An Analysis Of C&EN Articles | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 51 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: December 17, 2012

An Analysis Of C&EN Articles

Department: Letters

I was nearly overcome with fear reading the Nov. 5 issue of C&EN. On page 11, I read of the “near-retirement ... of more than 6,000 physical scientists employed by DOD.” On page 26 is the statement: “Companies looking for highly skilled workers in the U.S. argue that more visa and green cards slots are needed so they can fill open positions.” Luckily, a short time later, the answer hit me as I read on page 50 that “in the U.S., unemployed chemists are still struggling to find jobs. The unemployment situation is especially dire for mid- to late-career chemists.” There are even tales of those forced to relocate to other parts of the U.S. or the world.

Is a solution taking shape in the minds of C&EN readers? Perhaps something other than “reevaluating the security clearance system to open up more research jobs to foreign-born workers.”

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I personally am fortunate enough to not be in the situation of the unemployed—who are so artfully personified on the cover. However, if I were, I would find it quite insulting to read of a “scientist shortage” (page 11) without at least a cursory analysis from the editor.

I haven’t seen this sort of self-contradiction since, well, the articles about the electric-vehicle market (C&EN, Oct. 22, pages 8 and 26). Please pull it together.

Ken Doll
Peoria, Ill.

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Bob Buntrock (February 15, 2013 4:09 PM)
Better late than never? I agree with this letter (and I'm surprised there isn't more comment). US employers in general are trying to cut costs by shedding experience in favor of lower cost inexperience. I took "early retirement" 18 years ago becasue, as a fellow senior scientist observed earlier, "We're getting to be too expensive". He's a wrold renowned expert in his field and had an additional ten+ years with another company. I had a successful consulting career but those fortunate circumstances don't always happen.

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