We've all heard the dire pronouncements: U.S. science and technology is losing ground to its global competitors because of a nationwide shortage of scientists and engineers, due primarily to the many failures of K-12 education. But are these gloomy assertions accurate?
Nearly all of the independent scholars and analysts who have examined the claims of widespread shortages have found little or no evidence to support them. Salaries in these occupations are generally flat, and unemployment rates are about the same or higher than in others requiring advanced education.
Science and engineering occupations are indeed crucial to modern economies, but they account for only a small part — about 5% — of the workforce. There is some evidence of too few professionals in certain fields that currently are hot, such as social media and petroleum engineering, or in localized hot spots such as Silicon Valley.