Thursday, December 17, 2015

The "skills gap" cake is baked

Via my weekly dose of pain (a Google alert for the term "skills gap"), this fun little ranking of the "most difficult jobs to fill" for the 3rd quarter of 2015 by the American Staffing Association (the trade association, I presume, for the staffing industry):
  1. Podiatrists
  2. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators
  3. Occupational therapists
  4. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  5. Psychiatrists
  6. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
  7. Internists, general
  8. Physical therapists
  9. Speech-language pathologists
  10. Occupational therapy assistants
What I find hilarious about this list is how highly specialized they are, and how the supply of these positions are fixed for a period of time that is measured in years, if not decades. How long does it take to train a podiatrist? I presume that, for psychiatrists, the "post-bac to completed residency" time period is longer than 8 years. OTs? 2-3 years at least, right? 

The only one on this list that I suspect is somewhere close to "possible to address in one year" are the "heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers", although as someone who drives a smallish car, I sure would like those folks to be more experienced, as opposed to less. 

22 comments:

  1. I always knew that my shrink had made the correct career decision. Her job can't be outsourced.

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    1. Exactly. And people will need shrinks to deal with the re-org/layoffs/'new initiatives.'

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    2. Every day someone tells me that I should have no trouble finding another job. Every day someone tells me to get a teaching certificate, after hearing about their experience of barely passing their chemistry classes. They don't seem to understand the impact of outsourcing on the industry, but then are brainwashed by the STEM shortage propaganda.

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    3. you would be amazed: HMOs have been replacing shrinks with bloody psychologists who could do "cognitive therapy" talk sessions, and they have one certified nurse on staff to write the antidepressant scripts for the fake doctors. Everyone takes less than half of what they would have to spend on qualified shrinks. These mental pseudocare workers are seriously dangerous - they don't know enough to recognize potentially dangerous side-effects of the antipsychotics they prescribe, they don't know the difference between depression and depressive phase of bipolar disorder and so on. If you give Wellbutrin or Celexa instead of lithium to a bipolar patient, the chances are he turns into frank maniac and ends up killing someone when driving a car.

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  2. Heavy tractor trailer driving jobs won't exist in 10 years

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  3. @Generic Chemist, I know people who Skype with their shrink. He or she is really just technical support for your emotional wellbeing, right?

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  4. Photographic process workers?! I guess they're also having a hard time finding typewriter repairmen!

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  5. @Generic Chemist--over the past few decades, the typical insurance company's willingness to reimburse has gone from "talk to the patient until they're healthy" to "you have twelve minutes with the patient to figure out which prescription to write". Psychiatrist compensation has followed. If your insurance company offers more, you're doing very well.

    @CJ--I've always wondered if tractor trailer drivers are a special subset of large truck drivers. I work in the middle of a warehouse district in New Jersey, and spend every commute surrounded by trucks of every size and shape. The tractor trailer drivers generally easy to drive with. It's the medium truck drivers that make sudden lane changes (looking like they don't know where they're going), drift around in their lanes, etc.

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    1. 1. Unfortunately, it is a crap shoot to get on the right meds, then you have to get off the med - no picnic from my understanding. For many reasons, I didn't want to go down that road. A doctor told me that you'd be surprised how many people are on Xanax and how much they are taking.

      2. The 'steering wheel holders' evolved after people started to try trucking since they had no other options. Most drivers are courteous and trying to protect their CDL.

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  6. I assume the shortage of general internists is because, relative to other things you could do with the MD, it doesn't pay nearly as much (I thought there was something similar with GPs). That need could probably be met relatively quickly (because at least some people have the necessary skills or could learn them, I think), but you'd have to pay them. The whole point of a "skills gap" declaration, it seems, is to avoid doing that.

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    1. I have also heard that it's become nothing but political BS they have to deal with. So much so that they can barely do their jobs. That and the money.

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  7. Wow. I don't know whether to be flattered or annoyed by the conversation which I may have instigated. It's kind of like sitting down in my favorite Palo Alto dive bar and striking up a conversation with one of the many biologists, physicists or engineers who are down here. We can make a conversation about almost anything!

