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Current Talent Shortage

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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby Dave Walker » Tue May 03, 2016 3:57 pm

Besides the naysaying, I think this thread has sparked a really good conversation! I'd be interested if anyone else has other ideas besides the "internship" idea -- which I think is a really good one.

My alma mater, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has a budding PhD student internship program (http://bci.jhmi.edu/). (Full disclosure: I pushed hard for this while a student and gave advice when it was starting.) I'm sure there are others throughout the US, and plenty in Europe as I understand.

Though it doesn't take the talent shortage problem head-on, it does provide that much-needed first step into non-academic careers like bio/pharma and policy. The hardest part was (and remains) convincing others to change the status quo. Academics need convincing that this is a worthwhile endeavor for their students, and to a lesser extent companies need to develop infrastructure to make it worthwhile (in my experience, almost no company objects to having interns around.)

Perhaps another layer of training would help, too: explaining to students how to get the most out of their short time in an internship. That's networking, doing many informational interviews and finding a foothold in a new industry.

Basically, getting everyone on-board that this will help would go a really, really long way. But it looks like we're starting, at least!
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby D.X. » Wed May 04, 2016 3:34 am

I think such internship idea is hard for PhD Level students especially in the US where stipend generally Comes from the PIs grant.

I had a model like this in my undergradaute School - that's where it worked. My undergrad advisor ensured that all of the students in her program walked way with some form of internship experience - as for me I walked away from my undergrad with internships in the private sector (industry) and a foreign academic experience.

In General i think what is needed is those "test and try" contingency or Trainee programs that are for STEM graduates - of course it works with folk who are not naysayers and who are ready to take a leap, acknowledgement what ever personal risks or reservations they may have.

But, I have mentioned - low hangning fruit solution for academia is to provide Training to STEMs on soft-skills, presenations skills, etc. from professional organizations. There is a cost to this but I'm sure the Money can be found if an Institution is willing. Such traning will give pearls of wisdom and exposure to key competencies that can be applicable in both academic and non-academic environs, which I think one would be able to carry for a life-time. I didn't get my soft skils Training and presenations faciliation in grad School but i did get it in my first positions from there in industry - i still treasure that Training and that Investment in me - i still apply some of those concepts today and I drop back to what I learned there as my comfort Zone when I'm in a Situation (conflict Resolution, active-listening, negoations, presentation conduct etc.) as those were my first Trainings, it provided the foundation and my operational Basis which I build on. This helped me be the "Talent" that I am today.

About the only box I can't tick today from a Talent requirement Point of view is that new line on Job descriptions: Previous experience piloting Space Shuttles mandatory, previous experience Docking to ISS will be preferred.

All the best,

DX
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby E.K.L. » Thu May 05, 2016 10:58 am

Dave Jensen wrote:
Putting those without an industry track-record and an employer together is my goal -- not my business goal, as that's totally different . . . just the goal of my passion in this area. I see some merit in this idea, but any kind of internship would work. If it's not a short consultancy to get a "glimpse" of a person, perhaps it's a combined PhD program as they do in Denmark, where you can have both academic and industry advisors on your project, and the company gets some knowledge of you along the way. I'd like to start a 501C3 based on some idea of this sort, and fund it with the support of companies and non-profits who care about getting the academia-to-industry transition smoother and more beneficial to society here in North America.


Perhaps have a look at the British KTP program then? I've met some people who participated in it, and I was quite impressed by this idea, which is quite simple: you put together an academic lab (or rather, the supervisor), a graduate and a company for a business project. The graduate gains experience, networking opportunities and often a future job, the supervisor gets a new research project (and of course publications), and the business partner gets access to academic labs and their scientific expertise.

