The pipeline of STEM talent in the U.S. continues to lag even as the need for tech professionals continues to soar, according to an index put together by Raytheon and U.S. News.
The U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index looks at 93 factors, including ACT math and science scores, Advance Placement test scores, college and graduate degrees granted and U.S. employment in STEM fields. Says the report:
…after a long period of flat to down indicators, there has been some upward movement, particularly in the actual number of STEM degrees granted at the undergraduate and graduate levels. But even with those numbers on the rise, as a proportion of total degrees granted, they still hover close to the same levels that existed in 2000, indicating that the education pipeline to fill the current and future jobs that will require STEM skills still isn’t producing enough talent.
In addition, the lack of progress in attracting women and minorities to STEM pursuits is troubling, suggests Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report. “A big part of the problem is the continuing split that puts Asian-Americans and white males on the side of those who are driven to acquire STEM skills, and women, blacks and Latinos on the other side of the dividing line,” he said. “The labor pool going forward will not be made up mainly of white males and Asian-Americans. The labor pool will be increasingly Latino, and that group is not advancing in STEM fields right now.”
Using U.S. government numbers, which are considered highly conservative, STEM employment in the U.S. has risen by more than 30 percent, from 12.8 million STEM jobs in 2000 to 16.8 million in 2013. Economic reports continue to tout tech as key to rebounding job growth.
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Chart: U.S. News & World Report