Vastag's article is a fantastic writeup of the situation. I have some small points to make, which I've written up here. Go over there and tell me your thoughts!
A quick note -- one of the pharma scientists makes this comment:
Haas, the former drug company chemist, has even harsher words. She plans to “get out of Jersey and get out of science” when her daughter graduates from high school in two years. “She’s very good at everything, very smart,” Haas said of her daughter. “She loves chemistry, loves math. I tell her, ‘Don’t go into science.’ I’ve made that very clear to her.”Obviously, this is sad and one would rather that chemists could encourage their kids to get into their field and become proud members of NAICS 325.*
That said, don't all parents say some version of , "Kid, you don't want to go into my field -- there's gotta be a better way of making a living"? (My Dad doesn't -- he's an engineer and he thinks it's a great field.) But it seems like just about everyone thinks that way -- why should scientists be any different?
*See this comment for my clarification of the statement.