Chapter 3:

Science and Engineering Workforce

Projected Demand for S&E Workers

During the 1998--2008 period, employment in S&E occupations is expected to increase at almost four times the rate for all occupations. Though the economy as a whole is anticipated to provide approximately 14 percent more jobs over this decade, employment opportunities for S&E jobs are expected to increase by about 51 percent, or about 1.9 million jobs. (See text table 3-20.)

Approximately four-fifths of the increase in S&E jobs will occur in computer-related occupations. Overall employment in these occupations across all industries is expected to almost double over the 1998--2008 decade, with more than 1.5 million new jobs being added. Jobs for computer engineers and scientists are expected to increase from 914,000 to 1,858,000, while employment for computer systems analysts is expected to grow from 617,000 to almost 1.2 million jobs. (See the sidebar, "What Did Computer Workers Get Degrees In?")

Within engineering, electrical-electronic engineering is projected to have the biggest absolute and relative employment gains, up by 93,000 jobs, or about 26 percent. Civil and mechanical engineers are also expected to experience above-average employment gains, with projected increases of about 21 and 16 percent, respectively. Employment for all engineering occupations is expected to increase by an average of approximately 20 percent.

Job opportunities in life science occupations are projected to grow by 26 percent (45,000 new jobs) over the 1998--2008 period; at 35 percent, the biological sciences are expected to experience the largest growth (28,000 new jobs). Employment in physical science occupations is expected to increase by about 15 percent, from 200,000 to 229,000 jobs; slightly less than half of the projected job gains are for chemists (13,000 new jobs).

Social science occupations are expected to experience only average growth (14 percent) over the decade, largely because of the modest employment increases anticipated for psychologists (11 percent or 19,000 new jobs). Economists, however, are projected to experience more favorable job growth (19 percent or 13,000 new jobs).

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