A study indicates that the US college-educated employee's salary increases as the number of foreign-born H1B holders increases in a US city. 

Contrasting to the general belief of "Immigrants steals US jobs", the study results tell the highly education foreign born STEM talents contribute creating high paying jobs in the US

Michio Kaku, a physicists, argues that a powerful secret weapon of the US is H1B. 
H1B attracts 'STEM Talents' from all over the world, and it creates and sustains the innovation capability of the US society. 

However, I want to point out one missing step that transform a foreign born H1B holders to innovation makers in the US. 

"Respect of the Diversity" is the root competency of the US society that attract worldwide STEM talents 
If the US society lose the source of attraction, the US society will encounter a significant discrepancy of 'innovation momentum', which would result in economic and social depression. 

Diversity is a root source of attraction of a society. Let's respect, keep and elaborate it.  

Jeonghwan Choi
PhD, MBA, ME



Skilled Foreign Workers a Boon to Pay, Study Finds

Research Shows Immigration Benefits for U.S.-Born, College-Educated Employees

"Want a pay raise? Ask your employer to hire more immigrant scientists.

That's the general conclusion of a study that examined wage data and immigration in 219 metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2010. Researchers found that cities seeing the biggest influx of foreign-born workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—the so-called STEM professions—saw wages climb fastest for the native-born, college-educated population." 







A Secret Weapon of the US: H1B! 











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We may not be able to be the most competitive person. 
But we definitely can be the most "Attractive" person. 
Let's be bright, gentle, confident, and disciplined !
-------------------
가장 경쟁력있는 사람이 되긴 거의 불가능할지 모른다. 
하지만, 가장 매력적인 사람이 되는 건 누구나 가능하다. 
밝고, 친절하며, 자신감있고, 잘 정돈된 사람이 되어보자.





Jeonghwan Choi, 

PhD, MBA, ME




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A good rifle for a wrong target: a problem of HRD field of study. 

[맞아죽을 각오로 쓰는 인재개발분야 (HRD) 문제점.] 





Having a good and reliable rifle gives a shooter a great chance to reach a target. However if a shooter targets a wrong target, a good rifle is useless, even worse it is frequently harmful


A wrong targeting problem is observed in HRD field of study. 


Prior to describing my claims, I define HRD is “a process of developing work‐based expertise and unleashing human capabilities for the benefits of an individual, organization, community, nation, or, ultimately, the whole of humanity whereby multi‐level stakeholders collectively influence people and organization to achieve common goals (efficiently) through training & development, organization development, career development, performance improvement, organizational learning, and leadership development.“


According to the definition, HRD field of study has a great potential to lead people to a right direction as like having a good and reliable rifle. However, the purpose of HRD is not frequently attained in the real workplace not because of the contents of HRD, but because of a wrong targeting. 


So, what is the right target for HRD? 


I am insisting that "Frontline managers and organizational leaders such as executives who want to develop their people" are the right target population for HRD. 





Here are my claims.  


First, Frontline managers and Executives have a fatal flaw in developing people. According to a recent empirical study, the most common area of weakness for ineffective senior leaders is their ability to develop others. This fact clearly suggest HRD must address the need of developing people skills for Frontline manager and Executives than any other populations. 




http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/10-charts-from-2013-that-changed-the-way-we-think/



Second, the People development skill, the most burning requirement for Frontline managers and Executives, is a conceptual skill rather than technical or social skills, which integrates multiple skill sets such as Training, Organizational Change/Development, Career Development, and Leadership Development. As shown in the following figure, conceptual skills are highly required along with a person's getting a higher ranking within an organization. Thus, HRD skill development must be targeted on the high rank personnels. 




Third, Frontline manager and Executives have influencing powers to realize the purpose of HRD. Many HRD scholars have insisted that HRD must be a strategic partner in decision making process. However, the strategic role of HRD have hardly observed in the field. This is because of lack of influencing powers of HRD personnels what Frontline managers and Executives have. 


