STEM career viability in a winner-take-all society…

March 29th, 2014

Working World Bell JarIn a previous post regarding STEM career viability I promised more installments on my own personal journey as a biomedical scientist.   But we are going to take a brief detour from academic biomedical research and biotech and make a brief stop in Silicon Valley.  The reason for this is to highlight some basic meat and potatoes compensation issues that are trending through many, if not most STEM career tracks.

Yves Smith of Naked Captialism just posted a blog on the justice department response to a massive wage suppression (price-fixing)  conspiracy that has ensnared the likes of Apple, Google, Dell, Dreamworks, Comcast – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest of this entry »

STEM Career Viability – Where’s the Beef?

March 22nd, 2014

STEM education programs are hot…

OK, so we’ve woken up to the fact that we are falling behind in science and technology.  Almost everyone is making a massive fuss over STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.  In higher education circles, it seems like everyone is climbing onto the STEM bandwagon.  It seems like almost everyday I hear about a new STEM program.  Some campuses are even building  STEM centers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hiring collusions impacting engineers salaries? NO! Really???

March 3rd, 2014

Its all over the media.  There is a huge “skills-mismatch” in the US.  In spite of high unemployment, millions of jobs in the so-called “STEM”  (science, technology, engineering and math)  fields are going begging because employers can not get enough “qualified” Americans to fill those positions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Of shareholder profits, leveraged buyouts and “crapification”…

February 21st, 2014

Two recent articles caught my eye and relating to what I call the STEM conundrum.  In a country that has been wringing their hands over a supposed STEM crisis, we find that Facebook – perhaps the ultimate employer of a geeks in the US is switching its focus from development to acquiring sales staff!

Read the rest of this entry »

The feasibility factor – when a wage-mismatch stifles STEM…

February 18th, 2014

In a recent post, Jared Bernstein gave voice to an issue that I have long been concerned about:  the feasibility of many STEM career tracks.  With all the hand-wringing about STEM, the facts surrounding wage stagnation and even depression are being blithely ignored. Everyone is bemoaning the so-called “skills-mismatch” without considering whether the salaries being offered are commensurate or even doable given the required years and cost of training for these careers.  Education is expensive and the “numbers” have to work for people to even bother entering certain career tracks.

Read the rest of this entry »

When the wealth of a few jeopardizes the security of the many…

January 29th, 2014

Raspberry & Mandarin cheesecakeThe President is making his State of the union address tonight. We have been told to look forward to a speech dominated by issue of “income inequality”.   A divisive issue – most certainly, but timely and long overdue as the centerpiece of  domestic policy.

In a recent column in the New York Times (The Inequality Problem)  David Brooks  indicated that targeting the obscene wealth of the top 1% might be a moot point since the wealth at the top, though massively higher than it was in the past, is not making the rest of the world poorer.  To that assumption, the most polite thing I can think to say is “horse hockey!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Six years into the great recession and…”We are not OK….”

January 7th, 2014

Income inequality, the wealth gap, call it what you will, the problem is very real and is literally shredding the fabric of the  middle and working classes.  Progressives have coined the phrase “income inequality” to describe this destructive force.

Without trying to parse words too much, I think “wealth inequality would be a more comprehensive  definition of what is actually happening.  Either way neither description has that sound-bite “pop” that would capture the essence of this national tragedy.   Neither can come close to “class warfare”  which the republicans and tea baggers had the audacity to latch onto. Admittedly it was a brilliant stroke of political spin. They brazenly managed to take ownership of “class warfare” while they were launching  full scale nuclear Armageddon on the middle and working classes.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Danger of Disenfranchisement…

December 11th, 2013

Over Thanksgiving weekend I was talking to a friend of mine about the mayoral election in New York City. This friend has always been politically engaged – perhaps to a bigger extent than I. She responded to my query with a sigh…”I just can’t get jazzed about any political candidate. Nothing any of them have done in the past 20 years has accomplished anything except to make my life harder.”

Read the rest of this entry »

When work is no longer valued….

November 21st, 2013

Work is under attack.  It doesn’t matter what kind of work that you do, if you work as an employee, you are probably in a bunker hoping things just don’t get worse.  It all began in the early 80s and after more than a generation of decline, we are now watching the middle class is in its death throes.

Read the rest of this entry »

When the hustle trumps substance – or welcome to the bullshit economy…

October 5th, 2013

Over the past week I came across two blogs that seem to dovetail the same issue even though at first blush, they are seemingly unrelated.  On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs, and Too tired to hustle. The first blog came to my attention because from Mike, the mad biologist’s although I have lost the exact link to his post.

Read the rest of this entry »