Master’s-level graduates are employed predominantly as research associates and staff scientists or, at teaching institutions, as instructors or lecturers. In this article, “STEM” refers to the science, engineering, mathematics, and information technology domain detailed by the Standard Occupation Classification Policy Committee, but excluding managerial and sales occupations. The last decade has seen considerable concern regarding a shortage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers to meet the demands of the labor market. Thus, it is probably far more accurate to state that, within STEM job categories, there is a crisis or a surplus depending on the circumstances at the time the categories are investigated.”. “The answer is that both exist… As our society relies further on technology for economic development and prosperity, the vitality of the STEM workforce will continue to be a cause for concern.”, Posted on August 09, 2016 at 06:00 AM in Complex Systems, Data Science and Big Data, Economic Issues, Education and Talent , Management and Leadership, Political Issues, Society and Culture | Permalink. Depending on the STEM segment, changes in each of the actors influence the market to varying degrees. One participant, a recruiting manager for a government research institute, said that hiring at the bachelor’s level was relatively easy, but hiring those with advanced degrees was proving more challenging because of skill set mismatches.29 He stated that, although there were many applicants from the mechanical, aeronautical, and bioengineering disciplines, shortages of electrical engineers existed at the doctoral level. Monthly Labor Review, Our findings are supported by the National Center for Education Statistics’ longitudinal study of baccalaureate holders, a survey which found that 69.7% of graduates who had not enrolled in advanced-degree studies after they completed their bachelor’s degrees in the 2007–2008 academic year were employed in a full-time job with an annualized median salary of $46,000 between graduation and 2012.53 For STEM majors, the full-time employment rate increased to 77.2 percent and the median salary was $60,000. 48 Brian Vastag, “U.S. Our analysis of the STEM labor market is broken down into three main employment sectors—academia, government, and the private sector—and then further narrowed down by specific job categories and disciplines. 46 Biomedical research workforce working group report (Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 2012). 15 See Richard C. Larson and Mauricio Gómez Díaz, “Nonfixed retirement age for university professors: modeling its effects on new faculty hires,” Service Science, March 2012, pp. ), 3. 16 Although only 294 of the 794 institutions have doctoral programs, the number of faculty used in the calculation of R0 is the total for all of those institutions, because the positions referred to are still tenured and tenure-track faculty positions. Jun 20, 2016 - The last decade has seen conflicting evidence regarding the number of workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It focused on graduates with postsecondary education within the STEM domain across the three main employment sectors: academia, government and the private sector. 9 “Testimony of Michael S. Teitelbaum before the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation,” November 6, 2007; see transcript, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-110hhrg35857/html/CHRG-110hhrg35857.htm. 3 B. Lindsay Lowell and Harold Salzman, Into the eye of the storm: assessing the evidence on science and engineering education, quality, and workforce demand (Washington, DC: Urban Institute, October 29, 2007); Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Michelle Melton, STEM: science, technology, engineering, mathematics (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2011); and Terrence K. Kelly, William P. Butz, Stephen Carroll, David M. Adamson, and Gabrielle Bloom, eds., The U.S. scientific and technical workforce (Santa Monica, CA, Arlington, VA, and Pittsburgh, PA: RAND Corporation, June 2004). 53 Emily Forrest Cataldi, Peter Siegel, Bryan Shepherd, Jennifer Cooney, and Ted Socha, Baccalaureate and beyond: a first look at the employment experiences and lives of college graduates, 4 years on (B&B:08/12), NCES 2014-141 (National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, July 2014). Yi Xue is a former graduate student in the Technology and Policy Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2005, for example, the National Innovation Initiative listed “Build the Base of Scientists and Engineers” as one of its top recommendations, noting that “unless the United States takes swift action, the demand for S&E talent will far outstrip supply. 33 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Engage to excel. 745–750. The skills gap in U.S. manufacturing (Washington, DC, and New York: The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, 2011). Do we have enough STEM workers to meet the… Only half of students graduating with a STEM degree are able to find STEM jobs. Yet although many yearn for such jobs, fewer than half of those who earn science or engineering doctorates end up in the sort of academic positions that directly use what they were trained for.”