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New Study Suggests No Shortage of American STEM Graduates 344

Posted by timothy
from the shortage-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study released Wednesday by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute reinforces what a number of researchers have come to believe: that the STEM worker shortage is a myth. The EPI study found that the United States has 'more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations.' Basic dynamics of supply and demand would dictate that if there were a domestic labor shortage, wages should have risen. Instead, researchers found, they've been flat, with many Americans holding STEM degrees unable to enter the field and a sharply higher share of foreign workers taking jobs in the information technology industry. (IT jobs make up 59 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the study.)"
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New Study Suggests No Shortage of American STEM Graduates

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:35AM (#43556879)

    Obviously the shortage is dreamed up by corporations attempting to justify importing cheap foreign labor.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      But...but....but....all the politicians and CEO's say companies can't get Americans and need more H1B indentured servants. Surely they wouldn't lie to us, right?

    • by DickBreath (207180) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:15PM (#43558599) Homepage
      It's not a lie. There is a shortage. Seriously.

      There is a serious shortage of American STEM graduates who will work for little to nothing.

      We need more H1B's to correct this problem.
  • Employability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:36AM (#43556885) Journal
    This actual study itself has at least one very good point that may not be obvious to people: our leadership's drive to promote the idea of a STEM shortage is primarily to justify guestworkers and allow them to add provisions like OPT-STEM extensions [uscis.gov]. Don't get me wrong, there is a sort of shadow brain drain war going on here that for a long time the West had easily been winning. UK, Germany, USA, etc had been sucking up the talent from India, China, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, you name it we took the brightest from it. And it was really really easy. And now Western leaders are kind of getting uncomfortable because, well, it's not really working in our favor anymore. I care that our politicians are being deceiving about this concept but I don't care about the "taking our jobs." In fact, I'm one of those meritocratic boogeymen that thinks our borders should be open with nothing more than a background check into your criminal record before you're granted entrance to the United States. Sure, some other stuff would need to change but that's an entirely different argument I'm not going to get into.

    The main point of this study, however, is what the Post picked up on and is being reiterated: there is no shortage of STEM workers here in the US. And while that's likely true, the study (though comprehensive) doesn't really seem to ever step up to the plate and look at STEM versus non-STEM in the cases of employability and what those industries do for our GDP. Our leaders like Obama are operating on the assumption that a surplus in STEM workers is better than a perfectly equalized workforce with zero unemployment. They're not going to say that but my guess is that they're getting uneasy that China is mandating how many STEM workers it will produce and limiting the number of liberal arts degrees. The West is now uneasy that they might start losing the STEM war and they're trying to figure out how to scare their populations into letting them selectively brain drain other countries. A fake "massive shortage of STEM workers" is pretty much their only card so far.
    • Re:Employability (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:17AM (#43557489)

      USA, etc had been sucking up the talent from India, China, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, you name it we took the brightest from it.

      Maybe, but that doesn't mean that all, or even most, of the STEM people we "took" from those places are the best and the brightest. Nobody in the US opposes having the "best and the brightest" come here, but the vast majority are simply of average ability and recruited to reduce pay of people in the US.

      I'm one of those meritocratic boogeymen that thinks our borders should be open with nothing more than a background check into your criminal record before you're granted entrance to the United States.

      No problem. I think we should do that for STEM people as soon as we start doing it for doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc., eliminate sugar, ethanol, orange juice and other agricultural tariffs, and get rid of things like region coding and nabbing the elderly for buying their prescriptions in that third world hellhole of unsafe pharmaceuticals called "Canada".

      The West is now uneasy that they might start losing the STEM war and they're trying to figure out how to scare their populations into letting them selectively brain drain other countries.

      How do we "loose the STEM war"? Since the study makes clear (as have other studies, many done much earlier) that there is no shortage of STEM people in the US, the purpose of massive guest worker programs (e.g. H-1B) is to reduce the pay of people in the US. This has nothing to do with how "globally competitive" the US is, and everything to do with how the pie gets divided up here. The plutocracy doesn't like this whole "middle class" thing where many Americans make a decent living.

      • Re:Employability (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:53AM (#43558165)

        "Nobody in the US opposes having the "best and the brightest" come here, but the vast majority are simply of average ability and recruited to reduce pay of people in the US."

        I think you're referring to this study [informationweek.com].

