S&E Labor Force

Has employment of women and minorities in S&E jobs increased?

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Has employment of women and minorities in S&E jobs increased?

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Notes:
S&E = science and engineering.
Physical scientists = chemists, physicists, astronomers, and earth/ocean/atmospheric scientists.
Notes:
S&E = science and engineering. S&E occupations are those in biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences, physical sciences, computer sciences, mathematics/statistics, engineering, psychology, and social sciences. Physical sciences = chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth/ocean/atmospheric sciences.
Notes:
S&E = science and engineering. S&E occupations are those in biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences, physical sciences, computer sciences, mathematics/statistics, engineering, psychology, and social sciences. Physical sciences = chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth/ocean/atmospheric sciences.

Main Finding

Women with college degrees remain underrepresented in S&E occupations, although less so than in the past. Except in computer/mathematical sciences, women have increased their proportion in each broad occupational group since the early 1990s.

Racial/ethnic minorities with college degrees have increased their participation in S&E occupations, but whites remain a majority of workers in each of the broad occupational groups.

Compared to their proportions among U.S. residents 20–70 years old, American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks, and Hispanics are underrepresented among S&E workers, college graduates in general, and S&E degree holders.

Compared to their proportions among U.S. residents 20–70 years old, American Indians/Alaska Natives, blacks, and Hispanics are underrepresented among S&E workers, college graduates in general, and S&E degree holders.

Key Observations

  • Women were 28% of all workers in S&E occupations in 2010, up from 21% in 1993.
  • Women have made up half or more of all social scientists/psychologists at least since the early 1990s. However, psychology is the only large S&E occupation with substantially more women than men.
  • Growth among women has been strongest in the biological and related sciences. Women made up 48% of employed biological/agricultural/environmental life scientists in 2010. The number of women employed in this occupational group more than doubled between 1993 and 2010.
  • Although the largest disparity between men and women is in engineering, women increased their presence in the engineering workforce from 9% in 1993 to 13% in 2010.
  • Women’s presence among computer/mathematical scientists declined from 31% to 25% over the period, but only because men’s rate of growth in this area was higher than women’s. The number of women working in computer/mathematical sciences has increased more than in any other broad occupational area.
  • The proportion of S&E jobs filled by whites declined steadily from 84% in 1993 to 70% in 2010.
  • Asians are the second largest racial/ethnic group in S&E occupations – 18% of all working scientists and engineers in 2010, double their percentage in 1993 (9%). Asians are strongly concentrated in computer engineering fields.
  • Hispanics made up slightly more than 5% of workers in S&E occupations in 2010, blacks a little under 5%, and American Indians/Alaska Natives 0.2%. Hispanics show more growth than the other two groups. Social sciences/psychology is the one S&E occupation in which these three groups collectively outnumber Asians.
  • In 2008, Hispanics made up 5% of S&E workers but were 14% of all U.S. residents of working age.
  • Blacks were 4% of S&E workers but 12% of the working-age population.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives were 0.3% of S&E workers compared to 0.7% of the working-age population.
  • In contrast, Asians made up 17% of all S&E workers, more than triple their percentage of the working-age population (5%).
  • Whites also constituted a larger percentage of S&E workers (72%), S&E degree holders (75%), and college graduates (76.5%) in 2008 than of all working-age U.S. residents (68%).
  • In 2008, Hispanics made up 5% of S&E workers but were 14% of all U.S. residents of working age.
  • Blacks were 4% of S&E workers but 12% of the working-age population.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives were 0.3% of S&E workers compared to 0.7% of the working-age population.
  • In contrast, Asians made up 17% of all S&E workers, more than triple their percentage of the working-age population (5%).
  • Whites also constituted a larger percentage of S&E workers (72%), S&E degree holders (75%), and college graduates (76.5%) in 2008 than of all working-age U.S. residents (68%).