In honor of upcoming college graduations, it’s important to dive into the statistics of the incoming STEM workforce and why more students are now choosing STEM careers.
The share of bachelor’s degree holders in the U.S. who majored in STEM related programs rose to 4.7 percent in 2017 from 4.2 percent in 2009 – although this number looks small, this is an increase of nearly 1 million students over the period, and 224,000 alone in 2017, according to Census Bureau.
The changes may help the U.S. labor market amid a shortage of STEM talent as the government is projecting faster-than-average employment growth in STEM fields.
What is contributing to the increasing interest in STEM careers? Here are two possibilities:
- Majoring in math and technology-related subjects leads to the biggest salaries, while the value of arts and humanities degrees is less clear. There is growing awareness among students in the years following the 2007-09 recession about the value of a college degree and its relevance in the workforce.
- Military veterans have taken notice of the growing STEM labor market as many already have the right skills for those jobs. A recently proposed bill could remove scholarship barriers to help more veterans access STEM degrees and take advantage of their full education benefits in pursuing a four-year degree needed for certain STEM careers.
STEM majors projected to be class of 2019’s top paid
The initial starting salary projections for Class of 2019 bachelor’s degree graduates strongly indicate that those with STEM degrees will continue to earn the highest starting salaries.
Although here at Whitaker, our typical job assignments and searches are for experienced professionals, it’s important to monitor our STEM workforce and the supply to meet our client’s growing needs. The salaries reflected in table 1 above correlate with our annual salary survey of the oil & gas and chemical industries.
Congratulations to the incoming STEM workforce and the positive impact for our growing labor market. Should you need additional information or resources, we’re here to help!