Several articles have reported on the shortage of math and science graduates. If you would check with some college placement offices, you would find that businesses want engineers and schools want K-12 teachers. These “in-demand” jobs require a bachelor’s degree and a couple of years of math and science.
Meanwhile, the future for our current math/science graduate student is bleak. Industry looks at a PhD as a liability, and colleges and universities are trimming costs by shifting to part-time faculty.
Today’s graduate students often hide their PhDs during the recruiting process. Others go back to school to pick up a “marketable” degree. The real tragedy is that the “best and brightest” are used as cheap labor by the very schools that recruited them.
The myth that math/science careers are in abundance only serves to keep a steady flow of talented undergraduates in the graduate teaching assistant pipeline.
If you want to encourage students in math and science careers, take a look at the future we offer to students who are already at the top of the academic ladder. If there is no future for our current graduate students, then why should we encourage more students to pursue high-level careers?