Report

STEM: Science Technology Engineering Math

This study carefully lays out the reasons STEM is not a supply issue, but a demand issue. Many STEM educated workers pursue higher-paying careers in finance and management—even though STEM jobs pay high above the average for college-educated workers.

(The migration of math and engineering students toward very high paying financial services jobs demanding number crunching skills has been well-told.) The influx of foreign students pursuing STEM education has been blamed by some for a crowding out effect, displacing would-be American STEM workers and graduates—17 percent of STEM workers are foreign-born, compared to the overall workforce average of 12 percent, while 59 percent of PhD recipients in engineering programs in 2009 were foreign-born. Whether foreign nationals are pushing U.S. STEM candidates out or filling in holes due to low domestic interest in the fields is an unresolved debate.