs, to do even less sophisticated work that never actually looked at the underlying hardware and stayed at the high level language level.
In the 1990s the PhDs went to Wall Street becuase salaries for science and engineering talent had not kept pace with the rest of the business world and they could make far more money on Wall Street. Most engineers and scientists are not on the factory floor, they are in R&D labs or developing the prototypes that will be put into production. If the pay in engineering what was what it should be, they would still be at the company R&D facilities and not on Wall Street.
In the real world of aquiring talent, 10K per employee is peanuts. The idea that 10K is such a large hurdle that keeps companies from hiring H-1Bs flies in the face of what recruitment costs are. What does it cost to relocate an employee from another part of the country? When I was at Hughes Aircraft Company and they decided to move their engineering from California to Arizona they gave every engineer a 30K relocation package and valuable employees were given extras under the table. That was in 1994 after the devastation of the defense industry when people should have been willing to move themselves to keep their jobs. With inflation what is 30K worth today - 50 , 80, or 100K?
Interesting article, but unfortunately it's an article pushing for immigration reform. As such, it conflates two totally different discussions: the need to attract capable STEM talent and the much bigger problem of uncontrolled, illegal immigration.
Still, though, it cannot be impossible to confirm or deny that half of young STEM graduates cannot find STEM jobs?
Why are we as practicing Scientists & Engr.s falling for all the white noise being put out by the Corp.s, Politicians and their PR people re: Supply & Demand of STEM grads ? Are n't we supposed to be clear - headed enough to look at confusing ( " purposely " ? ) data and extract the true root cause for problems ? Isn't that what we do most of the time at work ? The truth is that US Corp.s, their MBAs and their Wall St. Money Managers take the domestic customer base ( thats us ) for granted, they want the extra profit by spreading into fresh markets overseas. To do so competitively they need to cut costs and one way to do so is create a surplus of STEM grads here so salaries can be driven down / import H1 B Visa holders who would not demand a fair wage. Yet US Corp.s want to maintain their HQs in the US as their Sr. Executives and their families want to enjoy the safe and predictable lifestyle in the US. Given such a situation we must ask ourselves can we afford to remain above the fray or do we have to alter our own priorities and behavior to protect our own marketability and maintain a predictable lifestyle for our own families.
A Book For All Reasons Bernard Cole1 Comment Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...