Of course, this is a huge government-supported program. But I think the idea behind it might work on a smaller scale, as a "short job stint" for graduates. I could imagine a non-profit that acts as a "matchmaking company", linking businesses and graduates together. Having worked in a small start-up - sometimes you just need a short research job to answer a question, but you don't have the resources to do it yourself. A non-profit that would do the match-making for you (sometimes your networking doesn't yield results or is too slow) would be quite helpful. A short consultancy job doesn't translate into full-time, of course, but it might give young people a chance to get some industry experience (as opposed to having none) and expand their network in turn.
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu May 05, 2016 4:55 pm

Really helpful post EKL, thank you so much,

Dave
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby Steven Z. » Thu May 12, 2016 9:17 am

The consulting/contract/probationary/temp period has been extensively tried but has gone out of control due to corporate abuse.

A lot of companies have used temp agencies to hire bench staff with the understanding or implication that if they do a good job and worked out they would be hired permanently.

What happened instead is many companies never hired anyone and just used then temp agencies to provide disposable workers. Research done by Susan Houseman of the WE Upjohn institute for Employment Research found that only 27% of workers in temp to hire jobs were actually hired. Also the temp agencies are quite seedy and will rob the workers blind. Their pay rates are quite low and their benefits if they exist at all are substandard. However, most companies will not take on workers for contract directly as the agency acts as a buffer between them and most legal employer mandates and companies like that.

As a result, as Nate indicated, such jobs are viewed with high skepticism by workers. I personally would take any job over a consulting job so you become my last choice for employment. Anyone you hire for that consulting role will continue their job search if they are shrewd and leave the second they are offered a FTE job.
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby Dave Walker » Thu May 12, 2016 10:05 am

Steven Z. wrote:The consulting/contract/probationary/temp period has been extensively tried but has gone out of control due to corporate abuse.

A lot of companies have used temp agencies to hire bench staff with the understanding or implication that if they do a good job and worked out they would be hired permanently.

What happened instead is many companies never hired anyone and just used then temp agencies to provide disposable workers. Research done by Susan Houseman of the WE Upjohn institute for Employment Research found that only 27% of workers in temp to hire jobs were actually hired. Also the temp agencies are quite seedy and will rob the workers blind. Their pay rates are quite low and their benefits if they exist at all are substandard. However, most companies will not take on workers for contract directly as the agency acts as a buffer between them and most legal employer mandates and companies like that.

As a result, as Nate indicated, such jobs are viewed with high skepticism by workers. I personally would take any job over a consulting job so you become my last choice for employment. Anyone you hire for that consulting role will continue their job search if they are shrewd and leave the second they are offered a FTE job.


Hi Steven,

I think you're conflating "temp-to-hire" with the idea of an internship. From your previous posts and Nate's on this topic I believe I understand your wariness of the former, and you've made your opinions clear. I have to reiterate we're just kicking around ideas about the Talent Shortage Issue here.

You've expressed your negative view of mine; what's yours?
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu May 12, 2016 11:02 am

Steven,

We're not talking about the big "temp" revolution that first began a couple of decades ago. That's a permanent fixture now of employment in large companies -- and, from an insider perspective, I can tell you it isn't going anywhere. In fact, it may gain a bit of additional traction in the next year or two.

What we're talking about here is unique, and nothing similar.

Dave
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Re: Current Talent Shortage

Postby Steven Z. » Fri May 13, 2016 8:19 am

Internship are great assuming they conform to standards and don't wind up like unpaid internships in some sleazy companies where they use you to do the crap work and don't offer meaningful education.

I actually think the temp to hire would have been a great way to hire if companies didn't abuse the heck out of it so that it has completely lost credibility with workers.

As for what to do. Until companies get their heads out of their rears and stop demanding unnecessary degrees, experience that is laughable over specific, and employing hiring methods based on utter nonsense from HR, bigotry/generalizations, nepotism/cronyism, badly designed and overly simplistic software and stop practicing such bigotries like age discrimination then they can rant all they want to Congress and the American people about a shortage and all it does is make them look either clueless or dishonest.
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