Linda Rosen: STEM is Where the Jobs Are
Submitted by Tommy Cornelis on May 21, 2012
Change the Equation’s recently released Vital Signs brief, “STEM Help Wanted,” paints a bright picture for individuals with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) background. An analysis of online job postings and unemployment data in the past 3 years finds that:
- Across the STEM fields, job postings outnumbered unemployed people by almost 2-to-1
- Overall, unemployed people outnumbered job postings by well more than 3-to-1
Those numbers clearly show STEM is where the jobs are, and the contrast between STEM occupations and other major occupational areas is particularly striking.
- Healthcare occupations that require STEM: 3.2 jobs per unemployed person
- Office and Administrative Support: 4 unemployed persons per job posting
- Management: 2.2 unemployed persons per job posting
- Business and Financial: 1.7 unemployed per posting
Of course, demand will always vary from one STEM occupational category to the next. Some categories weathered the recent downturn better than others.
- There were about 1.4 computer programming jobs for every 1 unemployed computer programmer but more than 4 network and computer systems administrators for every 1 unemployed qualified network or computer systems administrator.
- Job postings outnumbered the unemployed by 1.3-to–1 in electronic and electrical engineering. Unemployed civil engineers, however, outnumbered civil engineering job postings by almost 2-to-1.
CTEq’s analysis of online job postings and unemployment data shows similar patterns across every state, and for their own economic vitality, states must put in place policies that help workers get retrained with STEM skills, offer incentives to students to master STEM knowledge, and focus on the pipeline—beginning in elementary school—to create a robust supply of STEM-adept citizens.
Earlier this month, CTEq gathered more than 200 business, education, non-profit, government and policy leaders representing 42 state teams, including the District of Columbia, at the Vital Signs Forum to look at the “STEM Help Wanted” Vital Signs report, review other critical indicators for which CTEq is currently analyzing data, and examine effective policy levers that can address weak indicators to move their state STEM agendas forward.