1 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Engage to excel: producing one million additional college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Executive Office of the President of the United States, 2012). These data are consistent with our conclusion that there is significant variation in the demand for graduates, depending on the STEM discipline. 50 Susan R. Morrissey, “Starting salaries,” Chemical and Engineering News, June 4, 2012, pp. Yet although many yearn for such jobs, fewer than half of those who earn science or engineering doctorates end up in the sort of academic positions that directly use what they were trained for.”. Yes and Yes . Richard C. Larson is Mitsui Professor, Engineering Systems Division, and founding director, Center for Engineering System Fundamentals, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Our objective is to highlight the heterogeneity of the demand for and supply of STEM workers, rather than paint a complete picture of supply and demand across all STEM job segments. If the number of STEM workers is greater than the number of employers, we have a queue of STEM workers, meaning that there is a STEM surplus. Employers or job positions can be thought of as a finite number of taxicabs, and STEM workers can be thought of as a stream of would-be passengers. Download Citation | STEM crisis or STEM surplus? In fact, there are signs of an oversupply of Ph.D.’s vying for tenure-track faculty positions in many disciplines (e.g., biomedical sciences, physical sciences).”, “In the government and government-related job sector, certain STEM disciplines have a shortage of positions at the Ph.D. level (e.g., materials science engineering, nuclear engineering) and in general (e.g., systems engineers, cybersecurity, and intelligence professionals) due to the U.S. citizenship requirement. These sentiments were generally echoed in our interviews. To obtain firsthand data, we also interviewed talent recruiters from a wide variety of organizations, including government contractors, media companies, information technology companies, research institutes, startups, and consulting agencies. Are enough young people choosing STEM careers so we can meet future demands? By segmenting the STEM labor market into different disciplines, sectors, and skill levels, we find that there is considerable heterogeneity in the supply and demand of workers. They might want to read "STEM crisis or STEM surplus? On October 5, 1957, New York Times readers faced a stark headline over their morning coffee: “Soviet Fires Earth Satellite into … For years politicians and pundits have forecast a deficit of American STEM workers and have poured money and resources into averting the shortage. The characteristics of the queue depend on different factors: the rate of job turnover (cf. Over the past decade, there has been substantial concern regarding the adequacy of the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce. 48 Brian Vastag, “U.S. passenger arrival rate); the number of positions available (cf. Some proclaim an impending STEM crisis, others a STEM surplus. The article examined the heterogeneous nature of STEM occupations on the basis of statistical data, current research papers, interviews with company recruiters across a range of industries, and anecdotal evidence from newspapers. A comprehensive literature review, in conjunction with employment statistics, newspaper articles, and our own interviews with company recruiters, reveals a significant heterogeneity in the STEM labor market: the academic sector is generally oversupplied, while the government sector and private industry have shortages in specific areas. | These R0 statistics confirm anecdotal accounts. The number of jobs requiring technical training is growing at five times the rate of other occupations.”. Do we have enough STEM workers to meet the demands of the labor market? Hence, interview results are included only when they supplement the literature or fill gaps in it. Analogously, the demand for petroleum engineers in Texas is different from the demand for petroleum engineers in Massachusetts. 17 Disciplines were included only if there were data available for both the number of Ph.D.’s and the number of faculty. Software development skills at all degree levels were also in high demand. Academia tends to absorb the Ph.D.’s who are unable to find positions in industry into postdoc positions. https://goo.gl/qiIOQl, Posted by: 9 “Testimony of Michael S. Teitelbaum before the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation,” November 6, 2007; see transcript, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-110hhrg35857/html/CHRG-110hhrg35857.htm. Using a “taxicab queuing model” as a framing metaphor, this article examines the heterogeneous nature of STEM occupations by studying distinct STEM disciplines and employment sectors on the basis of current literature and statistical data, as well as