STEM’s role in future jobs
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Why is it important?
The United States has traditionally produced the world’s top research scientists and engineers, leading to breakthrough advances in science and technology. This technological innovation has been a primary driver of U.S. economic growth, with studies showing that half or more of economic growth in the U.S. over the past 50 years is attributable to improved productivity resulting from innovation.
The need for workers with STEM skills is heightened in today’s global economy. Technological innovation improves the competitive position of U.S. industries, drives export growth and supports high-quality jobs. Additionally, demand for STEM-capable workers has increased even in traditionally non-STEM fields due to the diffusion of technology across industries and occupations.
While it is difficult to project trends in the labor market, the demand for STEM-skilled workers is expected to continue to increase in the future as both the number and proportion of STEM jobs are projected to grow. New Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that employment in STEM occupations is expected to expand faster than employment in non-STEM occupations from 2010 to 2020, by 17 percent versus 14 percent. While the projected difference between the STEM and non-STEM employment growth rates does not appear to be particularly dramatic, this small difference is due in large part to the Great Recession and the severe job losses concentrated in non-STEM occupations.
In addition to government projections of employment growth in STEM fields, business organizations and other groups have issued numerous reports and surveys that suggest that there is a heightening need for qualified STEM workers – both those with highly specialized skills as well as those with a more general knowledge of STEM concepts.
– From the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee report: “STEM Education: Preparing for the Jobs of the Future,” Sen. Bob Casey, Chairman, April 2012