Conventional wisdom is that there is a shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workers in the economy. Recently a counter narrative has emerged that the US has plenty of STEM workers. Here are some pertinent facts:
- In 2011, the unemployment rate of college-educated STEM workers was still 3.4 percent—more than double the 1.4 percent rate it stood at immediately preceding the recession that began in late 2007.
- In 2008, only 59% of PhDs in biological sciences were employed in fields related to their research, down from 71% in 1997.
- In 2011 nearly 28% of STEM (Life, Physical, Social Sciences and Engineering) PhD graduates were unemployed at graduation.
- Over the last 20 years the number of PhDs with jobs at graduation has declined while the number with a post doc or nothing has climbed
- There are ~300,00 STEM job vacancies per year while 11.4 million STEM degree holders work outside of STEM fields
There seems to be clear indicators that many fields within STEM are suffering from an excess of workers rather than a shortage. With that in mind the calls for more STEM education to create more STEM workers seems ill-informed. What can or should be done to reduce the excess of STEM workers in some fields?
Continue reading “STEM Worker Shortage?”