The U.S. will be dependent on foreign workers to fill future STEM jobs, according to analysis of the third annual U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index, unveiled this week at usnews.com/stemindex.
While the 2016 STEM Index shows increases in STEM degrees granted and STEM hiring, America continues to have a shortage of STEM workers. There were 30,835 additional STEM graduates and 230,246 additional STEM jobs from 2014-2015.
"While our universities are producing more STEM graduates, many of these students are foreigners on temporary visas," saidBrian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. "Despite significant public and private investment, we are still not developing an American STEM workforce to fill the jobs of the future. It's clear that we need to focus our efforts on getting more kids, particularly women and African-Americans, interested in pursuing STEM at a young age."
The STEM Index, developed exclusively by U.S. News & World Report with support from Raytheon, provides a national snapshot of STEM jobs and education. The index measures key indicators of economic- and education-related STEM activity in the United States since the year 2000.
Key findings on America's STEM workforce from the 2016 U.S. News/ Raytheon STEM Index:
STEM degrees granted and STEM jobs and salaries are all increasing:
- There was a 6 percent increase in STEM graduate degrees granted and a 5 percent increase in all STEM degrees granted.
- STEM jobs have increased much faster than overall employment: 28 percent since 2000 compared to 6 percent for all jobs.
- Computer jobs hold the top seven positions for the highest number of employees.
- 3 out of 5 of the highest paying STEM salaries are in IT-related fields. Information Systems Managers have a yearly salary of$141,000; Computer Research Scientists are paid $115,580; and Computer Hardware Engineers make $114,970.
Gaps between men and women in engineering and technology fields are deeply entrenched, starting as early as high school. Gender gaps persist in higher education:
- Across the board, men expressed more interest than women in STEM subjects, with dramatic differences in engineering.
- Four percent of high school females reported an interest in engineering, compared to 34 percent of males.
- Two percent of girls reported an interest in technology, while 18 percent of boys expressed an interest in the field.
- On Advanced Placement tests, a higher percentage of male students scored a three or higher compared to females in all STEM subjects; on the SATs, males of all demographics scored on average 30 points higher on the math section than females.
- Only 3 percent of associate degrees and 8 percent of bachelor's degrees granted to females were in a STEM field. By contrast, 8 percent of associate degrees and 13 percent of bachelor's degrees granted to males were in STEM fields.
- At the graduate level, only 6 percent of graduate degrees earned by females were in STEM fields. Of graduate degrees granted to males, 11 percent were STEM degrees.
Despite some gains, particularly among Hispanic students, gaps between whites and non-Asian minorities in STEM are apparent in high school and continue into college and graduate school:
- The number of STEM degrees awarded to Hispanic students showed large increases at all education levels since last year. From 2014-2015 there was a 9 percent increase in two- year degrees in STEM, a 13 percent increase in bachelor's degrees in STEM, and an 8 percent increase in graduate degrees in STEM.
- On the SAT, black students scored an average of 106 points lower than white students and 170 points lower than Asian students on the math section.
- The number of white students who earned STEM degrees grew 15 percent in the last five years, while the number of black students fell by roughly the same margin.
- Across all demographic groups, interest in mathematics has declined.
Cybersecurity is arguably the most critical workforce need, and demand for these jobs is outpacing the overall IT job market. "While the STEM Index shows that computer science is a top STEM career choice, the need for cyber talent has never been greater," said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. "Protecting networks is a big concern for industry, government and the military, but as a country, we haven't educated and trained enough people to protect these environments. Public and private interests need to do more to cultivate an interest and support development efforts in these career paths – our national security depends on it."
The STEM Index methodology details how the U.S. News data team created the index, which is made up of 19 sub-indices and thousands of data points divided into nine component areas.
The Index relies on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the College Board, the National Research Center for College & University Admissions, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, the ACT and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
SOURCE U.S. News & World Report