STEMconnector® and My College Options® have released a national report linking student interest in STEM education with STEM job opportunities. The new report — Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs? — identifies the STEM interests of more than one million U.S. high school students interested in pursuing STEM careers, and links them to increasing demand for over 16 million STEM jobs by 2018. It also provides in-depth profiles of more than one million students interested in STEM majors and careers with breakouts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report is designed to motivate students interested in STEM careers by providing a breakdown of “hot” STEM jobs, salary figures, and a projection of the future STEM job market.
Highlights of the STEM Student/Jobs Report
Where are the STEM Students? The report documents how STEM interest has been continually rising in high-school students since 2004, and an astounding 25% of all high-school students currently have an interest in STEM majors and careers. Since the graduating class of 2004, overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by over 20%. Arguably the most concerning trend with students interested in STEM is the increasing gender-gap. Nationally, about 14.5% of female students express STEM as compared to 39.6% for their male counterparts. Since 2011, interest in STEM courses has grown and is projected to continue rising for Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and White students. The Southern region of the US has the highest concentration (36%) of students interested in STEM topics.
What are their Career Interests by STEM Discipline? In 2012, Mechanical Engineering (20.4%) was the most popular major or career choice among STEM-interested students, while Biology was second at 11.9%. American Indian students are the most likely to be interested in Engineering, compared to students of other ethnic groups. Female students are significantly more likely to be interested in the STEM majors/careers of Biology, Chemistry, Marine Biology and Science. Engineering and Technology interest are on the rise, while interest in Science and Mathematics has decreased over the past few years.
Where are the STEM Jobs? In 2012, the US STEM workforce surpassed 7.4 million workers and it is expected to grow significantly through 2018, to an estimated 8.65 million workers. These numbers (7.4 million and 8.65 million) don’t reflect people who are “self employed” in STEM fields. If “self employed” is included the number of people employed in STEM fields in 2012 was 14.9 million, and is projected to reach 15.68 million by 2018.
Types of STEM Jobs: In 2012, accountants and auditors comprised the largest number of STEM-related jobs in the US with over 1.66 million, a number that is projected to increase to 1.78 million by 2016. Currently the manufacturing sector faces a large shortage of employees with STEM skills. Alarmingly, 600,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled in spite of current economic conditions.
New STEM Job Areas: Between 2011 and 2015, an estimated 1.7 million jobs will be created in cloud computing in North America. Another noteworthy increase in STEM jobs has come courtesy of mobile application (“apps”) technology, which has fostered an estimated 311,000 jobs in the “app economy.” By 2018, the bulk of STEM jobs will be in Computing (71%) followed by traditional Engineering (16%), Physical Sciences (7%), Life Sciences (4%) and Mathematics (2%).
Data & Sources
The student data used in this report is drawn primarily from My College Options’ annual survey of 5.5 million high school students, which covers 95% of U.S. high schools. The data for the STEM employment outlook and projections comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), and was compiled by The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America (ASTRA)