Report: Little Growth in STEM Talent Pipeline

U.S. News and Raytheon STEM Index

The pipeline of STEM talent in the U.S. continues to lag even as the need for tech professionals continues to soar, according to an index put together by Raytheon and U.S. News.

The U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index looks at 93 factors, including ACT math and science scores, Advance Placement test scores, college and graduate degrees granted and U.S. employment in STEM fields. Says the report:

…after a long period of flat to down indicators, there has been some upward movement, particularly in the actual number of STEM degrees granted at the undergraduate and graduate levels. But even with those numbers on the rise, as a proportion of total degrees granted, they still hover close to the same levels that existed in 2000, indicating that the education pipeline to fill the current and future jobs that will require STEM skills still isn’t producing enough talent.

In addition, the lack of progress in attracting women and minorities to STEM pursuits is troubling, suggests Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report. “A big part of the problem is the continuing split that puts Asian-Americans and white males on the side of those who are driven to acquire STEM skills, and women, blacks and Latinos on the other side of the dividing line,” he said. “The labor pool going forward will not be made up mainly of white males and Asian-Americans. The labor pool will be increasingly Latino, and that group is not advancing in STEM fields right now.”

Using U.S. government numbers, which are considered highly conservative, STEM employment in the U.S. has risen by more than 30 percent, from 12.8 million STEM jobs in 2000 to 16.8 million in 2013. Economic reports continue to tout tech as key to rebounding job growth.

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Chart: U.S. News & World Report

8 Responses to “Report: Little Growth in STEM Talent Pipeline”

  1. John Zavgren

    If there actually is a “STEM crisis”, then why aren’t salaries for STEM professionals rising?

    I think the STEM crisis is a convenient myth that’s promulgated by large employers to keep their capital costs low. And, of course, they use their lobbyists to make sure that H1B visa foreign labor flows into the United States, thereby keeping these costs low.

    If there were an actual STEM crisis in this country, then, why are academic salaries in the STEM fields so low? I taught at a local college once. I could have made more money and had more fun stocking shelves at Walmart.

  2. John Wyatt

    Where are the studies about minority STEM graduates who are not hired in STEM fields. I’m an African American and I hold a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, yet I cannot find a job in my field. It’s very difficult for me to expounds the virtues of a STEM education to the younger generation when I can only talk about all the hard work it took for me to get my degrees but not about the job I have using those skills.

    • Jorge


      It doesn’t matter how good you are and how much experience you have. If your credentials are not *exactly* what an employer is looking for, they’ll pass. You’d think that oil and gas companies would be jumping all over you and your chemical engineering degrees or all over me with my mechanical engineering degrees.

      I’ve never, ever even had a call-back from an oil, gas or drilling company. Ever. And I already live in Texas.

      Companies have no idea how to recruit or train any more. They’ve taken the “instant gratification” aspects of our society and turned it into a staffing strategy.

  3. Fred Bosick

    “The U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index looks at 93 factors, including ACT math and science scores, Advance Placement test scores, college and graduate degrees granted and U.S. employment in STEM fields.”

    The inclusion of “US Employment” in the index, in an era of supposed immense employer need, should drag the indicator upwards all by itself.

    Could it be that recent *US Citizen* STEM graduates aren’t finding well paying and stable jobs and that those further up the pipeline know it?

  4. John Doe unemployed americann citizen

    Right with you John. I as an African American/ Half Blood Cherokee Indian have yet to find any work in my field for close to five years now and guess what? I graduated with three degrres. One in Computer Science one in Mechanical Engineering and the third one in Business Administration and you know what? I am just totally put off by this entire industry and don’t even return calls or emails from the liars that are recruiters both corporate and private. All are scum.

  5. Jorge

    That’s rich: The “Raytheon STEM Index.”

    Raytheon– the company whose on-line job application process wouln’t let me apply for a Jr. level engineering job because I had not graduated “recently.”

  6. I actively discourage any young person from entering the tech field. Unless the clowns in DC get their act together and do something about the wholesale export not only of our jobs but our technology and know-how, as a country we’re headed for economic suicide. Let’s start with creating something on the scale of putting a man on the moon, and then we’ll see how many people go into STEM professions. Build it and they will come. We cannot rely on private companies for projects like this, when the only thing they’re interested in is the share price and how to screw us over.

  7. Nightcrawler

    Meanwhile, a new report reveals that 81.6% of STEM majors graduating this month are jobless:

    I received my Math/CIS degree three years ago. I have never spent a day working in the STEM field. I’ve spent the last three years going from one unstable, bottom-level contract gig to another. I’ve walked dogs, processed orders for a school photos company, done cheap Fiverr gigs, and finally tried to sell cars. The car lot job blew up in my face–one of the managers felt that my education (I’m getting an MBA in less than two weeks) made me uppity–and now I’ve got zero income. I’m sinking like a stone.

    I wish I had never gotten my STEM degree. It wrecked my life.