Monday, September 9, 2013

STEM Employment: Who Works in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields?

Growth in women’s share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations – commonly referred to as STEM jobs – has slowed since the 1990s, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released today. Women’s employment in STEM has slowed because their share in computer occupations declined to 27 percent in 2011 after reaching a high of 34 percent in 1990.Blacks and Hispanics also remain underrepresented in STEM jobs.

These statistics come from two reports released today: Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin and The Relationship Between Science and Engineering Education and Employment in STEM Occupations. STEM workers include those who work in computer and mathematical occupations, engineers, engineering technicians, life scientists, physical scientists, social scientists and science technicians. It also includes managers, teachers, practitioners, researchers and technicians. The reports are an example of the important education and occupation statistics that the American Community Survey produces annually, allowing businesses, communities and civic leaders to make informed decisions on workforce development

In 2011, there were 7.2 million STEM workers accounting for 6 percent of the U.S. workforce compared with 4 percent in 1970. Half of STEM workers were employed in computer occupations, followed by engineers (32 percent), life and physical scientists (12 percent), social scientists (4 percent), and mathematicians and statisticians (3 percent). While women make up nearly half of the total workforce, they comprised only 26 percent of the STEM workforce in 2011.
“We have seen an increase in women employed in STEM occupations, but they are still underrepresented in engineering and computer occupations that make up more than 80 percent of STEM employment,” said Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist in the Census Bureau’s Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch and the reports’ author.

To see the local breakdown of degree fields for Herkimer and Oneida County graduates programs, and to see how females and males compared in terms of their degrees, see this prior post about regional STEM college degrees.