The PhD bust

Jordan Weissman put together a nice series of charts in The Atlantic that help us better understand what’s at stake in the debate over tripling the number of “guest” workers admitted to the U.S. each year with college degrees and skills in science or engineering. It’s gotten harder and harder for U.S. PhDs to find work, and especially work that pays a salary that corresponds to the intellect of and investment made by these students, who are truly our best and brightest. A question members of Congress have to answer is: do we want to encourage or discourage U.S. students from pursuing these top degrees? Is NIH paying science post-docs enough? Is industry doing enough to recruit young U.S.-trained scientists? Will the Hatch-Klobuchar plan to admit 300,000 temporary, foreign high tech workers each year make matters better or worse for our young PhDs? Will the addition of as many as 1.8 million new foreign tech workers over six years crowd the U.S. labor market and depress wages?

  • Ronald Hammersley

    This is a bad idea from every perspective – unless the measure if validity is maximizing profits! Here we are trying to encourage our youth to train for SMET careers, and now we’re going to rob them of their job prospects with guest workers? Whatever happened to national pride and a strong sense of civic responsibility by the owners of capital and the means of production to provide for their communities, states, and nation? Whatever happened to taking care of your own first?