Do We Really Need More STEM Grads?

STEM-POCALYPSE NOW: Seems that governments everywhere are pumping money into STEM programs like Science itself is going out of style...but is it? Not quite, according to a recent piece in the IEEE Spectrum. Based on data gathered from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Commerce, the article finds that there is a mismatch between STEM degrees and STEM careers. Of the 15 million STEM degree holders in the U.S., only 3.6 million go into a career in STEM. (The author admits that the numbers can be fudged tremendously depending on recession and how researchers define a STEM career). The piece goes on to explain how almost half of STEM careers are filled by employees with no degree in STEM. (We humanities majors find a way, it seems).

So where is all this STEM anxiety coming from? The articles points to a cyclical boom and bust cycle based on fear of competing nations (in this case India and China) that has been happening since World War II. Companies also have a vested interest in keeping the talent pool large and universities benefit from taxpayers subsidizing more STEM education. 


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