 

So, what? 


Here are my suggestions for HRD professionals. 


First, HRD should Target to the Frontline managers and Executives for developing "people development skills" rather than entry level employees to have specific knowledge. 


Second, HRD should let the Frontline managers and Executives do the HRD function rather than intervene directly. According to the 70-20-10 rule for people development, 90% of people development is occurring on the "Job" while only 10% people development is occurring in the classroom. So, let the Frontline managers and executives take the major responsibility of people development in their jobs. The HRD role should be limited in supporting Frontline managers and Executives to perform people development in their daily managerial tasks. 




Third, HRD should Stay in the supportive function, and it should Be independent from daily and routine works. HRD is a long term action, which requires the antecedent planning and preemptive execution. Immediate and short-term works frequently hinders the long-term goal achievements through people development. So, HRD professionals should make an extra effort to be independent from a short-term goal orientation of Frontline managers and Executives. HRDers must give "Insights and Directions" rather than immediate "Knowledge and Skills". 





Finally, HRD should make special efforts to Transform and Develop Frontline managers and Executives as HRDers. Who are HRD professionals? Individuals who hold a HRD master/PhD degree? Sorry but Nope!. A HRD professional is a person who actively engage in developing people. Thus, anyone who is engaging in developing people is an HRD professional. Having specific HRD theories and knowledge is not sufficient. HRD professionals must engage in real people development functions. In this perspective, Frontline managers, Executives, or post-MBAs are the best candidates for being the best HRDers. Let's develop Frontline managers and Executives as the best HRDers. 



Conclusion. 

In this essay, I cordially pointed out a wrong targeting problem in HRD field of study. While current HRD function targets developing entry level employees, I am insisting that the real target for HRD is the populations of Frontline managers and executives. I suggest that HRD professionals must stay in supporting function with a high level of independency from daily works within organizations in order to focus on long-term planning and developing people for achieving long-term goals. In addition, I suggest HRDers should make extra efforts to transform and develop Frontline managers, executives, and post-MBAs as professional HRDers. 


Feb. 09, 2014


Jeonghwan Choi, PhD, MBA, ME


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People must be assessed by what they have "taken", but not by what they have been "given". 


사람은 그가 무엇을 스스로 "얻어가졌는가" 로 평가되어야지, 그가 무엇을 이미 "받았는가"로 평가되어선 안된다. 


Dr. Choi's Tonaghap Leadership Center. 




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Achtung Bitte!! (Warning) in translating the article. 


Your Employees Want the Negative Feedback You Hate to Give from Harvard Business Review


http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/01/your-employees-want-the-negative-feedback-you-hate-to-give/



I cordially do not agree the definition of negative feedback used in this article.



Generally, negative feedback examples are "being removed from a job or suffering some adverse consequence due to poor performance or receiving more or less direct indications of dissatisfaction from co-workers or the supervisor" (Herold, David M., and Martin M. Greller. "Research Notes. Feedback: The definition of a construct." Academy of management Journal 20.1 (1977): 142-147.)

The suggested corrective feedback, simply translated into negative feedback seems constructive, and simply 'positive feedback' rather than negative feedback.

However, the article gives an important insight. Employees wants more corrective (I prefer to constructive) feedback. 

Please give your people to have more constructive feedback like followings: 
1. Call suggestions for improvement, 
2. Explorations of new and better ways to do things, or 
3. Pointing out something that was done in a less that optimal way.



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Seniors are not expenses, but they are potentials. 


Sen. Liz Warren argues that a society need to support seniors because they already paid for a society through their whole lives. And I want to add my idea. Seniors are not expenses, but they are potentials that are still needed to be unleashed for more knowledge, culture, and 'spirit' of a society. In order to cultivate and utilize these valuable potentials of seniors have, a society definitely need to make a "social investment". 




