Are American Engineers in Short Supply?

The 60% figure seems to be made up. US citizens earned 82% of CS degrees, 79.5% of engineering degrees, and 85.9% of all STEM degrees in the USA according to the 2008 figures from the US Dept of Education's NCES (where STEM includes biology, communications technology, computer and information sciences, engineering, engineering technology, physical sciences, mathematics and statistics). But counts and percentages of degrees earned don't tell the whole story. NSF reported some time ago, that 44% of professional computer wranglers in the USA did not have degrees with majors in computing, and about 22% of engineers did not have degrees with majors in engineering, and that would seem to include those with minors in those fields, those with degrees in completely different fields (some of the best software developers have backgrounds in music, classical languages, psychology, etc.), people who have no degrees but may have some university education (from 1 to 130 credit hours which may or may not fit into the rigid combinations of degree requirements), and autodidacts -- those who bought the books and the tools and learned on their own. Still, the academics who study STEM job markets have been reporting that we've been turningout about 3 times as many US citizens with STEM degrees as we've been employing in STEM jobs. How many US citizen non-founder autodidact STEM workers have Jacobs and other tech execs been hiring over the last 20 years? And why focus on new young college grads instead of looking at the huge pool of bright, industrious, experienced US STEM workers who are unemployed and underemployed?
— March 10, 2011 11:29 a.m.

Comparatively, Tech Workers Haul in Bucks in San Diego

"The DOL requires employers to pay wages that are at least equal to the actual wage paid to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job, pay the prevailing wage for the job, whichever is greater." That's not quite honest. They are supposedly required to pay the "prevailing wage", but "prevailing wage" is a term of art and not what it is intended to seem to the public to mean, not the actual local market compensation for the specific work, experience, credentials, etc. It's by the "job title", and not linked to credentials, experience, etc. They are supposed to provide similar benefit packages, but, because guest-workers are "temporary" workers, they receive "temporary worker" benefit packages which are quite a bit less than real employees. And by the time it's all filtered through a bodyshop, the actual compensation ends up being, as Vandrevala confessed, 25% to 35% below that of US STEM workers with real jobs (note that Miano had found hourly rates for guest-workers that were "only" 12%-15% below local market compensation). An employer can even pay all of his, e.g. "software developers" at a particular facility well below local market compensation, and thus rationalize also underpaying the guest-workers. They can legally put a person into a position that is well below his abilities and experience, but have them do any work in the range from the level of job they're being paid for to what they're able to do, and thus pay them well below the local market compensation. Then there's the "we consider you to be salaried professionals" scam by which they avoid paying at all for hours worked over 40 per week, let alone the "time and a half" that is the norm... and don't try to get by working only 40 hours per week, either. That's not to imply I have a lot of respect for academic credentials. I've seen great software product developers doing R&D on commercial products, who were still in high school, some who had only a year or two of university course-work, and others who had degrees in music or psychology or Latin and Greek literature. One firm profiled in the Wall Street Journal said they hired only programmers with music backgrounds and said they had lower turn-over and absenteeism, and better esprit de corp. One of the illegal under-payment scams publicized in 2006 by an investigative reporter... let's see... Matt Wickenheiser of the _Portland ME Press Herald_, was applying on the basis of the guest-worker being located in a low cost of living/low pay work-place, but using a mail-drop or rented closet "office" and actually sending the guest-worker to a high cost of living/high pay location to do the job. There was a more recent case of a bodyshop with a phony office in Iowa and work being done in New Jersey; and they even tried to beat up and otherwise lean on the whistle-blower... who was wearing a wire. Gotcha! :B-)
— January 10, 2011 11:48 a.m.

Comparatively, Tech Workers Haul in Bucks in San Diego

A STEM degree requires more intelligence to begin with, more work to learn the material (more course hours, class-room time, labs, after-hours work, etc.), and more expensive books and materials and classes. Of course, those who are good at it should be paid more than average. In fact, since the very best can produce more than the next 12, they should be paid quite a bit more. Some guest-workers are well-educated at US tax-victim expense. Most are savvy BSers. Very few are actually bright. Most guest-workers are in the bottom quartile according to US DoL, and an examination of the job descriptions and pay show that even the near-best of them are doing mediocre work at mediocre tasks. Even those sponsored for green cards are typically paid only 1.001 times the median, while Tata's Vandrevala admitted that they're typically paid 25%-35% below US local market compensation. We need to bar those mediocre visa applicants, and pick the genuinely best and brightest -- the top 0.5% -- for admission to our universities and guest-work opportunities. Dozens of university/academic studies show we've long been producing as many as 3 times the number of US citizen STEM workers demanded for STEM work. graphs of numbers of degrees earned (US DoE NCES), pay (not total compensation), employment, unemployment, duration of unemployment, BLS IT and STEM work-force estimates, etc.:
— January 10, 2011 9:17 a.m.

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