What Scientist Shortage?

The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

What Scientist Shortage?


"Do We Need More Scientists?" by Michael S. Teitelbaum, in The Public Interest (Fall 2003), 1112 16th St., N.W., Ste. 140, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Since the mid-1980s, university administrators, corporate employers, and government agencies have been warning of a dire shortage of native-born scientists and engineers. Last year, the National Science Board warned that the shortfall could "seriously threaten our long-term prosperity, national security, and quality of life." Isn't it strange, then, asks Teitelbaum, program director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to read newspaper reports about big layoffs of scientists and engineers in the computer, telecommunications, and aerospace industries, and stories about newly minted science and engineering Ph.D.'s who can't find stable jobs?

What all the highly publicized warnings of impending crisis lack, says Teitelbaum, is solid evidence. There is no "strong upward pressure on real wages" for the nation's 3.5 million scientists and engineers, and unemployment in science and engineering is as high as it is in other education-intensive professions. …

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