Chapter 3:

Science and Engineering Workforce

Projected Demand for S&E Workers[20] 

During the 1996-2006 period, employment in S&E occupations is expected to increase at more than three times the rate for all occupations. While 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 44 percent, or about 1.36 million jobs. (See figure 3-15.)

Approximately three-fourths of the increase in S&E jobs will occur in computer-related occupations. For a discussion of the labor market impacts resulting from the demand for employment in information technology-producing industries, see chapter 8, "IT and Employment." Overall employment in these occupations across all industries is expected to double over the 1996-2006 decade, with over 1 million new jobs being added. Jobs for computer engineers and scientists are expected to increase from 427,000 to 912,000, while employment for computer systems analysts is expected to grow from 506,000 to slightly over 1 million jobs.

Within engineering, electrical/electronic engineering is projected to have the biggest absolute and relative employment gains, up by 105,000 jobs, or nearly 29 percent. Civil and mechanical engineers are also expected to experience above average employment gains, with projected increases of about 18 and 16 percent, respectively. Employment for all engineering occupations is expected to increase by an average of approximately 18 percent.

Job opportunities in life science occupations are projected to grow by almost 23 percent (41,000 new jobs) over the 1996-2006 period; at 24 percent, the biological sciences are expected to experience the largest growth (20,000 new jobs). Employment in physical science occupations is expected to increase by about 17 percent, from 207,000 to 242,000 jobs; about half of the projected job gains are for chemists (17,000 new jobs).

Social science occupations are expected to experience below average job growth (10 percent) over the decade, largely due to the modest employment increases anticipated for psychologists (8 percent, or 11,000 new jobs). Economists, however, are projected to experience more favorable job growth (18 percent, or 9,000 new jobs).

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[20] Data in this section are from U.S. BLS (1997).

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