Photo: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 


Source: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/19-2



Video




 워렌, 미국 상원의원이 최근 미국의 노령자 복지혜택 축소에 대해 문제를 제기했습니다. 단지 산술적 계산으로 노인을 위한 복지를 축소하는 것은, 그 분들이 평생에 걸쳐 사회를 위해 기여한 "가치"를 무시한 처사라고 비판하여, 미국 사회의 중추인 중산층을 보호하기 위해서라도 노인을 위한 복지를 강화해야 한다고 주장하였습니다. 

이에 제 생각하나를 더해 봅니다. 

노인/노령자 는 "비용"이 아니라, "지식, 문화, 그리고 한 사회의 근간을 이루는 "정신"의 "수호자" 이자 이러한 사회적 가치를 가진 "원석" 으로서 더욱 활용되어야 한다고 생각합니다. 이를 위해서라도 노인/노령자들에게 "사회적 투자"를 하는 것이 당연하지 않을까요? 


J. Choi, 








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We need to ask "Who built the North Korean nukes?" 



We may not ask an important question about recent North Korean Nuclear threat. 

"Who built the Nukes?" 



Photo source: http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/2010/0113/0113_doomsday_clock/7216329-1-eng-US/0113_Doomsday_clock_full_600.jpg


While many people focus on the north Korean political leaders, Scientists and Engineers who have built nukes and tested them have been unseen. We don't have any information about North Korean scientists and engineers. 

In the perspective of human resource development, it is a big mystery that "how North Korean scientists and engineers were developed" under the very oppressive work environment. 

Is this just because of 'top-secret' in a dark nation? Or we just have ignored it? 

Tao Te Ching chapter 62 says "Achieve greatness in little things." 


Understanding of North Korean HRD for Scientists and Engineers is a tiny thing, but it can give us an important clue to resolve a big problem.



A South Korean newspaper reported several scientists and engineers who developed North Korean Nukes. 



A Short History of North Korean Nuke Development. 


http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?artid=201302122200315&code=910303



According to the report, Nuke development in NK was led by several scientists and engineers who came from south Korea late 1940s. Doh, SangRok and Lee, SeungKi are two of them. 


Since 1953 (end of Korean war), more than 300 scientists and engineers were sent to Soviet Union to learn theories and practices of Nuke. Seo, SangGook - one of 300 and Dean of Physics department of Kim Il-Sung university in Pyongyang had led the first nuke test in 2006. 



These 300 scientists and engineers - the second generation - have committed and led development NK Nukes. 


I assume that many NK nuclear scientists and engineers should be old enough to retire, and new generation has not been fully developed because of tough economic situations, international sanction and isolation during 1980s's ~ 1990's.  


However, NK will sustain nuke capability at least 20 years before end of the 2nd generation of scientists and engineers. 


We may have three options to address NK nuclear threat. 


First, South Korea resumes developing Nuke to deter North Korea. 


Second, Taking a surgical strike on Nuke facility before it really become a visible threat. 


Third, Admitting NK as a legitimated power, and softly lead her to transformation. 


Personally, I would like to transform NK scientists and engineers to commit economic development rather than military development to flourish their economy. 


NK scientists and engineers need to commit their talents to flourish their people's social and economic development rather than to commit protecting dictating regime. 



Feb. 12, 2013


Jeonghwan Choi, 



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Stahl et al. (2011) introduced "Talent Management Wheel" model to attract and develop the very best employees for global business. 

Researchers of the study argue that 'mimicking the best HR practices' does not make the best talent management, rather adhering six principles : (1) alignment with strategy, (2) internal consistency, (3) cultural embeddedness, (4) management involvement, (5) a balance of global and local needs and (6) employer branding through differentiation make the best talent management for leading organizations. 

(see : http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/2012-winter/53212/six-principles-of-effective-global-talent-management/?utm_source=Publicaster&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Gen%20Enews%20Jan%203%202012&utm_content=Six+guiding+principles+for+managing+talent)


The article proposed that there are two different approaches in practicing talent management system: The differentiated approach (GE's vitality curve practice) and the inclusive approach (Shell's universal talent concept). 