        H1-B workers are not the "best and brightest" at all. They often did not compare well to native U.S. workers. Companies just wanted them because they were cheap.

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      I liked the part where you tricked us into reading your conspiracy theory. You should have a show on Fox.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      You want to limit immigrants because you don't want a majority of Americans bringing their third-world ideas of bribery and corruption over here all at once and turning the US into a third-world country all the faster (than our politicians are already trying to).
  • by GGardner (97375) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:37AM (#43556905)
    There's a huge difference in the job market for pure scientists (the "S" in STEM), and IT folks. The job market for someone with a PhD in, say Astronomy is terrible. Lumping these folks together with the legions of code hackers is ridiculous.
    • by BigDaveyL (1548821) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:46AM (#43557037) Homepage

      This is a valid point. Perhaps the numbers are a bit overstated. But, the point in the article is still valid to an extent. Companies complain that they can't fill their run of the mill jobs with graduates. Secondly, at a time when underemployment/unemployment is higher than usual, and wages are flat, one should not have a problem finding "qualified" canidates.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:51AM (#43557121) Homepage Journal

      Yes, but people will perceive that distinction as goalpost moving. Let's be honest about what's happening here: we are moving into a post-worker society. The set of jobs that a computer+automated machinery can achieve is rapidly approaching the point where it surpasses average human capacity in almost every field.

      And I don't mean this as a neo-luddite "computers are taking our jobs" kind of way, just that the set of skills that are unique to humanity are shrinking. We're running, as fast as we can, at a point where ownership of capital is the only factor for success in a free-market economy.

      Globalization only compounds this fact, by making historically disenfranchised workers able to compete for the same shrinking set of valuable labor skills. We're headed back towards a 2-class society, and I don't like it.

      • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:02AM (#43557245) Journal

        And I don't mean this as a neo-luddite "computers are taking our jobs" kind of way, just that the set of skills that are unique to humanity are shrinking. We're running, as fast as we can, at a point where ownership of capital is the only factor for success in a free-market economy.

        That's when the blood begins to flow. And rightly so.

        • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:05AM (#43557289) Homepage Journal

          Unfortunately, I disagree with people who think a revolution will be a viable solution. Killing is one of the many things that computers are getting better at than us.

        • by Shajenko42 (627901) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:07AM (#43557327)
          And then the elites put themselves into gated communities with automated turrets set to kill anything that moves within range.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Sounds like the background to the diamond age. The rich live in massive archologies and settlements segregated by culture (Nippon vs New Atlantis vs Hindustan vs Heartland vs Han) and those who are not part of the tribes live on the scraps from up above (though those scraps are superior to many things that even middle class americans can get ahold of like food, medicine, and consumer goods)

            Either Join a tribe or get stepped on, as that piece of science ficition is becoming science fact.
            welcome to the futur

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819)
      So you are saying that we need more 3l33t Astronomers because the job market for them is terrible?

      "Lumping these folks together with the legions of code hackers is ridiculous."

      When you learn the difference between a Software Engineer and a "code hacker" you might be able to make an intelligent post. Until then, you are just another clueless guy without a job spitting out sour grapes because we don't need as many pie in the sky theorists as we do people who actually produce useful technology that solves toda

      • So you are saying that we need more 3l33t Astronomers because the job market for them is terrible?

        "Lumping these folks together with the legions of code hackers is ridiculous."

        When you learn the difference between a Software Engineer and a "code hacker" you might be able to make an intelligent post. Until then, you are just another clueless guy without a job spitting out sour grapes because we don't need as many pie in the sky theorists as we do people who actually produce useful technology that solves today's problems.

        I'd be willing to bet that someone with a PhD in astronomy could become a software engineer in a relatively short time... Maybe we should retrain our existing workforce instead of importing indentured servants?

        • I totally agree that we should retrain, but having a PhD in Astronomy says almost nothing about that persons ability to become a competent software engineer. They are two completely different disciplines. Some would love it and be excellent at it, others would hate it and suck at it.
          • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:31AM (#43557775)

            I totally agree that we should retrain, but having a PhD in Astronomy says almost nothing about that persons ability to become a competent software engineer. They are two completely different disciplines. Some would love it and be excellent at it, others would hate it and suck at it.

