I wonder how much productivity is lost because of practices like this.
It’s not the PhD that is the problem, it’s that for whatever reason companies will not hire you these days unless you have recent, immediate experience with the products and/or programming languages in question – no matter if you are smart enough (as I and many others are) to learn these technologies in about four hours*.
Most employers wouldn’t care if you had 10 PhDs or a two PhDs from every Ivy League school in the country if you didn’t have the proper boxes checked for whatever they thought they needed right away, even though that means they will ignore the best candidate and pick someone mediocre who can tick the right box at that moment.
And a lot of times, companies demand the impossible. I saw a job ad on Craigslist recently that asked for five years of Exchange 2013 experience.
Five years. For a product that’s been out for a few months. Yeah, good luck filling that one.
*I’ve been training on Citrix lately. I’ve had all told around 5-6 hours of real training on it now. It’s a complex product, but now I could set up a complete Citrix farm and solve all of the simple problems, nearly all of the medium-level issues, and a good deal of the hard ones. That’s with 5-6 hours of training. A workday. I am not unusually smart – anyone nearly could do this. That most companies won’t train people at all these days is a very bad deal for both parties.