WIKIMEDIA, TOPJUR01College graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines are more likely to have jobs than graduates with other degrees. But nearly three-quarters of STEM degree holders’ jobs are not science and technology-related, according to a 2012 report from the US Census Bureau.
Nearly half of those who earn engineering, computer science and statistics degrees continue on to jobs in the same fields. But less than 10 percent of physical sciences graduates work in the physical sciences; many are employed as engineers, IT professionals, and life scientists. Approximately 75 percent also work outside of STEM disciplines, in areas such as education, non-STEM management, and healthcare.
“In the broad category of biological, agricultural, and environmental scientists, perhaps one in eight graduates with those majors end up working in any STEM field at all,” noted Science Careers. “Although health care, which isn’t considered a STEM field by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employs a very large chunk of those graduates.”
Health care professionals and architects are considered STEM-related occupations. Approximately half of health care workers hold degrees in biological sciences, and a significant proportions of the rest have backgrounds in the physical sciences and psychology.
Although “biological, agricultural, and environmental sciences” are considered STEM majors in college, agriculture is classified as a non-STEM occupation.
“The STEM acronym is increasingly misleading rather than informative,” Michael Teitelbaum, senior research associate in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, told the Washington Post.
“Studies have found that nearly 20 percent of all jobs should be considered STEM-related, based on the technology used,” he told the Post. “The workers involved could include heating and air-conditioning installers, carpenters, and automotive technicians, whose careers require technical knowledge, but not a STEM degree.”
These data and an interactive visualization of the numbers, drawn from an annual sample size of 3.5 million addresses, can be viewed at the U.S. Census Bureau website.