            Generally speaking, someone with a PhD in Astronomy has done a fair amount of coding to implement their ideas. It's not far to go from scientific computing to Software Engineering, and in fact such a person would likely have a better math background than most of his fellow SEs.

        • by lgw (121541)

          Science and engineering require very different mindsets (there's a reason each looks down on the other). Sure, a great researcher could probably be a good developer, but the great researchers should be doing research! An average-or-below researcher might not be bringing much to the table for software engineering.

    • Not sure there is that much difference, because those who started out as astronomers frequently end up in IT.
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      A big difference in the market for the finished product, not much of one for the raw supply.

      You can think of the sciences like game programming, where factors other than money motivate a surplus. It doesn't mean an unemployed scientist can't do something else "stemmy".

  • Why would we need so many people to work with Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopes anyway?

  • Stem shortage... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wpiman (739077) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:38AM (#43556927)
    of course it is a myth. It is just a ploy by large businesses to boost the H1B Visa program to increase the supply in order to push wages down.
    • by Bigby (659157)

      There is no such thing as a shortage. And large businesses know that as they know what markets are. As you said, they just see the prices are too high, so they claim a shortage...which is all perception.

      As an employee, I think there is a shortage of jobs, because they pay too low. We need to add more companies to compete with them. Again, perspective...

      It is like here in North Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. There wasn't a gas shortage, because the price would just go up. But then the governor and laws

  • by phrackwulf (589741) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:39AM (#43556937) Homepage

    I'll take, "Corporations prefer international young and desperate engineers they can lock into five or ten years of indentured servitude for much less money and minimal benefits for $500, Alex."

    • by VeriTea (795384)

      More like "Companies need highly talented engineers of which there are just too few to be had in the world and having 50 engineers of average talent for every position does nothing to help with the shortage."

      Engineers are not widgets. A great engineer is worth 50 mediocre engineers.

    • by neminem (561346)

      Indeed. I'm sure corporations would *love* to lock young desperate engineers into five or ten years of indentured servitude for 500$. Generally it's at still at least a few tens of thousands, but I'm sure they'd love to change that. :p

    • desperate engineers they can lock into five or ten years of indentured servitude

      That's a ridiculous exaggeration. It's only three to six years.

  • Correction: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:44AM (#43557015)

    There's no shortage of STEM graduates.

    There's most _certainly_ a shortage of _cheap_ STEM graduates.

    • There's no shortage of STEM graduates. There's most _certainly_ a shortage of _cheap_ STEM graduates.

      If something is in short supply, prices tend to go up. If the market price for STEM graduates is relatively high compared with other professions, that is strong evidence that there is indeed a tight market for STEM graduates. If there was a surplus of STEM graduates, their wages would tend to fall. Market forces are pretty good at solving this problem. Stipulating for argument's sake your claim that STEM graduates are not cheap, then by definition they must be in relatively short supply.

      • by cellocgw (617879)

        If something is in short supply, prices tend to go up.

        You may not have noticed, but every darn study there is points out that inflation-adjusted wages for nearly every lower and middle-class job has been flat or decreased for the last 30 years. There is no "supply and demand" response system in action. Heck, the place I work for increased their technical staff by over 30% in the very recent past -- a massive hiring effort -- but stuck obstinately to their target of paying 50th percentile wages.
        There may be choices of where to work, but there is little to no

        • by sjbe (173966)

          You may not have noticed, but every darn study there is points out that inflation-adjusted wages for nearly every lower and middle-class job has been flat or decreased for the last 30 years. There is no "supply and demand" response system in action.

          You are making several errors in your argument. First, there has been considerable movement in the wages of certain professions relative to the job market as a whole. Second, if supply and demand is not working, you do not seem to have a credible alternative theory for why the most fundamental law of economics is not working. Since there are no legal wage controls in play, if wages are flat it is simply because the demand has not exceeded the supply. Because the economy is more global, workers are compe

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            Since there are no legal wage controls in play, if wages are flat it is simply because the demand has not exceeded the supply.

            (emphasis mine).
            That, in a nutshell, supports my position.

