The “STEM workforce” is extensive and critical to innovation and competitiveness.
The condition of the U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce figures prominently in discussions of national competitiveness, education policy, innovation, and even immigration. But the relevant analyses and conversations are hindered by differing understandings of the composition and character of the STEM workforce and the varied, dynamic career pathways enabled by STEM knowledge and skills.
The STEM workforce consists of a many types of STEM-capable workers who employ significant STEM knowledge and skills in their jobs.
This workforce includes the scientists and engineers who further scientific and technological progress through research and development
(R&D) activities, workers in non-R&D jobs who use STEM knowledge and skills to devise or adopt innovations, and workers in
technologically demanding jobs who need STEM capabilities to accomplish occupational tasks.