Friday, November 1, 2013

Bayer/Change The Equation: there's a STEM shortage

Q: Is Difficult Recruitment Due to The Fact That I Won't Offer More?
Answer: A) No. B) No. C) Absolutely Not.
Credit: Bayer Powerpoint
Imagine my bemusement when I got an e-mail recently from a Bayer PR representative saying:
Dear Chemjobber, 
This week, Bayer launched its 16th Facts of Science Education Survey. I thought it might make a great blog for Chemjobber. 
Some story ideas: 
The STEM Workforce Shortage is NOT a Myth according to Fortune 1000 Talent Recruiters:
  • New Hires with STEM Degrees are Difficult to Find
  • Rising Demand and Fierce Competition for STEM Degree Holders
  • Unfulfilled STEM Jobs are Bad for Business (lost productivity, limits business growth and lower revenue)
Of all the gin joints in the world...

Robert Charette of IEEE (definitely the new hotness of STEM shortage skepticism) has done an admirable job taking this Bayer/Change The Equation survey of Fortune 1000 recruiters apart already, pointing out that, while about half of the recruiters say that there having difficulties finding talent, half of them say that they don't. Of course, in the comments, a recruiter shows up to prove his point (emphasis mine):
I'm currently trying to recruit engineers (CS and EE) in both the US and the UK and am finding it hard to pull in good hires even at degree level. At least in the UK we can draw on talent pools elsewhere in the EU so we're doing a lot of hiring from Greece and Spain. 
And yes, we are having to offer more money, but this just draws the workers to those with the deepest pockets and doesn't address the fundamental issue of a lack of good STEM graduates.
To the deepest pockets -- for shame! I'd be crying, if I wasn't laughing.

I'd like to point out the Powerpoint presentation that Bayer offers has the slide (on the above right), which indicates that 94% of the recruiters interviewed blamed their issues with recruiting on not having enough STEM graduates. I wonder if there should have been a followup question about whether or not these recruiters felt that offering higher wages might work. (I also wonder if they should have asked if they were simply bad at their jobs, but probably 94% of them would have said "No.")


Finally, I want to point out that all of this nonsense about "STEM" is really about computers, information technology and engineering, not biology, chemistry or mathematics. See the above table, where TE makes up 75% of the expected job growth in "STEM degree" positions. Yet one more reminder of 1) how stupid of an overgeneralization "STEM" is and 2) how "STEM" is really TE. 

21 comments:

  1. Half of the are recruiters having difficulties finding talent because would not know talent if it kicked them in the ass. Actually, I am surprised it's just half, really should be 90-95%.

    ReplyDelete
  2. After reviewing the power point, I can quickly see the flaws in their methodology.

    First, the word "qualified" is a problem. Why? Because employers these days want it all. They want their PhD. They want their twenty years of experience. And no, they don't want to pay them what they're worth. They want to pay them what you paid a fresh grad ten years ago. You don't have the crazy number of years experience working on an incredibly niche area? You don't have a doctorate and several postdocs under your belt? Too bad, you're not qualified. Even if you're more than capable. The problem with basing your questionnaire off the word "qualified" is that it's skews results towards unrealistic or irrelevant requirements for jobs these days because HR and (sometimes) hiring managers have forgotten about transferrable skills.

    Second, it appears that the power point is trying to advocate additional training for two-year degrees. I can tell you that in my concerted constant job search over the past three years, I can count on one hand the number of jobs open doing STEM that do NOT explicitly require a 4 year degree. Community colleges don't bother with additional training programs because they know that ultimately it would do nothing for a STEM worker, and might actually give them false hope.

    Third - the item "Does Current Workforce Shortage = Open, Unfilled STEM Jobs?" really does tell something about the jobs and the way that corporate culture is right now. They would rather leave a job open (and thus not spend that portion of their budget, making the manager of that group look good for good budgeting) than hire someone who doesn't meet every item in their pie-in-the-sky criteria than hire someone with transferrable skills.

    How funny that they wanted you to be their shill, CJ.

    ReplyDelete
  3. All this talk about "research" going on in pharmaceutical companies is laughable. The demise of this ridiculous smoke and mirror show will be good for everyone in the long run. Unfortunately it will take a generation to flush out these idiots that call themselves scientists. They dont even have the street sense to realize they were part of nothing more than snake oil sales. This idea of trying to do real things based upon tyrannical academic style management practices is a joke. "It doesn't matter that you developed something that advanced the research and saved the company money, YOU were not selected to participate in our little club".

    ReplyDelete
  4. Honestly, whats in the news today, Pfizer being sued because Zoloft proved no more effective than placebo..... how much lying BS do you think went on in the hallowed halls of "research" during that project?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting, very interesting: http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/10/29/62433.htm

      Short take: I don't buy the non-efficacy claims, but it'll be interesting to see what shakes out of the lawsuit. (I have no trouble believing the ghostwriting claims, sadly.)

      Delete
    2. 60 minutes had an episode which suggested that very few anti-depressants work no better than Placebos. No big surprise here.

      Heck, just go outside and run for 10 minutes and you will feel a lot better. If you went vegan, you would probably never need a drug from a pharmaceutical company...

      Delete
    3. Sure, you would heal thyself with non-chemicals infinitely diluted in structured water.

      Delete
  5. It's infuriating to see stuff like this right after reading about yet more pharma layoffs.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Striking number of trolls... or I simply fail to see the poster's sarcasm. Yes - that 10 min run could reveal a lurking cardiac issue in a 45+ year-old, and they will feel better if they survive the first event thanks to modern medicines. Eat your veggies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I contend if all Americans went vegan starting age 20 (although it is never too late), exercised, and if Medicare was allow to negotiate prices for drugs all of the pharamaceutical companies would all be brought to their knees in 20 years. *cackles*

      Delete
    2. One presumes that they would shift their focus to pain meds (for exercise pain) and "jogging nipple" cures. There'd be a fair bit of money in that.

      If Medicare was allowed to negotiate prices in the next 5-10 years, I assume that the modern pharma industry would shrink by 30% immediately. Perhaps I exaggerate.

      Delete
    3. a vegan life is a life unlived

      Delete
    4. I contend that if all Americans went JW starting age 20 all the pharamaceutical companies would go out of business in a year.

      Delete
  7. I would say it's more TEM than just TE.... but that's just because math majors can easily moonlight as computer scientists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's a fair point, Aaron, but my perspective is that there are so few math majors (as compared to other disciplines) that they're sort of a rounding error in the overall math. Perhaps I am wrong.

      Also, actual math-related jobs are a very small percentage of predicted job growth: http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2013/03/once-more-with-feeling-computer-science.html

      I suspect that the M was added because it's hard to pronounce "STE" (on top of math being important, key, etc.)



      Delete
    2. What really happened is some Harvard-educated boy/girl on Capitol Hill was tasked to come up with a catchy term, so that its sales potential would be maximized, and STEM was the answer. They do it all the time - think PATRIOT or CANSPAM.

      Delete
    3. CJ: here's an interactive site that tracks all majors (although chemistry is lumped into 'physical sciences') going back to 1970. Math appears to currently account for 1% of degrees, physical sciences for 2% of degrees, life sciences for 13%.

      http://benschmidt.org/Degrees/

      Delete
  8. Wasn't Bayer the one who fired Derek Lowe and a bunch of other people a while back? Maybe they wouldn't have all this difficulty in finding people if they kept them on the payroll just a few years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Vegan diet = WTF (why this food)

    ReplyDelete