Monday, November 18, 2013

Is the STEM job advantage a myth?

Politicians, policy makers, parents and students assume that the straightest path to a great job is by majoring in what is often called a STEM discipline -- science, technology, engineering or math. Indeed, President Barack Obama has set a goal of creating a million new STEM college graduates in the next 10 years, along with 100,000 new teachers in those fields. Meanwhile some politicians are urging state universities to ditch unpopular liberal arts and embrace more STEM education instead.

The popularity of STEM majors can be explained in large part by the belief that there are plenty of jobs in these fields. Under this view, these jobs that are going begging because not enough Americans have the skills to qualify for these positions. Americans also widely believe that students who graduate in STEM subjects will earn higher salaries.

If many STEM majors aren't enjoying outsized salaries, maybe the assumption that there are many jobs available in these fields is wrong, too. In an in-depth article, The Chronicle of Higher Education took a long look at this question and concluded that the STEM job advantage is a myth.

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