Re: FWD. Re: "shortage"-- yeah, sure

Sue Sattel (
Wed, 21 Jan 98 12:11:44 cnt

I'm not sure this is a sham. Between 1980 and 1985, we had grant
money for funding cost-effective innovations which, at that time,
explored what microcomputers could do for education. The grants we
awarded went to rural, urban and suburban schools, and in all cases a
great deal of attention was paid to the projects and classrooms being
gender fair regarding females access to technology. Those high school
grads went on to college and took computer science and were hired by
industry after that. Since the grant money has been cut off
nationally, we are seeing the effects - lower rates for women in these
formerly non-traditional areas, in my opinion.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: FWD. Re: "shortage"-- yeah, sure
Author: at internet
Date: 1/14/98 4:16 PM

Forwarded from WISENET by Anne McAuliffe <>.
Subject: Re: "shortage"-- yeah, sure
From: Women In Science and Engineering NETwork <WISENET@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU>
at Internet
Date: 1/14/98 8:05

Elizabeth Eccher wrote:

> Today's New York Times has an interesting front-page article titled "With Boom
> in High Technology, Software Jobs Go Begging" by Amy Harmon. One-line

> ****************************************************************************

> Recruiting more women like Ms. Polese to the field is considered crucial
> the share of computer science degrees awarded to women in the United States
> fallen steadily, to 28 percent in 1994 from a peak of 36 percent in 1984. A
> more
> proportional representation of women could go a long way toward meeting the
> need
> for programmers.

Alarm bell!!! I am immediately suspicious of this. Remember the cry in
the mid-80's? "Hurry! Be a science or engineering major! The United
States has a major shortage of technically-qualified people! If we don't
get some more, we will fall serioulsy behind in the global market!"

Yeah, *right*-- that shortage never never existed. Oh sure, there were all
kinds of statistics published at the time, just like those above. And what
do we have now? Major overproduction of science PhD's. And no, they did
not "overcompensate" for the shortage-- the shortage never existed.

Think about it. Why in the *world* would anyone be worried that people
wouldn't want to enter a lucrative, exciting, dynamic field? When have
American workers ever needed "encouragement" from the government to train
for good jobs? This "recruitment campaign" is a sham. It is a way to get
a glut of computer scientists (just like we have a glut of physical
scientists now, and in impending glut of biological scientists). That way
the market is an employer's market-- we are competing for the jobs instead
of being highly sought-after by the employers. The result of the glut will
be lower salaries.

Now to be fair, I realize that it is indeed valuable to have a lot of
computer scientists in the increasingly computer-oriented world. I just
have to laugh when I see people worried about the "shortage"-- as if
workers and students aren't smart enough to figure out where the jobs are!

Kim Allen

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