    • When you come out of grad school owing 50K+ I wonder how cheap you'll be willing to work for. These H1B's, when they come over, I wonder how much in loans they owe? Does the Indian Government subsidize their sh*t? If so... well, there's yer problem.
      • OK I understand the part about the 50K debt .. BUT .. if you are on welfare how does the debt get paid off? Why not work for $60K or whatever it is that the H1B workers are getting paid? If you don't live extravagant, you can pay off $50K in debt on $60K in about 10 years .. so why is working for that amount bad? $60K is $40K per year more than what retail workers are getting paid. I mean, if it was up to me I think people who work the cash register at McDonald's should get paid $100K, and so do retail work

      • by lgw (121541)

        Arguably the reason US schools charge so much (ridiculous cost increases over the past 20 years, just insane) is government subsidies and loan guarantees. The government would help you borrow another $10K, and schools would immediately ratchet up tuition another $10K.

        That bubble is bursting now, however, which is really going to suck for a few years until tuitions collapse back to something reasonable.

        I still think universities should be able to charge only a percentage of what you make after graduation fo

  • by Kagato (116051) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:46AM (#43557033)

    I consult as a programmer. I work for large corporations and mid-cap companies. When I stated a LONG time ago it was pretty common to see college hires and interns in programming departments. Interns are extremely rare, and I haven't seen a college hire in a programming team in 6 years. Companies would rather hire "experienced" off-shore programmers. So the only pressure there is on wages is off-shore.

    Since the quality of off-shore work is a bit suspect I make a lot of money (almost certainly too much) as the lead/architect that's keeping things together. If companies want to stop paying people like me too much money they should be hiring young (cheap) workers to put downward pressure on wages. That doesn't happen because it's seen as easier to just go off-shore.

    That's not to say all off-shore programmers are bad. There are several eastern European/ec-Russian block states that produce high quality code. They happen to cost about 2X the wages of India Off-shore and carry some IP Protection baggage.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      I complete agree with what you have. I just want to state that eastern European/Russian staff are FAR better than your typical Indian staff. They should be charging 10x the rate for 10x the productivity.

  • The HR fantasy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:46AM (#43557035)

    The single-minded pursuit of the best and the brightest candidates is a fool's errand. There are only a few of "the best" by definition, and they can work wherever they want. If you are not getting enough good applicants, it's because you are failing to attract them in the competitive marketplace. That may not (just) be because of salary, but also factors like where you're located and whether the work is interesting at all.

    H1-B visas broaden the candidate pool but they won't change a company's competitive standing relative to others. "The best" are still going to go to the most attractive employers, and if that's not you, then I see two alternatives: either make your jobs more attractive somehow, or admit that what you really want are not "the best," but "the good enough."

    • This couldn't be more true. You're job you have is most likely average, by definition.
      • You're job you have is most likely average, by definition.

        Your English is less than average, by example. You just said "You are job have is most likely..."

        No wonder companies don't want to hire natives.

    • by VeriTea (795384)

      But now you have access to "the best" from around the world, not just the US. The US does not have a monopoly on the best minds.

      The rest of the H1B imports are wasted. We should have a cap on the total number of H1Bs and they should be auctioned off to the highest bidders. That way companies who find a great hire can always get them if they need them, and companies who are looking for indentured servants will be priced out of the market.

  • Suspect Logic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:47AM (#43557047)

    Basic dynamics of supply and demand would dictate that if there were a domestic labor shortage, wages should have risen. Instead, researchers found, they've been flat, with many Americans holding STEM degrees unable to enter the field and a sharply higher share of foreign workers taking jobs in the information technology industry. (IT jobs make up 59 percent of the STEM workforce, according to the study.)"

    Wages will only rise if the labor supply decreases. The labor supply won't decrease if you import foreign workers.

    In other words, your car will stop if you run out of gas. The car is still moving, so you must not be out of gas. Please kindly ignore the fact that you're rolling down a mountain.

  • Why then have our political and business classes made the decision not to enforce immigration laws against an unchecked flow of illegal aliens from Mexico?

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:54AM (#43557149)
    ... are STEM graduates who are willing to work for the pittance most companies intend to pay. The shortage is of salaries, not candidates.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 26, 2013 @10:56AM (#43557189)

    Allow an H1B visa holder to change jobs freely within the 6-year timeframe of their visa.

    An employer would *have* to pay them a competitive salary to keep them from defecting to the competition. In that case, the employer would only willingly go through the hassle of justifying an H1B hire (we'd keep that requirement firmly in place, BTW) if there was a true need, not simply a desire to get an indentured serf on the cheap.

    This would be good for everyone who's honest and upfront about their motives. It would only hurt sleazy employers who are falsely claiming a shortage of labor to underhandedly keep wages low.

