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Combating The Brain Drain By Creating A Progressive Career Pipeline


Combating The Brain Drain By Creating A Progressive Career Pipeline


How can we create regular and lucrative opportunities for recent graduates in industries other than finance and consulting?

The national Occupy movement has focused the nation on the fact that our economy is broken. Today, millions of Americans are clamoring for an alternate vision of the America economy. For recent graduates, a lack of regular and lucrative opportunities in next economy industries creates a dangerous hole in the progressive movement, threatening to convince a generation that neither side of the political spectrum has a growth-oriented economic strategy that can offer them employment.

The banking, financial, and consulting industries, while by no means evil, are places that have proven to be better at dividing the pie than growing it. If we want a pro-growth strategy for the economy, we need to be serious about making sure that America’s best minds are going into the industries we believe can drive an economic renaissance.

In a recent article titled “Stop the Wall Street Recruitment,” the authors point to astonishing statistics: “In 2010, even after the economic crisis, the financial services industry drew a full 20 percent of Harvard graduates and over 15 percent of Stanford and MIT graduates.”

A robust alternate pipeline for talent within industries deemed to be values- and growth-oriented by the progressive movement does not exist. A look at the requirements for associate level positions in industries such as clean tech, social entrepreneurship, or micro finance reveals a stunning fact: They mostly want experience from the industries they are looking to subvert, namely consulting, finance, and banking. High achievers at America’s top universities, bastions for progressive thought, are faced with a stark decision upon entering the workforce — sacrifice your progressive ideals or your pocketbooks.

1 Comment

  1. kurt.lorentzen November 9, 2011

    I commend you on your recognition of the recruitment of our best and brightest into the financial sector. Unfortunately, I have to say, “Good luck” on finding or creating an alternative pipeline that can rival Wall Street’s salary offerings. Production – products and services – are the only alternative and America has simply been overtaken by hungry European and Asian models. Alternative energy will become huge as oil wanes, but it’s currently a risky R&D path that can’t compete with lucrative financial offers. I have to say, although your initiative potentially opens things up to a higher-level overview, at least more so than usual, that America tends to operate within a multitude of vacuuous environments. There’s no top-down planning, no “American economy management team”. Governments have done that in other countries, but only when unhampered by such nusances as running political campaigns and dealing with those pesky voters (China). If America is to turn it around, we’ll have to re-assert ourself as the beneficiaries of that Wall Street capital – in industries other than banking. That will require making some hard choices, dropping the ideology on both sides of the aisle and moving in a direction that creates and builds an American economy. Only then will we see lucrative positions for engineers, scientists and innovators of things other than the next alternative to derivative marets.

    But Good luck, nonetheless.


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