recommended reading

Why the S in STEM Is Overrated

Alexander Raths/Shutterstock.com

Do we really need more science grads?

It’s an easy question to answer for politicians, university officials, conference speakers, and just about anybody whose job is to talk about American competitiveness for money. It’s rote that we need more STEM students – more science, technology, engineering and math grads – sprinting off American campuses into the labor force. But according to the data, employers don’t like paying science grads quite as much as we like talking about them.

Is STEM one letter too long?

Wage data in several states show that employers are paying more -- often far more -- for techies (i.e.: computer science majors), engineers, and math grads. But no evidence suggests that biology majors, the most popular science field of study, earn a wage premium. Chemistry graduates earn somewhat more than biology grads, but still don’t command the wages that are quite TEM-quality.

This conclusion is based on detailed information from Texas, Colorado and Virginia. All three states have linked data about graduate programs with wage data from their unemployment insurance systems through College Measures. Very important to note upfront is that these wages are early career earnings. Many science students go on to medical school or continue with doctoral studies. Biology majors that go on to become, for example, anesthesiologists will be very rich, indeed. But the number of advanced degrees in these fields is dwarfed by the flood of science bachelor's (and associate's and master's degrees).

The data from these states show that while students in technology, engineering and math earn more, on average, than other students, graduates in the “S” fields in STEM do not. Wages are a key signal of demand for workers. If science majors are in such high demand, it is odd that they are so poorly rewarded for their skills.

Read more at The Atlantic

(Image via Alexander Raths/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.