    Of course, the cynical part of me says it'll never happen.

    And, for full disclosure: I started out as an H1B myself, and would have LOVED for the system to work like this...

    • Allow an H1B visa holder to change jobs freely within the 6-year timeframe of their visa.

      You're missing the point: why do we need the program at all? Why fix something that isn't even necessary in the first place?

  • Supply-and-demand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MetricT (128876) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:00AM (#43557233) Homepage

    There is indeed a profound shortage of STEM workers, in much the same sense that there is a profound shortage of 2014 Corvettes on sale for $10.

    The past twenty years has been dominated by the MBA and the JD. The same people who demand outrageous salaries on the premise that they are indispensible, seemingly have a difficuly time understanding supply-and-demand when it applies to other people.

    If you are capable of getting a degree in a STEM field, then you are likely more intelligent and rational than the average person. And an intelligent, rational person is less likely to commit to years of graduate work given the low salaries and job security that seem to be the norm. Why work and sweat so hard, when your CEO is just going to send your job to India so he can get his quarterly bonus.

    When STEM grad students can expect $100k job offers out of the gate, and MBAâ(TM)s have to live with their parents to make ends meet, I bet our âoeshortageâ of STEM workers vanishes rather quickly.

    (Have both a MBA and most of a Ph.D. in physics. Gave up the Ph.D. after I met brilliant people in my field who were in their 10th year as a postdoc and needing food stamps to make ends meet.)

  • by JWW (79176) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:04AM (#43557271)

    This report does effectively see what is going on. Its the continuing effort to destroy high wage jobs in the US because corporate interests do not want to pay high wages.

    Manufacturing jobs have faced this over the past few decades. Middle management has faced this. Now the skilled technical worker is the target for wage lowering.

    However, our Captains of Industry have lost the wisdom that Henry Ford had about making sure their employees can afford the things they make.

    There is really a neo-feudalism being formulated right now with the CEOs and corporate officers and boards taking a huge chunk of the company money, and with the money changers on the other side skimming off the top as well. They fail to see that enriching and advancing the middle class is the best way to actually make more money in the future. Their current method is going to empty the tank for the engine of the economy and set us on a continuous downward spiral.

    The key thing to fix this problem will be to have businesses move away from "Increase Shareholder Value" and back to "give the customer what they want."

    This is what is so dangerous about the Hedge fund managers' desires to increase Apple dividend payments. Apple has a clear focus on giving the customer good products. Turning them into a shareholder value type of company will only lead to disaster.

  • But it's obvious the foreign workers are willing to work for lower wages and benefits compared to US workers, which is why big corporations are pushing so hard to increase the visa limits. Why pay an American 50K a year for an IT job with medical, dental, vacation and sick pay when you can pay a foreigner $20K a year with no benefits?

    There is no shortage of STEM workers. There is though a shortage of STEM workers that are willing to work for barely above minimum wage.

    • by PortHaven (242123)

      Well, it's really more akin to paying $40,000 with no benefits versus $70,000 with benefits.

  • I think this is best summed up by the following short post at Marginal Revolution (an excellent economics blog):

    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/04/is-there-a-shortage-of-stem-workers-in-the-united-states.html [marginalrevolution.com]

    It comes down to the definition of shortage. The standard economics definition of a shortage is when supply does not meet demand. The paper shows that the supply of STEM workers does seem to meet demand for them.

    However, it could well be that we'd be better off if there were more STEM workers -- driven by higher demand for them. That is not addressed by this paper, and this definition (that more resources allocated to STEM would be better) is a fine definition for a shortage.

    That's the underlying issue.

