June 15, 2015 by Emsi Burning Glass
Here, we take a look at entry-level STEM job postings in 2013 and provide analysis of the skills gap in this key sector. Our research reveals that the demand for STEM talent is significantly greater than commonly reported, and the supply of STEM college graduates continues to lag far behind employer STEM talent needs.
Our analysis indicates a far higher number of STEM job openings than typically reported. Looking just at entry-level jobs, we found 2.3M entry-level STEM postings in 2013. These postings encompass 48% of all bachelor’s degree or higher entry-level postings and 24% of all entry-level postings in occupations that typically require sub-baccalaureate post-secondary training. Looking across all jobs, STEM jobs account for 38% of total online postings but only 16% of total employment. The BLS predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55% faster than non-STEM jobs over the next decade.
The job market for new graduates strongly favors those from STEM fields. Nearly half (48%) of entry-level BA+ postings are in STEM fields compared with fewer than one-third of degree recipients. In the job market, this correlates to 2.5 entry-level postings for each new bachelor’s graduate in STEM fields compared with only 1.1 entry-level postings per new bachelor’s graduate in non-STEM fields. At the Sub-BA level, the market is more balanced with the percent of STEM postings and STEM degrees within 10% of each other. At the Sub-BA level, healthcare jobs account for 79% of the STEM postings and 72% of all degrees.
|STEM Job Postings (number)||STEM Degrees (number)||STEM Job Postings (percent)||STEM Degrees (percent)|
|STEM Job Postings (number)||STEM Degrees (number)|
STEM jobs offer a substantial salary premium. The average advertised salary for entry-level STEM jobs requiring a BA or higher is $66,123 compared to $52,299 for non-STEM jobs. This difference of around $14,000 represents a 26% premium. At the Sub-BA level, the average advertised entry-level salary is $47,856 for STEM jobs and $37,424 for non-STEM jobs. This difference of over $10,000 represents a 28% premium for an information technology salary.
|Average Advertised Entry-Level Salary||STEM Premium|
|STEM Fields||Non-STEM Fields||Amount||Percent|
For bachelors-level jobs or higher, there is opportunity across the range of STEM jobs. Healthcare accounts for the largest portion of postings, followed by IT, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Analysts, and the Sciences. In every STEM category other than Sciences, entry-level salaries for STEM jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s and technology degrees are significantly higher than the BA+ average of $52,299.
Sub-BA opportunities in STEM fields are far fewer then STEM opportunities at the bachelor’s level and above. They account for 25% of all Sub-BA jobs, with the vast majority – 89% – falling into the Healthcare and IT fields. Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing also offer some opportunities for Sub-BA STEM job seekers in Engineering Technician and Manufacturing Technician roles. With the exception of healthcare jobs, Sub-BA STEM jobs do not offer a salary premium over non-STEM Sub-BA jobs.
The table below highlights the top five occupations within each of the STEM categories by the number of entry-level job postings in 2013. Where relevant, we have indicated the distribution of minimum degree requirements specified by employers in their postings.
|Top Entry-Level STEM Occupations||Entry-Level Job Openings||Percent of Postings Requiring a BA or Higher||Percent of Postings Requiring a Sub-BA|
|Licensed Practical / Vocational Nurse||95,831||Required license is a Sub-BA degree|
|Physician||94,376||Required license is an MD|
|Physical Therapist||60,798||Required license is a Master’s Level Degree|
|Medical Assistant||60,730||Required license is a Sub-BA degree|
|Computer Support Specialist||121,426||34%||66%|
|Software Developer / Engineer||95,182||86%||14%|
|Network / Systems Admin||32,682||62%||38%|
|Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing|
|Civil Engineer||25,767||Required license is a BA degree or higher|
|Quality Inspector / Technician||25,508||24%||76%|
|CNC Machinist||23,918||Typically open to Sub-BA graduates|
|Mechanical Engineer||22,533||Required license is a BA degree or higher|
|Electrical Engineer||12,372||Required license is a BA degree or higher|
|Logistician / Logistics Analyst||17,768||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
|Business Intelligence Analyst||16,166||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
|Data / Data Mining Analyst||7,913||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
|Supply Chain Analyst||2,915||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
|Actuary||2,613||Required license is a BA degree or higher|
|Medical Scientist||26,360||Typically requires a graduate level degree|
|Chemist||6,807||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
|Biologist||4,595||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
|Clinical Research Coordinator||4,525||Primarily open to BA+ Job Seekers|
For this analysis, we have taken a job seeker- and student-centric approach to defining STEM occupations. We define STEM jobs as those that have substantial math and science requirements included within the standard course of training or as part of the qualifications that employers specifically request in postings. This contrasts with traditional methodologies which tend to focus only on jobs that are primarily engaged in scientific, mathematical, or technological activity. STEM jobs cover the following areas: Science, Information Technology, Engineering, Math (labeled here as Analysts) and Healthcare.
Unlike many traditional definitions of STEM jobs, we have included those clinical healthcare roles which require that job seekers undertake substantial coursework in the biological sciences to qualify. Additionally, we have included a range of “analyst” jobs such as Data Analysts, Logistics Analysts and Business Intelligence Analysts, which call for significant mathematics training. These analyst jobs represent a far larger portion of the demand for mathematics skills in the labor market than traditional “math” roles such as Statisticians or Actuaries.
In order to provide the most relevant comparison for job seekers, we compare STEM jobs that require a Bachelor’s degree or higher to all other jobs at those degree levels. We compare Sub-BA STEM jobs to other sub-baccalaureate jobs that typically require post-secondary training or provide career advancement opportunities.
Our counts of STEM jobs come from analysis of actual job postings. Emsi Burning Glass generates job posting data by visiting over 32,000 online jobs sites to collect online postings. Using proprietary text analytics, over 70 data fields are extracted from each posting, including job title, occupation, employer, industry, required skills, credentials and salary. Postings are then deduplicated and placed in a database for further analysis.
This analysis focuses on entry-level postings, defined as job postings that call for two years or less experience, that were posted in 2013. Degree counts included in this analysis are from 2013 IPEDS data reflecting graduates in the 2011-2012 academic year. Those degrees in scientific, technological or quantitative fields or which map to STEM jobs are counted at STEM degrees. Graduates of sub-baccalaureate math and science transfer degrees are not included in our estimates of supply.