One very interesting and compelling principles for talent management wheel is "Principle 4: Management Involvement." 

The authors claimed that "best practices for talent management are only best when they're applied in a given context; what works for one company may not work in another." 

In order to integrate and develop the best talent for an organization is totally dependent on the manager's involvement in the process of talent management, authors said. 

The cases of Jack Welch and Lafley's severe engagement in developing talents within their organizations supports the importance of manager's involvement in talent management. 

A. G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, claims he used to spend one-third to one-half of his time developing talent. He was convinced that “[n]othing I do will have a more enduring impact on P&G’s long-term success than helping to develop other leaders.”

The most important top managers role, currently, is the managing and developing the best talents within their organizations. 




J. Choi. 





About the Study: 
This paper is based on a multiyear collaborative research project on global talent management practices and principles by an international team of researchers from INSEAD, Cornell, Cambridge and Tilburg universities. The research looked at 33 multinational corporations, headquartered in 11 countries, and examined 18 companies in depth. We selected the case companies based on their superior business performance and reputations as employers, as defined through Fortune listings and equivalent rankings (e.g., the “Best Companies for Leadership” by the Hay Group and Chief Executive magazine).

The case study interviews were semi-structured, covering questions about the business context, talent management practices and HR function. We interviewed HR professionals and managers and also a sample of executives and line managers in an effort to understand the ways companies source, attract, select, develop, promote and move high-potential employees through the organization. A second stage of research consisted of a Web-based survey of 20 companies. The survey contained items on six key talent management practice areas (staffing, training and development, appraisal, rewards, employee relations, and leadership and succession) and the HR delivery mechanisms (including the use and effectiveness of outsourcing, shared services, Web-based HR, off-shoring and on-shoring). Ultimately, we received a total of 263 complete surveys from the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


Source: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/2012-winter/53212/six-principles-of-effective-global-talent-management/?utm_source=Publicaster&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Gen%20Enews%20Jan%203%202012&utm_content=Six+guiding+principles+for+managing+talent


By Günter K. Stahl, Ingmar Björkman, Elaine Farndale, Shad S. Morris, Jaap Paauwe, Philip Stiles, Jonathan Trevor and Patrick Wright

December 21, 2011

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According to Lombardo, Michael and Eichinger (1996) at Center for Creative Leadership, there is a 70-20-10 rule for people development. 

Many leading organizations such as GE and Oracle build human resource development policy bases on the 70-20-10 rule. 

Harvey (2010) claims that people tends to plan taking formal learning courses for developing human resources. But majority learning comes from real work experience and feedback, appraisal, and assessment from others (see following figure). 

In order to develop people in an organization, people need to consider the rule of 70-20-10. 

 


source: http://blogs.oracle.com/peteh/entry/how_people_actually_develop_70





1. Lombardo, Michael M. and Robert W. Eichinger (1996) The Career Architect Development Planner. Lominger Limited, Inc. p. iv. ISBN 0965571211.

2. Harvey, P (2010) How people actually develop. http://blogs.oracle.com/peteh/entry/how_people_actually_develop_70
In order to develop and to promote learning and change in an organization, people need to write a personal career development plan with the rule of 70-20-10. 







The 70/20/10 Model in learning and development is

더보기


source: Wikipedia.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/70/20/10_Model

^ Lombardo, Michael M. and Robert W. Eichinger (1996) The Career Architect Development Planner. Lominger Limited, Inc. p. iv. ISBN 0965571211.


