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Submission + - The STEM Crisis Is a Myth 2

theodp writes: Forget the dire predictions of a looming shortfall of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, advises IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Robert Charette — the STEM crisis is a myth. In investigating the simultaneous claims of both a shortage and a surplus of STEM workers, Charette was surprised by "the apparent mismatch between earning a STEM degree and having a STEM job. Of the 7.6 million STEM workers counted by the Commerce Department, only 3.3 million possess STEM degrees. Viewed another way, about 15 million U.S. residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline, but three-fourths of them—11.4 million—work outside of STEM." So, why would universities, government, and tech companies like Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft cry STEM-worker-shortage-wolf? "Clearly, powerful forces must be at work to perpetuate the cycle," Charette writes. "One is obvious: the bottom line. Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit...Governments also push the STEM myth because an abundance of scientists and engineers is widely viewed as an important engine for innovation and also for national defense. And the perception of a STEM crisis benefits higher education, says Ron Hira, because as 'taxpayers subsidize more STEM education, that works in the interest of the universities' by allowing them to expand their enrollments. An oversupply of STEM workers may also have a beneficial effect on the economy, says Georgetown's Nicole Smith, one of the coauthors of the 2011 STEM study. If STEM graduates can’t find traditional STEM jobs, she says, 'they will end up in other sectors of the economy and be productive.'"
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The STEM Crisis Is a Myth

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  • by InfiniteLoopCounter ( 1355173 ) on Saturday August 31, 2013 @07:18PM (#44727061)

    I would love even the chance of getting a secure, long-term science career -- but I live in too small a city and now am several years into another line of work. Like many other people, I have had to settle for a job quite outside the field of specialisation in IT. Sure I, like many other young people in the workforce, have become really good at doing my job and it makes good money, but it is boring as all hell compared to what I'd really like to do in the long term. Under-employment of skills sucks and a terrible long line of politicians are squarely to blame. Only good policy can change this and real investment into STEM and our collective futures.

  • Reading this it looks like that in a few areas there are not enough STEM people. But for most STEM trained or curious people there aren't enough jobs. Quite simply outside of a few geographic areas STEM jobs are few and far between. Also you have a situation where for true advancement you aren't just looking for someone who has passed the courses and has a degree but is of the best and brightest. But a typical science job does not pay all that well; a job on wall street does. A job in the upper ranks of man

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp