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Women in STEM Occupations
STEM occupations pay more, and sometimes significantly more, than the mean annual wage for all workers of $50,620. For example, in 2017, the mean wage for STEM jobs was $91,310.
There were nearly 8.9 million STEM jobs in May 2017, representing 6.2% of U.S. employment. Employment in STEM occupations is projected to increase by 10.9% (faster than average) through 2026. This growth is expected to result in 1 million new jobs.
As such, earlier this year, in conjunction with International Women’s Day, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) examined and celebrated women in STEM. In fact, it dedicated a blog post, https://blogs.bls.gov/blog/2019/03/06/celebrating-women-in-stem-occupations, to exploring women in the labor force, especially those working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professions.
Now while the largest number of women work in education, and work overwhelmingly in dental hygienists (97.1%), speech-language pathologists (96%) and dental assistants (96%), the numbers of women in STEM have been steadily increasing.
So how are women doing in STEM occupations?
Three broad occupational groups have many STEM jobs: life, physical and social science occupations, computer and mathematical occupations, and architecture and engineering occupations. In addition:
• Nearly 50% of the people in life, physical and social science occupations are women.
• About 1 in 4 people working in computer and mathematical occupations are women.
• About 1 in 6 people working in architecture and engineering occupations are women.
More women are pursuing STEM jobs, too. Seven of the 25 fastest-growing jobs for women fall under the STEM, with each of them seeing more than a 30% increase in female employment from 2014 to 2018, according to research by SmartAsset in conjunction with Women’s Equality Day in August, https://smartasset.com/checking-account/fastest-growing-jobs-for-women-in-america-2019.
To learn more, see the accompanying BLS chart.
Women as a Percent of Total Employed in Selected STEM Occupations
2018 Annual Averages
Occupation Percent Who Are Women
Life, Physical & Social Science 46.7
Medical Scientists 52.1
Biological Scientists 47.5
Chemists & Materials Scientists 37.7
Environmental Scientists & Geoscientists 33.1
Chemical Technicians 25.3
Computer & Mathematical 25.6
Operations Research Analysts 49.1
Computer Systems Analysts 37.5
Web Developers 32.5
Computer Support Specialists 28.1
Computer Programmers 21.2
Software Developers, Applications & Systems Software 19.3
Architecture & Engineering 15.9
Architects, Except Naval 29.7
Industrial Engineers, Including Health & Safety 23.0
Engineering Technicians, Except Drafters 18.1
Civil Engineers 14.8
Mechanical Engineers 10.9
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and SmartAsset
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