There’s no doubt there’s been a movement to involve more girls in STEM. Even those of you not in the field have probably heard of programs like Girls Who Code or Dot Diva. They’ve been reported on in the mainstream media because they’ve been implemented in the primary and secondary education system.
Despite efforts to encourage women in STEM careers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. While 44 percent of full-time wage and salary workers in 2016 were women, there are fewer in STEM careers: The life, physical and social science occupations accounted for the highest percentage of women, with 42 percent. But only 25 percent of workers in computer and mathematical occupations are women, and even fewer (14 percent) are represented in architecture and engineering occupations. An article published by CareerBuilder in 2014 points out two STEM careers that have a higher percentage of women than men: clinical psychologists (68 percent) and epidemiologists (53 percent).
It may only be a matter of time until the early exposure to STEM careers that girls are getting these days will translate to more women in STEM in the future. As for 2019, here’s what we can expect.
While STEM careers have higher education requirements on average than that of all occupations, most positions require only a bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS. The fastest-growing STEM jobs that only require a bachelor’s degree are statisticians, operations research analysts and cartographers and photogrammetrists. (Never heard of a cartographer or photogrammetrist? They collect and interpret geographical data.) It is possible to break into a STEM career without a bachelor’s degree. These opportunities include web developers and computer user support specialists.
Fastest-Growing STEM Jobs
According to the BLS, of all the STEM job categories, mathematical science occupations are expected to grow fastest (28 percent) from 2014 to 2024. Where women are most heavily represented in STEM already, physical scientists are expected to grow 7 percent and life scientists, 6 percent. In terms of new STEM jobs, computer occupations far outpace any others. Its growth rate is 13 percent, but due to the sheer size of the field, that may lead to almost a half million new jobs.
Most Popular STEM Jobs
In 2015, STEM jobs represented 6 percent of US employment. Computer occupations accounted for almost half of that and engineers made up almost one-fifth. Seven of the top 10 most popular STEM jobs are computer-related and include application software developers, computer user support specialists and computer systems analysts. The non-computer jobs that made the top 10 list were sales representatives of technical and scientific products, mechanical engineers and civil engineers.