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Women, Minorities and Persons wiht Disabilities
in Science and Engineering: 2002
Introduction Chapter 2: Undergraduate Enrollment Chapter 3: Undergraduate Degrees Chapter 4: Graduate Enrollment Chapter 5: Graduate Degrees Chapter 6: Employment Technical Notes Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Trends in S&E employment, 1993-99
Labor force participation, employment, and unemployment
Occupations of scientists and engineers
Sector of employment
Nondoctoral scientists and engineers
Professional development activities
Salaries of employed scientists and engineers
Initial labor force experiences of recent graduates
A demographic profile: Age and family characteristics
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides


Occupations of scientists and engineers

Minority women
Persons with disabilities

About one-third of employed people identified as scientists and engineers in the SESTAT surveys work in an S&E occupation. (See appendix table 6-1 and figure 6-1 figure.) Many of those who are not employed in science and engineering occupations are employed in occupations within the S&E enterprise, such as management, health-related occupations, and sales and marketing. Throughout the remainder of this chapter, scientists and engineers are defined in terms of occupation, not degree field, unless otherwise noted.[8]

Women  top of page

As with degree fields (see chapters 3 and 5), women and men differ in S&E occupation, with women constituting higher percentages of some S&E occupations than of others. For example, in 1999 more than half of all psychologists (64 percent) and sociologists/anthropologists (52 percent) were women, compared with about 10 percent of physicists/astronomers and engineers. (See appendix table 6-7.) Women also constitute higher percentages of some engineering occupations than others; for example, 16 percent of chemical engineers in 1999 were women, compared with about 6 percent of electrical and mechanical engineers.

Minorities  top of page

Asians, blacks, and American Indians account for larger percentages of some S&E occupations than of others. (See appendix table 6-8.) In 1999, Asians made up a larger percentage of biological scientists (accounting for 15 percent of total), electrical engineers (15 percent), computer scientists (14 percent), and chemists (13 percent) than of other occupations (e.g., they were only 4 percent of the social scientists, including psychologists). Blacks accounted for a higher percentage of mathematical scientists (6 percent) and social scientists (5 percent) than of other occupations; for example, they comprised only 2 percent of the biological scientists and 1 percent of earth scientists/geologists/oceanographers. Hispanics were more proportionally distributed among occupations, accounting for roughly 2 to 4 percent in most S&E occupations.

Minority women  top of page

The occupational distributions of minority women among S&E occupations generally resemble that of white women. Within each racial/ethnic group, higher percentages of female scientists and engineers than of male are biological scientists and psychologists, and lower percentages are engineers. About 40 to 50 percent of male scientists and engineers in each racial/ethnic group were engineers in 1999, compared with less than 20 percent of their female counterparts. Asian women differ from women in other racial/ethnic groups in that a relatively small proportion (2 percent in 1999) were psychologists, compared to between 11 and 17 percent of women in other racial/ethnic groups. (See appendix table 6-2.)

Persons with disabilities  top of page

Scientists and engineers with and without disabilities do not differ greatly by S&E occupation: 10 percent of the members of both groups in S&E occupations were life scientists, 8 percent of both were physical scientists, 10 percent of both were social scientists, and 39 percent of both were engineers in 1999. (See appendix table 6-9.) Similar proportions of scientists and engineers with and without disabilities were computer scientists (28 versus 30 percent).


[8]  See appendix A for the SESTAT classification of S&E and non-S&E occupations.

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