Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ACS presidential candidates on #chemjobs issues, 2012 edition

What isn't a nothingburger is the difference in the ACS presidential candidates' statements on problems in employment in chemistry. Here are links to the statements from Dr. Barton and Professor Echegoyen. Here's the comparison:


I'm intensely skeptical that the office of the ACS president has any power, so I'm not really convinced that any of this matters in the short- or the long run. But it's apparent that Dr. Barton thinks that the issue is worth a mention.

(For those intensely curious, both candidates last year thought #chemjobs were worth a mention.) 

7 comments:

  1. I think the substance of what both candidates wrote was identical.

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    1. I think I might disagree, but I cannot discount the possibility. Certainly, the effect will be the same.

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  2. If we were talking about an orange-ribbon task force then yes, I'd say there was value. Blue-ribbon? Forget it.

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  3. What should they be doing? I assume companies are not leaving or shifting jobs out of country because they can't find trained workers - they're leaving because they can find trained workers far more cheaply than here, because other countries are willing to subsidize their businesses more strongly or allow them to avoid troublesome environmental regulation, to get leverage in new and potential large (and, they hope, eventually lucrative) markets, to save money on taxes, to wipe the labor slate clean (to attempt to reset salaries and benefits and move them significantly downward) or because of feedstock or other direct economic reasons. I don't think that there's a set of options to deal with these issues that anyone can agree on, and no entity that would have the power to do anything (the federal government) is likely to be willing to do anything for them anyway.

    Given that, I don't know what would be reasonable to expect. I think help with networking, and with improving our skills (so even if no one will pay us, we can do something useful) would help. Since a chunk of membership is academic and needs students to do research, I don't think you can count on even a reasonable "Yeah, you know all that stuff about how we need many more scientists? Well, we can't employ the ones we have now, much less those who are in school, and no, they aren't lazy, dumb b@stards." reply to all those "We need more scientists, now!" articles. It would be preferable, though, if the ACS presidential candidates actually bothered to care about employment, if only to provide evidence that they actually paid attention to what is happening to the chemistry world.

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    1. You've done a great job of outlining the "pros" of oursourcing, and these are things that every MBA understands. It would be reasonable to expect the American Chemical Society to advertise the benefits of staying in or relocating to America. Even a figurehead like ACS president could do something in that regard.

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  4. Look, why do you even bother? So, last year we had these two paper-pushers to vie for the post. They talked about chemjobs in their candidate statements, nevermind that neither ever worked as a chemist. One of them won, but I won't be wasting time checking which one. Have he/she said anything on the topic since then? I did not think so.
    But it does not even matter, ACS president is just a figurehead, an illusion designed to fool suckers, who pay the dues that their voice matters, while in reality the society is a publishing house run by a self-appointed manager.

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  5. Last year was the first year in 30 years of being an ACS member in which I did not bother to submit a vote for president. I felt that neither candidate had a clue about the employment situation for chemists.

    It appears that it'll be the same this year.

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