Issue Date: February 4, 2013
The Supply-And-Demand Factor
I found irony in the juxtaposition of two articles in the same issue of C&EN (Nov. 5, 2012). “Looking for a Visa Victory” is about easing visa requirements for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals (page 26), and the cover story, “For Hire” (page 43), is about the plight of many professional members of the American Chemical Society.
Like any resource, human expertise is subject to the laws of supply and demand. If one increases the numbers of trained professionals in chemistry by easing restrictions on visas, the ability of laid-off STEM professionals to find jobs in the profession at reasonable salaries will be affected.
Whether some action is viewed as positive or negative depends strongly on whose ox is being gored. When a policy is touted as a benefit, it is always necessary to ask, “Whose benefit?” There are frequently several beneficiaries of easing visa requirements for STEM professionals, but with a larger pool of talent, salary offers will not be higher. To whose benefit is that?
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