anecdotal evidence from newspapers.4 To augment our findings, we interviewed company recruiters from a wide range of industries in order to gauge the ability of employers to fill open positions. A manager for a large government contractor found substantial shortages in hiring of Ph.D.’s in fields such as nuclear engineering, materials science, and thermohydraulic engineering.31 This contractor requires only a dozen or so workers in each field, but the supply of U.S. citizens with doctorates in these fields is small. It all depends. In the government and government-related employment sector, we found no evidence of widespread STEM shortages; however, there may be shortages at the advanced-degree level due to citizenship and security clearance requirements. In September of 2013, IEEE Spectrum published an article with the provocative title The STEM Crisis is a Myth: Forget the dire predictions of a looming shortfall of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, by Robert Charette. The article examined the heterogeneous nature of STEM occupations on the basis of statistical data, current research papers, interviews with company recruiters across a range of industries, and anecdotal evidence from newspapers. This paper tries to reconcile the “STEM Crisis” vs. “STEM Surplus” debate by segmenting the STEM labor market into different industries, occupations, and skill levels. Posted by: In addition, the aerospace and defense industry has experienced difficulty in hiring mechanical engineers, systems engineers, and aerospace engineers. We have employers searching for employees, analogous to a queue of taxis waiting for passengers, and another queue of STEM workers searching for jobs, similar to how passengers wait for taxis. Similarly, the National Academy of Sciences Committee, charged with identifying the needs of the U.S. DOD and the U.S. defense industrial base, found that DOD representatives almost unanimously stated that there was no STEM workforce crisis, but that there were specific areas in which needs were not being met.28 For example, 800 funded positions were open for 90 days or more for systems engineers and other STEM workers, and there were opportunities for cybersecurity and intelligence professionals as well. At the same time, many experts have presented evidence that there is a surplus of STEM workers. As intimated from the outset, the literature on the supply and demand of STEM workers is bipolar, with one side proclaiming an impending STEM crisis and the other side asserting a STEM surplus. We evaluate these interviews by means of labor market data and scholarly work so as to understand better, from a recruiter’s perspective, the hiring needs of employers and the hiring difficulties encountered by STEM workers. 44 Tom Morrison, Bob Maciejewski, Craig Giffi, Emily Stover DeRocco, Jennifer McNelly, and Gardner Carrick, Boiling point? Master’s-level graduates are employed predominantly as research associates and staff scientists or, at teaching institutions, as instructors or lecturers. For example, R0 = 6.9 signifies that a tenure-track position is available for only 14 percent (1 out of 6.9) of new Ph.D.’s in engineering. 37 Abby Lombardi, “Software development ranks as the most in-demand skill for tech jobs,” Wanted Analytics, September 5, 2013. 7 Senator Bob Casey, STEM education: preparing for the jobs of the future (Washington, DC: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, April 2012). Experienced mobile application developers are especially coveted.38 In certain cases, it does not even matter whether a candidate has a bachelor’s degree in a specific area: companies39 are looking for candidates with hands-on experience in software development through “hack-a-thons,” extracurricular projects, and internships. 35 Lou Frenzel, “Is there really a shortage of engineers?” Communiqué, September 16, 2013, http://electronicdesign.com/blog/there-really-shortage-engineers. In fact, there are signs of an oversupply of Ph.D.’s vying for tenure-track faculty positions in many disciplines (e.g., biomedical sciences, physical sciences). To understand this conundrum better, we examine the STEM market at a deeper level. The National Research Council Committee states that the Air Force had a robust supply of personnel with STEM degrees to meet its recruiting goals for STEM positions, with a few exceptions.27 The Air Force Personnel Center found staffing gaps in electrical engineering, operations research, quantitative psychology, physics, nuclear engineering, and systems engineering, specifically with regard to graduates with advanced degrees. : Howard Richmond | August 09, 2016 at 12:53 PM, we estimate R0 for all fields study.: is there really a shortage of STEM workers, especially in tenure-track positions in academia the and! There a STEM crisis or STEM surplus a, a government contractor that requires U.S. citizenship be... 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