2. Letter from CCL (Nov. 2011) 

더보기


Source: The 70-20-10 Rule
http://www.ccl.org/leadership/enewsletter/2011/NOVrule.aspx?sp_rid=&sp_mid=37469306

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Peter Cafalleli, the George W. Taylor professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and director or Wharton's Center for Human Resources, published a special article at Wall Street Journal on Oct. 24 2011 (see the below full website) 

In his article, he argues that "the conventional wisdom is that our education system is failing our economy. But our companies deserve a lot of the blame themselves." 

First, Prof. Cafallelli insists that "The perceptions about a lack of skilled workers are pervasive, but the provlem is an illusion" He clearly describe the reason of shortage of skilled labor is not a "real shortage" of skilled labor problem, but the shortage of affordable jobs for skilled job candidates. Employers greedy attitude and tendency to 'hire the best people with minimal wages' make the problem happen.

Second, training shortage for job candidates are significantly prevails in the U.S. society. Despite employers' complains about the education system, college graduates are pursuing more vocationally oriented course work than ever before. And companies don't seem to do training anymore. High increasing numbers of unpaid internship or minimal paid job for on-the-job experiences shows the fact that companies averse risk of training and do not invest on training people for their own purposes. Couter-example for the U.S. can be found in Europe. European countries views that the trainings, apprenticeship opportunities, and other vocational education programs are mandatory ones and infrastructures for economic prosperity. U.S. need to change views to training and development of workforces as fundamental infrastructure 

Third, three solutions to address the 'real' shortage of skilled workforce are suggested. 

1. Work with education providers
2. Bring back aspects of apprenticeship
3. Promote from within. 

The author tells that employers should proactively involve and dedicate in designing and tailoring curriculums for training job candidates in schools. Apprenticeship opportunities should be given to job candidates within employers' organizations. Finally, employers should organize work for newly hired employees by providing proper projects that help them learn new skills for organizations. 

Employers should invest Human Resource Development than Human Resource Management to form competitive workforce in order to coincide company self-interest and societal interest! 

These ideas from Dr. Peter Cafelli are coherent with my article about "The problem is the corporation's education rather than the college education." Please see my article as well. 

http://leadershipcenter.tistory.com/entry/opinioncorporateeducation


Source: 

Why Companies Aren't Getting the Employees They Need


The conventional wisdom is that our education system is failing our economy. But our companies deserve a lot of the blame themselves.

Everybody's heard the complaints about recruiting lately.

Even with unemployment hovering around 9%, companies are grousing that they can't find skilled workers, and filling a job can take months of hunting.

Employers are quick to lay blame. Schools aren't giving kids the right kind of training. The government isn't letting in enough high-skill immigrants. The list goes on and on.

But I believe that the real culprits are the employers themselves.

With an abundance of workers to choose from, employers are demanding more of job candidates than ever before. They want prospective workers to be able to fill a role right away, without any training or ramp-up time. 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204422404576596630897409182.html?KEYWORDS=why+companies+aren%27t+getting+the+employees+they+need
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http://www.getentrepreneurial.com/images/happy%20working.jpg

What we, Human Resource Development professionals and adult educators, assume for establishing the best workplace for learning and development. 

The ten principles for ethic labor & good work.

(1) Self-direction (Good work is a labor of risk),
(2) The job is a place of learning (Work as a research laboratory),
(3) Work variety (Freedom from repetitive burden),
(4) Workmate cooperation (Overcoming the fractured social relations of the workplace),
(5) Individual work is a contribution to social welfare (Serving the public good),
(6) Work is an expression of self (Workers are more than a sum of their behaviors),
(7) Work is a democratic expression (Freedom from the tyranny of authoritarian power),
(8) Workers are participants in the operation of an enterprise (Until workers are participants, talk of workplace cooperation rings hollow),
(9) Play is a virtue that must be incorporated into work (Play is a path to freedom and fairness), and (10) Better pay for workers (There is growing disparity between managers and workers)


Kincheloe, J. How Do We Tell the Workers? The Socioeconomic Foundations of Work and Vocational Education. Boulder, Colorado.: Westview Press, 1999. (pp. 65–69).