. The government and government-related sector. Economic projections point to a need for approximately 1 million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at the current rate over the next decade if the country is to retain its historical … In his testimony, Teitelbaum said: “First, no one who has come to the question with an open mind has been able to find any objective data suggesting general shortages of scientists and engineers… I would add here that these findings of no general shortage are entirely consistent with isolated shortages of skilled people in narrow fields or in specific technologies that are quite new or growing explosively.”, “Second, there are substantially more scientists and engineers graduating from U.S. universities that can find attractive career openings in the U.S. workforce. Numerous reports detail the growing concern of policymakers and industry leaders regarding a shortage in the STEM workforce believed necessary to sustain the U.S. innovation enterprise, global competitiveness, and national security.5 Most notable is the National Academies’ report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which called for improvements in kindergarten through 12th-grade science and mathematics education and increasing the attractiveness of higher education, among other recommendations.6 The report highlighted troubling issues in a number of areas: low STEM retention rates, a relative decline in the number of U.S. citizens enrolled in science and engineering graduate school, and lower percentages of STEM graduates than those of other developed countries. But is there really a looming labor crisis? May 2015; Monthly labor review / U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 138(5) DOI: 10.21916/mlr.2015.14. Much of the literature on the STEM crisis emanates from concerns about shortages or surpluses in the private-sector STEM labor market; however, the crisis is generally discussed in broad terms, referencing the STEM workforce as a whole. 2. A clearer picture of the supply and demand of the STEM workforce will require better data and consistent monitoring of both employer requirements and STEM worker availability. To meet this goal, the United States will need to increase the number of students who receive undergraduate STEM degrees by about 34% annually over current rates.”, There are, however, different views. Although recruiters in the government and government contractor sector had concerns about hiring electrical engineers, these concerns did not surface in our interviews with private sector recruiters, suggesting that the hiring challenge in the government sector is probably due to the U.S. citizenship requirement. This paper tries to reconcile the “STEM Crisis” vs. “STEM Surplus” debate by segmenting the STEM labor market into different industries, occupations, and skill levels. A job segment that traditionally has a shortage of workers may at some times have a surplus and vice versa. The demand for workers with doctorates in mechanical engineering is different from the demand for those with bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering, and the supply of workers with doctorates in the biomedical sciences is different from the supply of those with doctorates in physics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 09, 2016 at 12:53 PM. May 2015, https://doi.org/10.21916/mlr.2015.14. At the same time, many experts have presented evidence of a STEM worker surplus. STEM Crisis or STEM Surplus? So I believe there is a spot shortage in the STEM graduation rates,” said Keilah Ebanks, the staff instructor for the Math Resource Center. 37 Abby Lombardi, “Software development ranks as the most in-demand skill for tech jobs,” Wanted Analytics, September 5, 2013. Our analysis yields the following findings: As our society relies further on technology for economic development and prosperity, the vitality of the STEM workforce will continue to be a cause for concern. These data are consistent with our conclusion that there is significant variation in the demand for graduates, depending on the STEM discipline. August 21, 2016 at 10:34 PM, Is the US facing a critical shortage of STEM skills? The question is, whether our colleges and universities are producing enough future engineers and scientists to secure our lead in that race. August 10, 2016 at 01:25 AM, I would have to agree that our today's society is depending on technology for every development, not just economically but in every aspect of business industry. Are There Limits to the Predictability of Elections? STEM includes a variety of disciplines, degree levels and employment sectors. 1. Download Citation | STEM crisis or STEM surplus? Main Similarly, the National Academy of Sciences Committee, charged with identifying the needs of the U.S. DOD and the U.S. defense industrial base, found that DOD representatives almost unanimously stated that there was no STEM workforce crisis, but that there were specific areas in which needs were not being met.28 For example, 800 funded positions were open for 90 days or more for systems engineers and other STEM workers, and there were opportunities for cybersecurity and intelligence professionals as well. Yes and yes. The STEM Labor Shortage In contrast, an oversupply of biomedical engineers is seen at the Ph.D. level, and there are transient shortages of electrical engineers and mechanical engineers at advanced-degree levels. Although many studies have examined the science and engineering workforce in the aggregate,3 little analysis has been aimed at identifying specific areas of STEM worker shortage or surplus. Moreover the ongoing question whether there is a surplus or a shortage has yet to be answered. Our central question is whether there is a “STEM crisis” or a “STEM surplus.” The answer is that both exist. What Is the Social Responsibility of Business? Just as there are separate lines for taxicabs that accept credit cards versus ones that do not, there are distinct lines for each type of STEM occupation. Posted by: 17 Disciplines were included only if there were data available for both the number of Ph.D.’s and the number of faculty. The STEM crisis in other words and the call for a total curricular overhaul to address this need should be read, I am suggesting, as a crisis in the reserve STEM working population—a role that has largely been filled by workers from other countries. The ongoing STEM debate. It depends on how and where you look. For the purposes considered here, this sector comprises different branches of civilian government organizations that require their employees to hold U.S. citizenship and certain security clearances. 