Who Gets Counted as Part of America's STEM Workforce?

The Implications of Different Classification Approaches for Understanding the Gender Gap in STEM

by Drew M. Anderson, Matthew D. Baird, Robert Bozick

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The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) economy has been defined by top-down categorizations of occupations by experts. This study takes a bottom-up approach, directly asking a national sample of workers to self-classify their jobs as STEM or not. We identify a sizeable group of workers in what we call the "periphery STEM workforce," who report working STEM jobs outside of traditional STEM occupations. Women are more likely than men to be in the periphery STEM workforce, but they do not receive significantly higher wages than do non-STEM workers. This aspect of the gender pay gap is invisible using the current classification schemes.

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