Comment »Posted on Tuesday 11 November 2008 at 12:16 pm by Jacob Aron
In Education, Musings

The credit crunch. Will it ever end? Everything costs more, we’re lending banks money so that they can lend it back to us, and I’m even beginning to tire of breakfast cereal jokes and Robert Peston impressions. Still, it appears that the dreaded crunch could be good news for science according to the news agency AFP.

Back in the heady days of the pre-crunch era, science graduates were often taken in by the high life and high pay a City job could offer. I certainly remember as an undergraduate the likes of Deloitte and KPMG throwing money all over the university campus in an effort to recruit.

Now that times are tougher, and firms are more likely to be firing than hiring, a number of people are leading the call for science over salary.

“The glamour of the Wall Street jobs is gone, and that leaves more room for science and technology,” said Georges Haour, a professor of technology and innovation management at the IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“Although the salaries are not the same, the salaries (in finance) are zero because people are being fired,” he told AFP.

Haour has also noted that universities around the world are seeing an increase in the number of applications to study science. Institutions such as the University of Tokyo have seen a “big surge” in both engineering and science.

Elspeth Farrar, head of the careers service at my own Imperial College, also weighed in:

“Engineering companies who, in the past, have struggled to recruit the numbers they really want, this year might be a good year for them,” she said.

“Inevitably there are going to be fewer jobs directly in the finance and banking sector, so I think automatically that will mean more science and engineering students will be thinking about continuing in their sectors.”

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