R&D Scientists and Engineers/Labor Force Ratios
NSF 95-304

R&D Scientists and Engineers/Labor Force Ratios

Comparing the number of scientists and engineers employed in full time equivalent (FTE) R&D jobs with the total labor force results in a ratio higher in the United States than in the other industrialized market economies. There were about 76 FTE R&D scientists and engineers (S&Es) per 10,000 in the U.S. labor force in 1991 (chart 9). This ratio increased annually from a level of 55 per 10,000 in 1976 to its estimated current level.

Chart 9

Ratios in the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy also have been increasing annually since the mid 1970s. However, those for the United Kingdom and Italy apparently peaked in the late eighties while the share of these highly trained workers in the total labor forces of Japan and France continued to increase. (Data for years later than 1989 are unavailable for Germany.) The rate of growth in Japan has been especially rapid. The Japanese ratio increased from 50 R&D S&Es per 10,000 workers in 1979 to 76 per 10,000 in 1991.[11] By comparison, there were 31 FTE R&D scientists and engineers per 10,000 in Italy; 45 per 10,000 in the United Kingdom; 53 per 10,000 in France; and 59 per 10,000 in (West) Germany (in 1989).

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11. Japanese and U.S. surveys on the number of scientists and engineers engaged in R&D are not strictly comparable. Estimates for most of the U.S. data are adjusted to estimate full time equivalence; Japanese surveys, on the other hand, ask for the total number of S&Es engaged in R&D regardless of the amount of time devoted to R&D. Japanese data on S&Es exclude those engaged in R&D in the social sciences and humanities. The U.S. data exclude such personnel from the industry sector alone. The historical series for these U.S. personnel data was revised in this National Patterns. Data for 1985 and later years are not directly comparable with the data for 1984 and earlier years. See appendix A for a review of these changes.


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