Pew Research Center Report Documents Gender Gap in STEM Degree Attainment and Employment

A new report from the Pew Research Center finds that women remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce compared with their share of all workers, including in computing jobs, which have seen considerable growth in recent years. And current trends in STEM degree attainment appear unlikely to substantially narrow the gap, according to the Center’s analysis of federal employment and education data.

Women now earn a majority of all undergraduate and advanced degrees. But they remain a small share of degree earners in fields like engineering and computer science – areas where they are significantly underrepresented in the workforce.

According to the Pew Research Center report, women earned 53 percent of STEM college degrees in 2018, smaller than their 58 percent share of all college degrees. The gender dynamics in STEM degree attainment mirror many of those seen across STEM job clusters. For instance, women earned 85 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in health-related fields, but just 22 percent in engineering and 19 percent in computer science as of 2018. In fields where women have been especially scarce, there have been incremental gains over the past decade. The share of women earning a degree in engineering is up 2 points since 2014 at the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. Women earn less than 30 percent of all master’s degrees and research doctorates in computer science and engineering.

In mathematics, 42 percent of bachelor’s and 36 percent of master’s degrees were earned by women. Just 25 percent of math research doctorates were earned by women in 2018.

The report also states that women in STEM jobs tend to earn less than men. The median earnings of women in STEM occupations ($66,200) are about 74 percent of men’s median earnings in STEM ($90,000). The gender pay gap in STEM jobs has narrowed from 72 percent in 2016.

The full report, “STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic Diversity,” can be found here.

Filed Under: Degree AttainmentsGender GapResearch/StudySTEM Fields

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