Leaving STEM: STEM Ph.D. Holders in Non-STEM Careers
During the last few decades, national-, state-, and institutional-level initiatives have been implemented to build and expand the STEM workforce by recruiting and retaining people who have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields in higher education. The underlying idea is that individuals who earn STEM degrees aspire to careers in STEM, but to what degree is this true? Leaving STEM: STEM Ph.D. Holders in Non-STEM Careers examines the extent to which those who have committed the most time and resources to a STEM education—STEM Ph.D. holders—do not work in STEM careers, by addressing these questions:
- To what extent do STEM Ph.D. holders work in non-STEM careers?
- In what type of work are STEM Ph.D. holders in non-STEM careers engaging?
- About one of every six employed STEM Ph.D. holders reported working outside of STEM.
- Female Ph.D. holders were more likely to leave STEM than male Ph.D. holders; black Ph.D. holders were more likely to leave STEM than members of other racial/ethnic groups.
- Among STEM Ph.D. holders who left STEM, black females, black males, and Hispanic and white females were more likely compared with other groups to be employed in the government sector; Asian females, Asian males, and Hispanic and white males were more likely employed in the private, for-profit sector.
- Female STEM Ph.D. holders who left STEM were less likely to be involved in research and development compared with male STEM leavers within each racial/ethnic group.
- Female STEM Ph.D. holders who left STEM were less likely to be in management positions compared with male STEM leavers within each racial/ethnic group.