Yes, there is inappropriate boostering of the need for more STEM education that isn't supported by the job market. You only need to look at stagnant salaries to prove that. You will never get me disagreeing with that (at least until it miraculously isn't true)
However, there is a hierarchy of thought as to what is an appropriate STEM career. A few years back, we all pushed against the idea that a STEM education was for becoming a STEM academic researcher only (if you can't, then go into industry). We now are (mostly) over that and see industry roles as another valid decision for a STEM graduate.
My issue was with the following (sarcastic) statement "Because after spending 2 years in the lab, there's nothing a B.S. chemist or a biologist wants to do more than marketing or medical-device sales". I would respond "why not?". Some of them actually do, and we should actually be happy that a STEM education sets you up for more careers than a pure research role. I don't see a difference between the prejudice in that statement and these variations...\
"Because after spending 2 years in the lab, there's nothing a B.S. chemist or a biologist wants to do more than scientific journalism"
"Because after spending 2 years in the lab, there's nothing a B.S. chemist or a biologist wants to do more than become a science educator"
"Because after spending X years in the lab, there's nothing a graduate chemist or a biologist wants to do more than work in industry"
"Because after spending X years in the lab, there's nothing a graduate chemist or a biologist wants to do more than become editor of a scientific journal" (tell that to Stu Cantrill)
My point is that if you need a STEM education to do the job, it is a STEM job. I doesn't have to be a research job to be a STEM job. A STEM education isn't a vocational training. We are just exposing the next layer of prejudice here.
Some people want to be researchers, some don't and actually want something different where they are still needed for their STEM education. But don't assume that everyone wants to be a researcher, and if they don't it is because they couldn't. Just as we thankfully now don't assume that everyone wants to be an academic.
I think the common assumption here is that you don't need a STEM education to do STEM sales or marketing - that anyone can do them. I wouldn't include a retail store manager as a STEM career, although I think a STEM education would certainly benefit you in that role. But you do need a STEM education for (some) sales and marketing positions, which is why I see it as prejudice and am pushing back. Everyone in my team, myself, and my boss, has a lab/science education or background - many have advanced degrees. I am unusual in not really having chosen this as a career path, many did. I don't hire people with marketing or MBA degrees into my marketing team - unless they have it as an extra. I hire people with science degrees.Philip says much the same things in the comments here.
He is right in that I was probably being sarcastic and dismissive of Carnevale's comments on bachelor's science graduates going into marketing or sales positions. I think a lot of this stems (pardon the pun) from my biases against Carnevale and the work of the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce. For me, hearing these statements from Philip has moral force that Carnevale's statements simply don't. Carnevale has not been there, Philip has.
Philip's assertion about the important of a science education for science sales and marketing is something that I think I had not fully absorbed until his statement. Where he and I may digress is on the fate of (specifically) B.S. chemists/biologists who enter into the sales force. Perhaps this speaks to my views of either the bachelor's science degree or the entry-level positions that they're put into, but I have a mental image of 23-year-old kids with a list of cold calls to make. That's probably too narrow a vision of what they're asked to do, to be honest.
By contrast, I've interacted enough with Philip and his team to recognize that they do get to use their chemistry backgrounds and be innovative. I think this is something that I need to do more thinking and reading about. Food for thought for me, and for other readers of this blog. Thanks, Philip.