New Research Reveals STEM Workforce Trends

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A recently published report by the Pew Research Center has shed light on some intriguing trends in regards to STEM employment and education in the U.S. While some of the findings may be old news or simply confirmation of already widely-accepted beliefs, the research nevertheless provides some interesting data.

Utilizing U.S. Census Bureau data, the report focused primarily on STEM primarily as it relates to gender and ethnic diversity. However, some broads trends are also revealed. Here are just a few of the major conclusions presented by the report.

  1. The STEM workforce continues to grow: From 1990 to 2016, employment in the STEM fields has grown a remarkable 79%, from approximately 9.7 million workers to 17.3 million. While a large fraction of STEM professionals work in the healthcare industry, most of this growth has occurred in the area of computer science. Employment growth in this area was an astronomical 338% between 1990 and 2016. This comes as no suprise to us at STEM Premier, where many of our student users have indicated professional interests in both the healthcare and computer science areas.

  2. Roughly 1 in 3 STEM workers do not possess a bachelor’s degree: Although most people would tend to associate STEM workers with high levels of education, the truth is that many STEM positions are being filled by individuals who possess the necessary skills, despite lacking a four-year degree. In fact, 35% of the STEM workforce lacks a bachelor’s degree. 15% report having an associate degree and 14% report having some college education but no degree.

  3. The representation of women varies by STEM discipline: Females represent roughly 75% of healthcare practitioners and technicians. Of the 9 million workers in the industry, nearly 6.7 million of them are female. However, in other areas, female representation is much smaller. This is most marked in engineering (14%) and computer science (25%) industries.

When it comes to the next generation of talented professionals, STEM Premier is on the front lines. That means we are in a unique position to foresee many of these trends playing out. But it also means that we are able to see new trends developing. For instance, despite the low representation of females in the engineering and computer science fields, many female students on our platform have indicated interest in these career areas.

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