NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

STEM Degrees Offer Better Job Security

April 15, 2015

Education reformers have recently turned their attention to STEM — the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — because of a lack of workers and a mismatch between STEM degree-holders and STEM fields.

Here are the facts:

  • In 2012, on the standard international education test, American students ranked 36th among developed countries in mathematics, with a score of 481 out of a possible 1,000 and below the average score of 494. In science, U.S. students scored 497 out of a possible 1,000 and below the average score of 501.
  • STEM workers make higher wages. Employers are clamoring for workers, and America needs more students in these areas if it hopes to keep up with global innovation. The growing STEM movement has been called the answer to poverty, gender discrimination and unemployment.
  • Today, there are 277,000 STEM job vacancies, and it is estimated that there could be 2.4 million vacancies by 2018. Moreover, the number of degree-holders in these fields does not match actual employment data. For example, there are over 12.1 million STEM degree-holders in the United States, but employment in those fields in 2012 was just 5.3 million.
  • According to the Commerce Department, over the past 10 years, the growth in STEM jobs outpaced growth in non-STEM jobs 3-to-1.

Source: Lloyd Bentsen IV, "Lloyd Bentsen IV: Focus on STEM Education A No-Brainer," Dallas Morning News, April 13, 2015. 


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