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Where do STEM Graduates Work?

Thu Jul 10 2014
Liana Christin Landivar, Anthony Martinez
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In 2012, 14.8 million employed college graduates reported having a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  About one-quarter of these graduates work in a STEM occupation, so where do the others work?

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Many STEM graduates go into non-STEM management, health care or education. However, not all workers in a STEM occupation have a STEM degree or a STEM degree related to their specific occupation. For example, many employed in computer occupations have a degree in computers, math or statistics, but this occupation also draws from a variety of majors, such as engineering, business and social sciences.

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You can see the relationship between college major and occupation in a new interactive graphic that highlights the diverse employment patterns of college graduates. You can also explore how these patterns differ by sex, race and Hispanic origin.

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The length of each circle segment shows the proportion of people who graduated in each college major and are employed in each occupation group. The thickness of the lines between majors and occupations indicates the share of people in that major-occupation combination. Lines highlighted in color show the proportion of college graduates who work in STEM. You can hover over majors individually to see which occupations employ them.

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For example, if you hover over engineering or computers, math and statistics majors, you can see that about half go into a STEM occupation. If you hover over science graduates, you can see that most are not employed in STEM.

Engineering majors and Biological, environmental, and agricultural science majors

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This visualization lets you look at college major and employment patterns by sex, race and Hispanic origin. Comparing the graphics for men and women who are STEM majors, for example, we see that men are more likely to major in engineering and are more likely to be employed in STEM occupations. Women are more likely to major in psychology, a major that sends a larger share of its graduates into non-STEM occupations.

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When comparing the graphics by race, Asians have the largest percentage of STEM workers, partially explained by their representation in specific college majors. Of all college majors, engineering has the largest percentage of Asian graduates (22 percent), while education has the smallest percentage of Asian graduates (3 percent).

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Searching for the numbers behind the data visualization? Take a look at the new tables on field of degree and occupation by sex, race and Hispanic origin.

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