A report from the US Department of Commerce indicates good job prospects for workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a grouping which includes computer science.
The report's title STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future neatly sums up its findings, which include:
- STEM workers command higher wages, earning 26 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts
- Workers in STEM occupations on average experience lower unemployment rates than workers in other fields
- STEM degree holders enjoy higher earnings,
regardless of whether they work in STEM or
- More than two-thirds of STEM workers have
at least a college degree, compared to less
than one-third of non-STEM workers.
In 2010 there were 7.6 million STEM workers in the United States, that's about 1 in 18 workers. STEM jobs had experienced a 7.9% growth rate over the previous 10 years compared to only 2.6% for non-STEM jobs. Between 2008 and 2018, U.S. STEM jobs are predicted to grow by 17%, compared to a growth rate estimate of just under 10% for non-STEM jobs.
(Click chart to view)
While this is good news for existing STEM workers there may be problems ahead with a shortage of qualified job candidates.
According to a 2010 report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, fewer than one-third of eighth graders in the U.S. are considered proficient in math and science.
It also highlights a lack of teachers who can effectively teach STEM subjects leading to a lack of interest on the part of students. By the Commerce Department's estimates, there will be about 1.3 million new STEM jobs to fill in the U.S. This means that STEM education needs to pick up soon to provide a pool of trained and motivated students ready to enter the workforce when those jobs become available.