2016 STEM Index Indicates Mixed Trends


We’ve delved into the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index - a comprehensive measure of STEM activity - in previous blog posts.

 The Index, which takes account a variety of factors including educational and economic metrics, recently revealed some mixed results regarding the state of STEM in the U.S.

 On the positive side, the Index showed a rise from 2015 in the areas of STEM education, hiring, and general interest in technology and engineering. Additionally, Hispanic students earned more STEM degrees at every level than last year, and both black and Hispanic students expressed greater interest in the engineering and technology fields.

 However, these gains are accompanied with some more sobering revelations.

 Despite increases in graduate STEM degrees earned, the data indicates that more of these degrees were being earned by individuals on temporary student visas, while the share of degrees earned by U.S. citizens fell. This reflects the possibility that many of these new degree holders will be taking their education and skills back to their home countries.  

 The Index also notes that the STEM education gap between men and women, and between whites and minorities continue to persist. For example, although the number of white students earning STEM degrees grew 15 percent over the past five years, the number of black students fell by roughly the same margin.

 Another piece of data - which runs counter to the student demographics of STEM Premier’s platform - is that women’s interest in STEM also decreased from 2015 to 2016. Females comprise 56% of our student profiles, and roughly half of the 2016 STEM Premier Top 100 are female.  

Efforts continue to expand and promote STEM workforce development, but there is still a ways to go. That is why we are proud to help students, schools, businesses, and other organizations innovate and find the talent they need to succeed in today’s economy.