S&E PhD Shortage Predictions, 2002
Michael Teitelbaum's presentation at the 2002 GUIRR Pan-Organizational Summit. "To state the message succinctly: those who are concerned about whether the production of US scientists and engineers is sufficient for national needs must pay serious attention to whether careers in science and engineering are attractive relative to other career opportunities available to US students."
by Michael S. Teitelbaum, The Public Interest, Fall 2003. "Despite the recent economic downturn, prominent scientific associations, business leaders, and academics continue to predict 'looming shortfalls' in America's science and engineering professions. Countering the prevailing view, Michael S. Teitelbaum reveals that few, if any, shortages exist in these fields and shows why proposed solutions to this illusory problem are profoundly misguided."
Daniel S. Greenberg, Washington Post, May 19, 2004. "A scientist shortage? Again? The gloomy warnings are back. They're underpinned by declines in science studies by U.S. students and a post-Sept. 11 falloff in the enrollment of foreigners, who have traditionally filled as many as half the graduate slots in U.S. universities and have taken jobs here after graduation. A crisis is in the making, says a report by a pillar of the scientific establishment, the National Science Board, which warns that the 'trends threaten the economic welfare and security of our country.'"
"Recent policy reports claim the United States is falling behind other nations in science and
math education and graduating insufficient numbers of scientists and engineers. Review of
the evidence and analysis of actual graduation rates and workforce needs does not find
support for these claims. U.S. student performance rankings are comparable to other leading
nations and colleges graduate far more scientists and engineers than are hired each year.
Instead, the evidence suggests targeted education improvements are needed for the lowest
performers and demand-side factors may be insufficient to attract qualified college
New York Times, May 3, 2004. "The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to strong evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals."
C|NET News.com, January 6, 2003. "The number of science and engineering doctorate degrees awarded in the United States dropped by 7 percent from 1998 to 2001, according to a survey released Monday by the National Science Foundation. However, enrollment in science and engineering graduate programs rose in 1999 and 2000--the latest years for which data is available."
Wired, November 18, 2002. "This should be a golden time for military scientists. The armed forces are flush with cash and bulging with bleeding-edge projects. The war on terror relies on newfangled gadgets. And the civilian economy is in the toilet. But the armed forces are scrambling to cope with a massive exodus of scientific and engineering talent. This departure is particularly brutal for the Air Force. About 20 percent of the service's 13,300 science and engineering positions are currently unfilled. Thousands more of these jobs will be abandoned in the next five years as baby boomers begin to retire."
A lobbying group that seeks to ease restrictions on H1-B visas for foreign nationals with a Masters or PhD. "In a number of key technical fields, the total number of graduates with advanced degrees has not kept pace with demand. In addition, a rising percentage of the advanced degrees awarded by U.S. universities in areas of study like engineering, mathematics and computer sciences are to foreign nationals. Under current immigration law, however, many of these graduates are not available for hire by U.S. firms without H-1B visas. They are, however, available to overseas competitors."
BEST, 2002. The Council on Competitiveness argues that the US needs more PhD scientists. (Zipped PDF file)
AIP, August 12, 2002. "Throughout the Federal government, as well as the private sector, the challenge faced by a lack of scientists and engineers is real and is growing by the day."
A 2003 report from the National Science Board urging the federal government "to deal with the coming shortage of US-born science and engineering professionals."
New York Times, May 5, 2004. "The United States faces a major shortage of scientists because too few Americans are entering technical fields and because international competition is heating up for bright foreigners who once filled the gap, a federal panel warned Tuesday."