  • Shortages??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by litehacksaur111 (2895607) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:42AM (#43557967)
    Why are people always talking about STEM shortages, but not the shortages in doctors or pharmacists? Corporations always lobby to increase the H1B quota, but you will never see anyone lobbying that we need to bring in more doctors or pharmacists to lower the cost of medical care. The reason I believe is quite simple: The American Medical Association and National Pharmacists Association are very strong unions. They even lobby against increasing seats in US medical colleges and even building more colleges. However, whenever someone talks about trying to form a union for IT developers or Engineers, we call it socialism, nazism, communism. Seriously, we have been saying for the past 10 years after NAFTA and other free trade agreements that only the "low skill" manual laborers will suffer. Well, now they have destroyed the market for manual labor and the corporations are coming for engineers, IT, and scientists wages. The only way we can fight this is if we stand together. This is not about Xenophobia. I myself am an immigrant from India. We need to ensure fair pay and benefits for domestic workers.
  • I believe that the decreasing demand for STEM educated people and the desire to get only "the brightest" is just another indication that the robots are taking over the engineering/IT jobs too. In the past each leading engineer needed a bunch of average ones who would do routine work (and learn in the process) on the design of the Master. Now "the brightest" can just use more of the CAD tools, so it is not just the uneducated low-paying jobs that are eliminated by the "robots", they are coming for our jobs
  • by kilodelta (843627) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:06PM (#43558455) Homepage
    To curtail the H1B visa program. Our jobs have been STOLEN from us by our legislators and big corporate interests. It's time we get them back.
  • by ggwood (70369)

    You can find the breakdown of degrees by area in the US from:

    http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_286.asp

    You can find estimates of initial unemployment rates after getting a college degree, and expected earnings from:

    http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/Unemployment.Final.update1.pdf

    If anyone knows more links to other data sets, I would be very interested. I want to provide my students with the best data available.

    If you are interested in physics, the American Institute of Physic

    • Re:data (Score:4, Informative)

      by ggwood (70369) on Friday April 26, 2013 @03:44PM (#43561433) Homepage Journal

      Here is the quick summary of the historical trends by major:
      From 1970 until 2010, US population grew by about a third. However, the number of bachelor's degrees granted doubled. This is reasonable - we have a more knowledge driven economy.
      There were about 52 thousand engineering and computer degrees per year around 1970. By 2010, this number is about 120 thousand - so that more then doubled. Much of this is related to computer science/information degrees (not surprising). Engineering increased but failed to double.

      Math/statistics degrees decreased from about 25 thousand per year to 15 thousand per year. That might be concerning.

      Physical science degrees (mostly chemistry, some geology and physics) were unchanged: about 21 thousand per year up to about 23 thousand per year. That might not sound great.

      Education degrees fell from 176 thousand per year to 101 thousand per year. Ya, that is probably not good.

      So what boomed? Business degrees. From 115 thousand per year in 1970 up to 358 thousand per year in 2010, which is about 22% of all degrees granted. And if you look at salary and unemployment, they do not do too bad - about on par with life science majors; better than most majors.

      After business degrees, social science degrees are the next largest category, but the raw number granted per year (from 1970 to 2010) did not grow very much.

      Health care related degrees, performing arts and psychology also more then doubled.

  • Balderdash (Score:4, Funny)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:20PM (#43558671)
    I want my baristas to know string theory or how to rationalize a database, not some horseshit about Renaissance art! STEM! STEM! STEM! VENTI
  • by Xorlium (1409453) on Friday April 26, 2013 @12:25PM (#43558743)
    I don't know if there are too many STEM workers, but there is definitely a huge shortage of understanding of science and math in the general population...
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday April 26, 2013 @01:25PM (#43559599)

    What they can get are H1-Bs, who are like indentured servants. H1-Bs can't change jobs easily. They're cheap. They can be fired on a whim. Insuance can be optional. They're slightly better than purely offshored work because you can communicate with them more easily and have some hope of getting what you asked for, usually.

    Employers will *always* choose the slavert/serf option if it's available. This is the kind of unregulated capitalism favored by libertarian nitwits.

    Regulations happened for a reason. Work it out.

  • by Fastolfe (1470) on Friday April 26, 2013 @11:13PM (#43564525)

    Lots of people seem to be missing the point here. It's easy to be cynical and point out that companies must be doing it so they can get away with paying less for desperate H1B workers. These people do not work for tech companies trying to hire good people. There is no shortage of candidates with STEM backgrounds and education, which is all this study seems to say. I have done literally hundreds of interviews at a large tech company for software/systems engineers, and meet an endless supply of STEM candidates all the time. The problem is that the vast majority of them do not meet our hiring bar. If you need to hire 100 software engineers, but can only 50 that meet the company's high hiring standards, that kind of sounds like a shortage to me. Sure, we can hire 50 mediocre software engineers to get to 100, but why would I want to do that? I'd much rather see better STEM education and H1B flexibility (in that order) so that I can fill those other 50 positions with good people.

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