This report includes information on the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) including industry growth projections, wage and earnings, labor shortages, and the future of the STEM workforce.  

Anthony P. Carnevale
Nicole Smith
Michelle Melton
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) occupations are critical to our continued economic competitiveness because of their direct ties to innovation, economic productivity even though they will be only 5% of all jobs in the U.S. economy by 2018. The disproportionate influence of STEM raises a persistent concern that we are not producing enough STEM workers to compete successfully in the global economy. The report finds that this concern is warranted, but not for the reasons traditionally claimed. The report concludes that our education system is not producing enough STEM-capable students to keep up with the demand both in traditional STEM occupations and other sectors across the economy that demand similar competencies. The demand for STEM competencies outside STEM occupations is strong and growing. While STEM earnings are high,the earnings of comparably skilled workers in many other high-skill occupations are higher and increasing faster. 

What the experts say

This research report contains valuable information and is highly recommended for all educators and business managers. It could be used by program administrators or instructors as part of a study circle on continuous program improvement, by administrators and policymakers as they seek to reframe adult basic education, or for carefully guided and framed explorations of potential careers by students in adult education programs. The report documents occupations that require STEM competencies – a set of skills, abilities, and knowledge that is not reflected in academic credentials or nurtured through academic pedagogy. The resource is filled with information on past labor trends and most importantly the skills that adult education students will need to possess to compete in the workforce in the future.

This document contains detailed information in areas, such as: what STEM is, the wages of STEM workers versus wages of workers in other occupations, and what our future STEM workforce looks like. After reviewing all the certifications, skills, and abilities STEM workers need, educators will be motivated and inspired to put even more emphasis on making sure students have at least the baseline requirements of STEM competencies (knowledge classifications; skills; abilities; work values; and work interests) in science and math. Particularly useful features in this resource include: the variety of STEM occupations (pg. 18), the distribution of STEM jobs for 2018 (pg. 21), lifetime earnings (pg. 35), O*Net data tool (pg. 52), core knowledge domains (p. 54), core skills with STEM occupations (pg. 55), abilities with STEM occupations (p. 57), and Appendices A-D. Appendix F is the technical appendix, in which the project methodology is described. There is also a Glossary of terms on page 94.

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