Occupation



The science and engineering (S&E) workforce is composed largely of people who earned S&E degrees over roughly four decades. Because older cohorts of S&E workers are disproportionately white and male, women and minorities constitute a smaller percentage of the overall S&E workforce than of degree recipients who recently joined the workforce. Persons with disabilities are also underrepresented in the S&E workforce, compared with the college-educated population as a whole. Disability can occur throughout one's life. Disabilities acquired at birth or at an early age may influence decisions to pursue S&E studies; those acquired at later ages may influence opportunities to continue or seek employment.

Thumbnail of chart showing Scientists and engineers working in science and engineering occupations 2013. Thumbnail of chart showing Employed women within the science and engineering workforce as a percentage of selected occupations 2013. Thumbnail of chart showing Employed blacks within the science and engineering workforce as a percentage of selected occupations 2013. Thumbnail of chart showing Employed Hispanics within the science and engineering workforce as a percentage of selected occupations 2013. Thumbnail of chart showing Age at onset of disability within the science and engineering workforce 2013.

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Employed women within the science and engineering workforce as a percentage of selected occupations: 2013

Women

Women's participation in the S&E workforce varies greatly by occupation. Women are more likely than men to be employed as psychologists or as technologists and technicians in the life sciences. Although women are more likely than men to work in a health-related occupation, they are less likely to work as a diagnosing health practitioner, such as a physician, surgeon, or dentist.

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Employed blacks within the science and engineering workforce as a percentage of selected occupations: 2013

Race and ethnicity

Blacks

The proportion of blacks in S&E occupations is lower than their proportion in the U.S. workforce as a whole (11%). Blacks are more likely to be employed in non-S&E occupations (e.g., social workers; counselors; or personnel, training, and labor relations specialists) than in S&E occupations (e.g., life scientist, physical scientist, or engineer). Within the S&E workforce, blacks are more likely to be employed in S&E-related occupations than in S&E. The share of blacks employed as computer and math scientists is similar to the share of blacks in the S&E workforce. Blacks constitute a relatively large share of computer system analysts.

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Employed Hispanics within the science and engineering workforce as a percentage of selected occupations: 2013

Race and ethnicity

Hispanics

Like blacks, Hispanics are a smaller proportion of workers in S&E occupations than of the U.S. workforce as a whole (16%). Within the S&E workforce, Hispanics are more likely to be employed in S&E-related occupations than in S&E. Hispanics constitute larger shares of those employed as counselors or as health technologists and technicians than they do of computer and math scientists and physical and related scientists. Within engineering, Hispanics are a larger proportion of petroleum engineers than of most other engineering occupations.

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Age at onset of disability within the science and engineering workforce: 2013

Age at onset of disability

About one-half of persons with a disability employed in the S&E workforce say that they became disabled at age 40 or older; of these, the majority became disabled between ages 50 and 75. Only about 7% of those with disabilities had been disabled at birth.

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