As the U.S. has transformed rapidly to an information-based economy, employment in science, technology, engineering and math occupations has grown – outpacing overall job growth. Since 1990, STEM employment has grown 79% (9.7 million to 17.3 million) and computer jobs have seen a whopping 338% increase over the same period.
Using a broad definition of the STEM workforce, women make up half (50%) of all U.S. workers in STEM occupations, though their presence varies widely across occupational clusters and educational levels. Women account for the majority of healthcare practitioners and technicians but are underrepresented in several other STEM occupational clusters, particularly in computer jobs and engineering.
While there has been significant progress for women in the life and physical sciences since 1990, the share of women has been roughly stable in other STEM occupational clusters and has actually gone down 7 percentage points in the area with the largest job growth over this period: computer occupations, a job cluster that includes computer scientists, systems analysts, software developers, information systems managers and programmers.
Gains in women’s representation in STEM jobs have been concentrated among women holding advanced degrees, although women still tend to be underrepresented among such workers.