In 2012, President Obama announced that our country needed to produce 1 million STEM professionals over the next 10 years to stay technologically competitive. A number of writers responded with data purporting a surplus of STEM workers. Who was right? Yi Xue and Richard Larson say all are right in their Monthly Labor Review paper, “STEM Crisis or STEM Surplus? Yes and yes.”
The authors wisely point out it depends at the sector and level of job that you’re looking at. In academia, there are few professor positions for those with Ph.D. degrees, but plenty of instructor, lecturer and adjunct positions. In general, academics have a surplus of STEM professionals. But areas in the government and private sectors, do have a shortage of workers holding bachelor and graduate degrees, especially in the computer science and engineering disciplines.
So if you hear a STEM student bemoaning the job shortage, refer the student to this article and encourage some deeper research before giving up on STEM.
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