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Indicators 2002
Introduction Overview Chapter 1: Elementary and Secondary Education Chapter 2: Higher Education in Science and Engineering Chapter 3: Science and Engineering Workforce Chapter 4: U.S. and International Research and Development: Funds and Alliances Chapter 5: Academic Research and Development Chapter 6: Industry, Technology, and the Global Marketplace Chapter 7: Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding Chapter 8: Significance of Information Technology Appendix Tables
Chapter Contents:
Profile of the U.S. S&E Workforce
Labor Market Conditions for Recent S&E Degree-Holders
Age and Retirement
Projected Demand for S&E Workers
The Global S&E Workforce and the United States
Conclusion and Summary
Selected Bibliography
Appendix Tables
List of Figures
Presentation Slides

Science and Engineering Workforce

Conclusion and Summary

The U.S. S&E labor market continues to grow both in absolute numbers and in its percentage of the total labor market. Even without the dramatic growth of IT jobs, other areas of S&E employment have had strong growth over the past two decades.

In general, labor market conditions for those with S&E degrees, although always better than for college graduates as a whole, have improved during the 1990s. Labor market conditions for new Ph.D. recipients have also been good by most conventional measures—S&E doctorate-holders are employed and doing work relevant to their training—but the gains have come in the nonacademic sectors (i.e., in most fields, a smaller percentage of recent Ph.D. recipients are obtaining tenure-track positions).

The age structure of the U.S. S&E labor force is likely to produce several major changes in the S&E labor market over the next decade. The number of individuals with S&E degrees reaching traditional retirement ages is expected to triple. Despite this, if S&E degree production remains at current rates, the number of S&E-trained individuals in the labor market will likely continue to grow for some time, albeit at a lower rate, as the number of new graduates continues to exceed the number of retirees.

The globalization of the S&E labor force is expanding in two ways: location of S&E employment is becoming more internationally diverse, and S&E workers are becoming more internationally mobile. Although both trends are highlighted by the high-profile international competition for IT workers, every field of science and technology has been affected.

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