I think this quote from Professor George Whitesides in that NSF report of graduate education in the chemical sciences that I just mentioned is the headline quote for the entire report (from my perspective, anyway.) I don't believe I'm leaving out any necessary context for this comment:
Whitesides believes that the question should be asked whether PhD theses are narrow technical presentations for jobs that no longer exist. Should U.S. graduate students be doing organic synthesis if most organic synthesis is being done in China? “That’s not to say that these aren’t really important activities, but we need to connect our investment in graduate school with what’s actually needed to give jobs to students.”I am sure there is much to parse in that statement. However, such a question from a very prominent professor of chemistry demands an answer from our community as a whole.