Which cities offer the biggest salary advantages for those with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees? According to a new analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Bloomberg, San Jose, CA, tops the list, with STEM-trained workers earning roughly $60,000 more on average per year than their non-STEM counterparts.
Other cities that topped the list included:
- Huntsville, AL
- San Francisco, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, DC
In every case, those with STEM degrees could expect to earn anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 more than those without those credentials.
San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC are major hubs for technology companies and startups; Huntsville, AL attracts hundreds of engineers who work at NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and other local outposts of major aerospace and manufacturing firms. So it’s no surprise that employers in those cities are paying top dollar for the most qualified talent.
Although the monetary benefits of a STEM degree are clear, tech firms (and others) have complained for the past several years that the nation’s education system graduates far too few students sufficiently trained in science and math. In mid-2014, for instance, U.S. News and Raytheon issued a report suggesting that the number of those with STEM degrees had barely budged over the past 15 years.
Earlier this year, a report from the Brookings Institution likewise suggested that a lack of education had led to the United States falling behind other nations with regard to the percentage of population working in advanced industries: “The U.S. education system graduates too few college students in STEM fields and does too little to adequately prepare children in mathematical and scientific concepts.”
But not every report blames a lack of STEM workers on the education system. According to data released last summer by the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly three-quarters of those with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline don’t actually work in a STEM job.
For those with the training, however, it seems the opportunities are more lucrative than ever—especially in some of the nation’s up-and-coming tech hubs.