June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Engineering and Public Policy
22.1678.1 - 22.1678.17
What do Markets Tell us about Demand for Engineers in the Workplace? “Unfortunately, we are not graduating enough students with degrees in the STEMdisciplines to meet the growing demand from U.S. companies for workers in these areas.”1 Thisrefrain is commonly heard spoken by CEOs, Presidents, Senators, Representatives, Professors,and human resources professionals. But is it true? Do the facts support this conclusion? Beforewe reorient our societal institutions and commit the billions of dollars mentioned as part of thesolution to a dearth of engineers and other STEM graduates, it would be wise to examinecarefully the “common wisdom.” Butz et al.2 analyzed the market data relevant to engineering employment and concludedthat except for one critical measure that “We have seen that the production of Americanscientists and engineers is low neither in the sense that it has fallen over some years fromprevious heights nor in the sense that employers are driving S&E earnings up and unemploymentrates down in a scramble to hire more scientists and engineers.” The critical measure that standsin contrast is that U.S. production of STEM graduates is low compared to gains by othercountries. So, after the significant economic downturn in the recent years, where do these economiccomparisons stand and what do they tell us about U.S. production of STEM graduates,particularly engineering graduates. This paper will attempt to bring into focus what the data tellus relative to the common wisdom.1 Written Testimony of William H. Gates Chairman, Microsoft Corporation And Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda GatesFoundation Before the Committee on Science and Technology United States House of Representatives March 12,2008.2 William P. Butz, Gabrielle A. Bloom, Mihal E. Gross, Terrence K. Kelly, Aaron Kofner, and Helga E. Rippen, “IsThere a Shortage of Scientists and Engineers? How Would We Know?” Issue Paper, Rand Corporation (2003)(available at http://www.rand.org/pubs/issue_papers/2005/IP241.pdf).
High, M. S., & Nowakowski, J. M. (2011, June), What do Markets tell us about Demand for Engineers in the Workplace? Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18584
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