Shortage of Scientists

A question  regarding the shortage of scientists in the US.  NSF data shows (in constant 2010 dollars) that the median salary for S&E occupations was $72,432 in 1993 and $73,888 in 2008. if therewas a shortage, wouldn’t we expect salaries to go up as companies bid against each other for scarce S&E talent?   Life sciences, aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering were the only fields with significant increases, each going up between 10-12%. Other fields were largely flat.  I’ll post the data seperately.  

One explanation is that companies are substituting foreign for US scientists, another is that we’ve overstated the problem.  If companies can substitute foreign scientists, their performance won’t be affected (it may even be improved if the foreign scientists are cheaper).   There could however, be damage to  innovation in America (as opposed to innovation by American companies). 

Another question: if  we artificially increase the supply of American scientists, does that mean their salaries would fall?   If we increase the supply of scientists and didn’t also increase the supply of dollars to fund their resaerch, does that mean we have more scientists chasing the same research dollars and by implication, fewer grants per scientist and more scientists driving cabs?  

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  • chill2

    Some of us have been making these observations and posing these same rhetoricals for years.  Thanks for calling attention to the latest data.