The Economic Policy Institute just released the results of their studies on the “high-skill” US labor market, and came to some rather surprising results (well, it is really only surprising if you believe the tripe that Obama and the rest of Washington D.C. has been spewing).
To cut to the chase:
- the United States has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations
- The flow of U.S. students (citizens and permanent residents) into STEM fields has been strong over the past decade, and the number of U.S. graduates with STEM majors appears to be responsive to changes in employment levels and wages (in other words, the STEM labor market is just that. People (domestic workers/students) today don’t study STEM or go into STEM jobs simply because there is no money or security in those fields, compared to previous decades).
- For every two students that U.S. colleges graduate with STEM degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job (Proof that maybe we have *GASP* too many STEM graduates???)
- In computer and information science and in engineering, U.S. colleges graduate 50 percent more students than are hired into those fields each year; of the computer science graduates not entering the IT workforce, 32 percent say it is because IT jobs are unavailable, and 53 percent say they found better job opportunities outside of IT occupations. These responses suggest that the supply of graduates is substantially larger than the demand for them in industry (I really, really hope that the policymakers in DC are reading this. Can’t make it any plainer than this…)
- The immigration debate is complicated and polarizing, but the implications of the data for enacting high-skill guestworker policy are clear: Immigration policies that facilitate large flows of guestworkers will supply labor at wages that are too low to induce significant increases in supply from the domestic workforce (in other words, indiscriminately handing out H-1 visas will continuously depress salaries until the proletariat revolution takes place).
The article also states that the US produces a large number of internationally competitive STEM graduates; this is overlooked because everyone only looks at the statistical average, which is highly misleading in this case. The message needs to get out there.