In light of the controversy surrounding the effects of immigration on jobs, the Brookings Institution has just released a study claiming that science, engineering and tech shortages are very real, Roll Call reports.
Although recent studies have pointed to marked surpluses in STEM workers and unemployment rates, an analysis conducted by senior research associate Jonathan Rothwell contradicts these findings.
Various think tanks have come up with diametric results, revealing the complexity of labor market analysis. In May, Karen Zeigler and Steven A. Camarota at the Center for Immigration Studies found that since 2012, 1.2 million native STEM workers have been unemployed or out of the labor force.
Similarly, a study from the Economic Policy Institute suggested that expanding guest worker programs would discourage U.S. students from choosing STEM majors. The study also concluded that only one out of every two STEM graduates is hired into a STEM job each year.
The report from Brookings looked at a database of 4.7 million online job advertisements of STEM and non-STEM occupations on over 50,000 company websites and found that job ads for STEM occupations had to run on average for 39 days, as opposed to an average of 33 days for non-STEM occupations.
Rothwell’s findings held across varying educational levels, including high school, some college, and a bachelors’ degree.
The study is a landmark, representing the first nationwide survey of job vacancy duration by occupation in the U.S. According to Rothwell, the sheer size of the data available means that this is the first vacancy study that can fully test labor market theories.
Based on these findings examined in the first quarter of 2013, the report concluded that there is indeed a real shortage of labor for STEM positions.
“These results suggest that the supply-demand imbalances at the middle education levels are very different for those with STEM skills than those without,” the report states. “At these education levels, those with STEM skills are at a distinct advantage over their non-STEM counterparts.”
“The principle finding is that there is a relative shortage of U.S. workers with STEM skills. In other words, STEM skills are in high demand relative to supply, and the problem is especially acute in certain metropolitan areas, where the average vacancy for STEM workers takes months to fill,” Rothwell added.
A previous report by Rothwell determined that H-1B work visas actually help alleviate acute STEM shortages, rather than contributing to unemployment rates, contradicting other research on the matter.
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