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The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books

There's never a shortage of new books about how to be more effective in business. Most of them are forgettable, but here are 25 that changed the way we think about management — from the iconic "How to Win Friends and Influence People" to groundbreaking tomes like "Guerilla Marketing" and quick reads like the "The One Minute Manager".

""



 

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2086680,00.html#ixzz1VUokVNRy



http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,2086680,00.html#ixzz1VCm5oYmw


Full List

BUSINESS GUIDES

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What's the meaning of dyeing one's brain with letters (Knowledge)? 
Here is a smart man's life journey for your reflection. 




1) Interested in reading.  

2) Legitimate his/her knowledge with academic diplomas. 

3) Getting rich, attaining fame and arrogance. 

4) Haunted by greed. 

5) Experience a failure. 

6) Reflecting. 

7) Rehabilitating oneself, and recovering humility. 

8) Service for people as a servant. 

9) Become a real human being. 


Every smart person should enlighten his/her darkened brain with letters through critical reflection and service for others in order to recover one's humanity. 



Jeonghwan. Choi
May 11, 2011








 
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American has enormous creative energy, but its industries are dominated by lawyers and accountants, not product people. Thirty years of financial engineering and short-term profit optimization has impaired the ability of American companies to innovate. 


- Roger McNamee, co-founder of the technology investing firm - Elevation Partners -

 

http://www.elevation.com/EP_IT.asp?id=102

source: "We blew our opportunity to change the world". Harvard Business Review, April 2011. 



 

Lawyers, accountants, finance engineers, and short-term profit optimizers kill innovation capability of the U.S. Then, if we - product people kill them, does innovation can be resurrected in the U.S.? Maybe not, because we still need them. Thus, optimal management or control over them may guarantee recovering innovation power in the U.S.A society who want to keep innovation within her must be smart to balance power of innovators and supporters.

Jeonghwan (Philip) Choi,
 
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Do we need more scientists and Engineers? 

It is one of provoking questions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field. 
Instead of logical or academic writing for this debate, I want to share my personal experiences as a former engineer and refugee from the field.  

Many European chemical engineering students want to escape from STEM field because of low compensation and geographically isolated workplaces. When I worked as an external business consultant at a U.S. based Chemical company in Germany, I surveyed Chemical engineering student's perception toward their future jobs and job searching channel. The study included many top-tier engineering schools such as RW Aachen, T-U Muenchen (Germany), Universite de Lyon (France), Imperial College (UK), ETH Zurich (Swiss), and 8 other colleges. 

Chemical Engineering students reported that they would not come to the conventional chemical industry with several reasons: 

Reasons of avoiding to get a job at conventional chemical industry. 

1. Aachen students want to be a management consultant rather than being an engineer for searching better financial compensation. 

2. Many French student want to get a job at Cosmetic industry because those industry locate in Urban area while conventional chemical plants locate in rural and isolated area.

3. An international student at ETH Zurich said he searched for 'Ethical company' for his workplace. He added that many of conventional chemical companies were eliminated from his lists for their unethical actions. 

4. Many imperial colleges students at UK had plans to enroll MBA programs after 2~3 years experience. They plans to change their career from engineering to finance for better financial compensation and job security. 

Overall, many talented chemical engineering student in Europe lost their passion on STEM field not because of difficulties of job, but because of "Unfair compensatin" and "Low appreciation" from companies and society. 

I suggested to my Client company that 
1) Increase compensation for engineers. 
2) Hire moderate talented students. 
3) Cultivate international talent pool. 
4) Marketizing the company's employee wellness compensation. 
5) Support engineers to transform themselves as managers. 
6) Commit to ethical and corporate social responsible activities. 

Except suggestion 3) cultivate international talent pool, the other suggestions were not adopted. 
This small case also support a claim that "We don't need more scientists and engineers" 

In addition, John Tierney's article support the claim. (refer to below source).  

