"After years of articles, public policy discussions, and initiatives, the authors question whether the idea that the US needs more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors in order to fill jobs in the sciences. Some of the data suggests that there is not as great a demand for STEM majors: while some individuals in the sciences (those in Information Technologies & petroleum engineers) are able to demand higher salaries (which would indicate either increased demand or limited supply), there are others who suffer a different fate:
"[I]f you're a biologist, chemist, electrical engineer, manufacturing
worker, mechanical engineer, or physicist, you've most likely seen your
paycheck remain flat at best. If you're a recent grad in those fields
looking for a job, good luck. A National Academies report suggests a
glut of life scientists, lab workers, and physical scientists, owing in
part to over-recruitment of science-Ph.D. candidates by universities.
And postdocs, many of whom are waiting longer for academic spots, are
opting out of science careers at higher rates, according to the National
Also, while unemployment is higher among non-STEM majors, the statistics for STEM majors is not as promising as once believed:
"Unemployment rates within STEM fields generally, while lower than the
overall unemployment rate of 7.2 percent, are often higher than they've
been in years—a sign that there is a shortage of jobs, not workers."
Article also posits a theory that the reason for the push for STEM majors is to lower the salaries of current workers.
"This is all about industry wanting to lower wages," says Norman S.
Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California
at Davis. Mr. Matloff has investigated how IT employers benefit by
raising the numbers of lower-paid foreign STEM laborers and by sending
offshore the engineering and STEM manufacturing jobs of mostly older
American workers. "We have a surplus of homegrown STEM workers now," he
says. "We've had it in the past and we're likely to have it in the
In the comments, one individual takes issue with one of the article's premises regarding the job market. Disqus is down, so I can't copy and paste, but in summation:
Article states that "Professors even at august research institutions report seeing many of
their brightest minds in the hard sciences flee to Wall Street after
being wooed by recruiters from financial companies" implying that STEM majors are fleeing to other disciplines due to a lack of jobs. However the commenter states that Financial companies need STEM majors in order to deal with the influx of "big data" into their fields.
Related to the issue of merging sciences with other disciplines... Canada is trying to figure out how to insert more Humanities into Engineers.