About that STEM shortage

A week or so ago, somebody on Twitter shared this post at the US Census Bureau blog1 on employment in STEM fields.2 It includes a chart showing the trends in the fields as a fraction of total STEM employment. It doesn't tell you about would-be STEM workers who are unemployed, nor does it tell you about unfilled positions in these areas. Still, I think you can get a rough idea of the relative demand for workers in each field. If there are many people currently employed in a field, it implies a large demand for that field. Said another way, if there weren't demand for that work, why would those people still have jobs?

I was not surprised to see that T and E are bigger slices of the STEM pie. What did surprise me was how much bigger they are. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a little graphic. The colored bars are proportional to each field's contribution to total STEM employment in 2011.3

  S cience includes life, physical and social sciences.  T echnology means "computer workers," and it's 50% of STEM employment.  E ngineering accounts for approximately another third of the jobs. Sorry,  M ath people, no jobs for you.

Science includes life, physical and social sciences. Technology means "computer workers," and it's 50% of STEM employment. Engineering accounts for approximately another third of the jobs. Sorry, Math people, no jobs for you.

So when people are talking about a STEM shortage, do they really mean STEM, or do they maybe mean TE? I'm guessing the latter.

Update: Here's some more reading on the subject. via @Wandedob


1: Anyone else think it's kind of neat that there's an official US Census Bureau blog? It's called Random Samplings.

2: "STEM" here means the usual "science, technology, engineering and math," but it includes life, physical and social sciences, which isn't always the case. Also "technology" really means "computers," which is, admittedly, a pretty broad definition.

3: The numbers I used come from the chart in the post