13, no. Examples are the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratories and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the military, and a number of defense and aerospace contractors and research institutes.This section synthesizes reports produced by the National Academies that studied the hiring needs of the U.S. Air Force and the DOD with anecdotal accounts from the authors’ interviews. We group disciplines by their Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code,17 a taxonomic scheme devised by the National Center for Education Statistics to track fields of study. A 2011 survey of manufacturers found that as many as 600,000 jobs remain unfilled because there is a lack of qualified candidates for technical positions requiring STEM skills—primarily production positions (e.g., machinists, operators, craftworkers, distributors, and technicians).44 Some are concerned that very few people are pursuing employment in the skilled trades.45. At the same time, many experts have presented evidence that there is a surplus of STEM workers. In fact, the intensified competition for assistant professor openings has resulted in higher quality new hires, meaning that there is a greatly increased chance of obtaining tenure. A queue of waiting taxis may be a common sight at an airport, but outside a hotel it may be more common to see a queue of waiting passengers. STEM includes a variety of disciplines, degree levels and employment sectors. 22 Michael S. Teitelbaum, The current model of STEM graduate education and postdocs: is it evolving to meet needs of the nation and its participants? Depending on the definition, the size of the STEM workforce can range from 5 percent to 20 percent of all U.S. workers. It depends on how and where you look. An NIH blue-ribbon panel found an increasing number of biomedical Ph.D.’s working in science-related occupations that do not involve research and even that do not require graduate training in science.46 Chemistry and biomedical graduates also have taken a hard hit, due to the downsizing and offshoring of biotechnology, chemical, and pharmaceutical jobs.47 Since 2000, U.S. pharmaceutical companies have cut 300,000 jobs.48 By 2012, downsizing had increased the unemployment rate among chemists to 4.6 percent, the highest in 40 years. STEM Crisis or STEM Surplus? We thank Joshua Hawley of The Ohio State University and Navid Ghaffarzadegan of Virginia Tech for helpful comments on an earlier draft. 29 Research institute A, involved primarily in U.S. government projects that require U.S. citizenship. To examine the production of Ph.D.’s for the academic job market, we and a colleague borrowed the concept of R0, the basic reproduction number, and applied it to academia.14 For academia, R0 was defined as the mean number of new Ph.D.’s a typical tenure-track faculty member will graduate during his or her academic career. 13 David George Kendall, “Some problems in the theory of queues,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B, vol. Another brilliant post. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren’t there,” The Washington Post, July 7, 2012. A surplus of stem graduates is no different than a surplus of English majors. This paper tries to reconcile the “STEM Crisis” vs. “STEM Surplus” debate by segmenting the STEM labor market into different industries, occupations, and skill levels. To the contrary, it appears that the mismatch is between an oversupply of Ph.D.’s desiring an academic career and the relative paucity of tenure-track faculty positions.26 Although the degree of mismatch varies according to discipline, we have long queues of Ph.D.’s competing for nearly all STEM-related faculty positions. Across all the different disciplines, yes, there is a STEM crisis, and no, there is no STEM crisis. 40 Patrick Thibodeau, “Electrical engineers see sharp uptick in Q1 jobless rate,” Computerworld, April 22, 2013, http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9238544/Electrical_engineers_see_sharp_uptick_in_Q1_jobless_rate. 1 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Engage to excel: producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2012). STEM Crisis Myth Revealed: Industry Leaders and Politicians Need a Surplus Army of STEM Workers Posted on March 26, 2014 by Clayton Pierce Over the past 10 years especially, calls to increase Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) output from our country’s schools has been deafening. How do we reconcile these widely different views of the STEM labor market? If the number of employers and the number of STEM workers are equal, we have a momentary match between supply and demand and there is no queue. In 2010 and 2011, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers held at 3.4 percent, but it spiked to 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Figure 1 shows that R0 varies considerably across the broad disciplines listed. The academic employment sector considered here comprises 2- and 4-year colleges, universities, and university-affiliated research institutes. The article examined the heterogeneous nature of STEM occupations on the basis of statistical data, current research papers, interviews with company recruiters across a range of industries, and anecdotal evidence from newspapers. Jen | Surpluses. Otherwise a The number of jobs requiring technical training is growing at five times the rate of other occupations.”. A considerable number of physics Ph.D.’s are unemployed, accepting postdocs and other temporary positions (69 percent in 2010, as opposed to 51 percent before the dot-com bust), indicating that the demand for physics Ph.D.’s is not high. Indeed, if the truth be told - only a very small percentage of those in the current postdoc pool have any realistic prospects of gaining a regular faculty position.”, A NY Times article recently added that “The United States is producing more research scientists than academia can handle…  The lure of a tenured job in academia is great - it means a secure, prestigious position directing a lab that does cutting-edge experiments, often carried out by underlings. The taxicab queuing problem was first documented in the literature by David George Kendall.13 According to the taxicab queuing metaphor, each taxi–passenger system represents a narrow segment of the STEM employment system. 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