Therefore, my personal humble conclusion is 

"Mediocre Science and Engineering jobs will significantly decrease while demands for top-talented scientists and engineers continually increase. However, top-talented scientists and engineers move everywhere, regardless of their nationality, in order to maximize their fiscal and social pay-offs and self-utilization." 


Jeonghwan Choi




source: http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/what-shortage-of-scientists-and-engineers/#h[]

October 17, 2008, 12:43 PM

What Shortage of Scientists and Engineers?

If the United States really has a critical shortage of scientists and engineers, why didn’t this year’s graduates get showered with lucrative job offers and signing bonuses?

That’s the question that comes to my mind after reading about Barack Obama’s plans to address the “shortage” we keep hearing about from blue-ribbon commissions of scientists and engineers. He wants to pay for the training of 100,000 more engineers and scientists over the next four years, as my colleagues Bill Broad and Cory Dean note in their excellent analysis of the presidential candidates’ plans to encourage technological innovation.

Now, I’m all in favor of American technological innovation, and I’m glad to see Mr. Obama promising to review the export restrictions that have been so damaging to the aerospace industry (and that were promoted by John McCain because of what he called national-security risks). I’m also all in favor of American scientists and engineers, especially the ones in my family. (My father is a chemical engineer; my brother is an electrical engineer.) I’d love to see American corporations and universities frantically competing to offer them the kind of salaries paid to M.B.A.’s and lawyers.

But employers don’t have to throw around that kind of money because there’s no shortage of workers — and they won’t be increasing their offers if the federal government artificially inflates the labor supply with an extra 100,000 graduates. As Daniel S. Greenberg wrote in the Scientist magazine in 2003: “Despite the alarms, no current or impending shortage exists, and never did. Instead, we’re glutted with scientists and engineers in many fields, as numerous job seekers with respectable credentials can attest.”

The only “shortage” is of American-born scientists and engineers. But with so many talented foreigners competing for positions here in schools and laboratories, it’s entirely rational for American students to head into fields where their skills are in more demand — and harder to replace with foreign labor. Mr. Greenberg sums up their options nicely:

Consider the economic fates of two bright college graduates, Jane and Jill, both 22. Jane excels at a top law school, and after graduation three years later, is wooed and hired by a top law firm at the going rate–$125,000 a year, with a year-end bonus of $25,000 to $50,000.

Jill heads down the long trail to a PhD in physics, and after six Spartan years on graduate stipends rising to $20,000 a year, finally gets her degree. Tenure-track jobs appropriate to her rigorous training are scarce, but, more fortunate than her other classmates, she lands a good postdoc appointment–at $35,000 year, without health insurance or professional independence. Three years later, when attorney Jane is raking in $150,000 a year, plus bonuses, Jill is nail-biting over another postdoc appointment, with an unusually ample postdoc recompense of $45,000 per annum. Medicine and business management similarly trump science in earning power.

So why do we keep hearing complaints about a shortage? One recent reason is that it’s been harder for foreign scientists and engineers to get visas since the Sept. 11 attacks. But the quickest and cheapest way to deal with that problem is to increase the number of visas (as Mr. Obama has promised to do).

But even if the visa restrictions are eased, the complaints about a shortage are sure to continue — they’ve been sounded for decades. Why? Well, consider who does some of the loudest complaining: administrators of university science and engineering department that stand to get more funds, and corporate executives hoping to have more future workers trained at taxpayer expense.

The blue-ribbon commissions have kept warning that America’s future is in jeopardy if we don’t train more native-born scientists and engineers, but I don’t see how Americans are worse off by letting some technologies be developed and manufactured by foreigners who can do it more efficiently.Politicians inveigh against the trade deficit in advanced-technology products, but what’s the harm in buying computer disk drives and semiconductor chips produced more cheaply in Asian factories?

And as long as American universities and laboratories keep attracting the world’s best talent, why should we worry about losing our technological edge?

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