Yesterday Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to D.C. to lobby for immigration reform. At the heart of the matter is ensuring that there are enough skilled workers to fill job openings. This is an issue that has been bubbling beneath the surface (or above it, frankly) for some time. CTEq member companies, of which Zuckerberg's Facebook is one, know all too well that the STEM skills shortage is very much a real one.
Often at issue in the debate is whether these skilled immigrants will be taking away jobs from those already living in the U.S. As Zuckerberg put it, speaking at an event at Atlantic Live yesterday afternoon (video, here), "This isn't a matter of hiring people instead of Americans who are doing this...we'll hire all of them."
CTEq waded into the debate recently, focusing largely on the great STEM skills debate, with CEO Linda Rosen's Huffington Post blog piece, excerpted below and in its entirety here.
Here we go again. Social media sites are buzzing with claims that there is no shortage of U.S. workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Last time this happened, they were responding to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which has since been soundly refuted. This time, it's an article in IEEE's Spectrum Magazine by Robert Charette, who proclaims that "the STEM crisis is a myth." Like EPI, Charette is simply wrong.
Charette suggests that people who have a STEM background are down on their luck -- unable to find stable jobs, making do with flat wages, or bailing out of STEM entirely. The STEM shortage "myth," he writes, was manufactured by a cabal of special interests who "cherry pick" data to keep themselves in business and depress STEM wages.
Yet Charette does a fair bit of cherry picking himself while missing the big picture. He argues from anecdotes and a handful of studies that support his point but leaves aside the mountain of data that demonstrate a shortage. More important, he unwittingly points to one of the biggest causes of this shortage: Demand for STEM skills has intensified across the entire economy. Read more.