ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There are expected to be two times as many jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) than other occupations in the next seven years. STEM jobs will grow by 8%, while all other occupations will experience a 3.7% growth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in January 2021.
STEM jobs gave people a leg up during the COVID-19 recession too. People who use STEM knowledge on the job had an easier time keeping and getting jobs, based on new research.
“STEM workers are a critical segment of the workforce because of their impact on innovation and economic growth, so that even temporary disruptions can have long-term consequences for the economy,” said UAlbany economist and Associate Professor Gerald R. Marschke, who co-authored the report. “STEM workers are also crucial for day-to-day operations in sectors that rely on complex technologies such as healthcare and IT.”
Unemployment reached new highs during the COVID recession. Peak-to-trough declines in employment were 14% among non-STEM workers but only 5% for STEM workers. The STEM workforce fully rebounded by late 2021 but employment was still down for the non-STEM workforce, according to the report.
Workers who use STEM on the job were better able to weather the COVID recession regardless of their education and at least some resiliency came partially from the ability to work remotely. “Except for scientists with wet labs, many STEM workers work from home and physically apart from other people, so we suspected that would be driving the STEM employment advantage, also,” said Marschke, who is also a labor economist and research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
“Our findings suggest that STEM skills offer employment protection during recessions more broadly, including for non-college-educated workers, underscoring the importance of STEM training opportunities outside the college classroom that prepare workers for jobs in the skilled technical workforce,” said Holden A. Diethorn, a 2020 UAlbany Ph.D. graduate and postdoctoral researcher at the NBER.
STEM careers centered around computers are contributing to the growth of STEM jobs. Information security analysts, software developers, computer and information research scientists jobs are all expected to experience rates over 15% through 2029. “This growth will result in slightly more than half a million new computer jobs over the 10-year period,” said BLS.
Computer system design and related services held the most STEM core jobs in New York in 2015 (68,348), followed by architectural, engineering, and related services (45,340), and scientific research and development services (27,252), according to the New York State Department of Labor.