    Hey, Anonymouse: people can skype with their shrink? Are the shrinks in the US, India or the Phillippines? In preparation for Christmas, yesterday I was trying to send my kid in Europe some fancy Abercrobie-Fitch collogne. In a chat with their US internet store, I seem to have spoken with some 3rd worlder who was trying to use hipster English. It was pretty funny.

    Before CJ comments that we're getting off topic I will mention the outcome of attempting to VOLUNTEER for a local start-up. While it seemed that like I passed the interview with flying colors, one of the organic chemists working (less than a year past his post-doc) there commented to me that I have "so much more experience" than him. Of course, I was anticipating this question, and had an answer ready for him: "yeah, but it's not relevant to this job". While there are a number of explanations possible for receiving the boiler plate "good luck" e-mail, who knows what the real reason was?

    Finally a little riddle for you: Q: How many "good luck" wishes do you have to receive before you can trade them in for a real job?

    Hohoho

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    1. Curious about this. "Volunteering" as in "I would like to work at your company for the experience" or was this a formal position with a posting, interviews, etc? Did they post on Craigslist? I never made it over the hump of no experience/no job myself. Postdoc until hair starts graying, always wanted industry and never got it, and now chemistry doesn't need me anymore. Believe me I went around offering to work for 'experience', to help in a part-time way, to do contract work on-spec, nothing.

      Turns out, though, that you can get into public school teaching with that exact same attitude. I suspect that this is more the rule than the exception - a 'go getter' who wanted to code apps or drive trucks or run sound & lighting systems would probably be welcomed, from all I"ve heard - chemistry is pretty barricaded and I don't know why. Which is funny because people always complain about the teachers union for example, but it seems that chemistry is locked down worse than any union. Who do you know? Got an 'in'? Get out if you don't.

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    2. @Generic Chemist, with your question about skyping with a shrink. My sister moved cross country 6 months ago, so it's not really outsourcing, but the principle remains... As a side-note, it seems like my original post got swallowed up somewhere.

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    3. It's not in the spam folder and I did not delete any comments. Feel free to e-mail me if you want me to search for it.

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    4. for some reason, I couldn't see half the comments on this post. Best guess is my browser is having issues again. Sorry if my message seemed passive-aggressive.

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    5. No passive-aggressiveness detected - just always trying to make commenter experience good.

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    6. Hi "Anon December 19, 2015 at 5:07 PM"

      In answer to your question: no, I didn't respond to an advert on Craig's List. I just contacted a few local companies, which I had either noticed or even spontaneously applied for. Last week, a "good luck" e-mail arrived from them. Completely clueless why. Especially considering the text of their e-mail:
      "Dear ------,
      Thank you for checking in.

      The team enjoyed meeting with you and learning about your experience. At this time, we prefer not to proceed with a consultancy, and, at this time, are not actively hiring.

      We wish you the best with your career endeavors.

      Best wishes for the holiday season,"

      It's odd how, while companies nevertheless get the message over, they still misrepresent the original premise under which I wrote to them.

      BTW, earlier this week, I e-mailed several STEM-shortage deniers and invited them to follow this blog. CJ was cc-ed on it.

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    7. GC, I will not countenance publishing of e-mails of private individuals.

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  8. Chemjobber, you are erroneous in claiming that those e-mail addresses were from private individuals. Of course, I would not provide their private e-mail addresses, because their private lives are no one's business. Those were the PROFESSIONAL e-mail addresses of two people with NPR. One was in Philadelphia and the other was in Pittsburgh. All three have claimed in _public_ broadcasts that there was a shortage of "STEM" workers. One further e-mail address was from a private organization. I have spoken with all three of them over the telephone. The fourth one was from another organization, in spite of their using a gmail.com domain.

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    1. You are not welcome to attempt to leverage this blog for your campaigns against reporters you disagree with.

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  9. Sorry but your assertion has many holes in it.

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