Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why STEM is TE: inflation-adjusted wages edition

Many of you have read Michael Teitelbaum's article about the lack of a STEM shortage. I've actually purchased and mostly read his book, "Falling Behind?" Naturally, I enjoyed it, but I found it a bit weak in spots. Here's a link to a YouTube video of an Economic Policy Institute colloquy between Dr. Teitelbaum and number of prominent scholars about the book and science/technology workforces issues in general, including a very interesting critique of the book by Jonathan Rothwell, a research associate at Brookings.

My impression of Dr. Rothwell is not particularly positive; I found him irritating in the debate between himself, Salzman, Atkinson and Hira that I've posted on before. But I enjoyed listening to his portion of the colloquy, especially once I turned off the ARRRRGH part of my brain and just considered his data. Most of his data comes from US government datasets. I don't agree with many of his conclusions, but it is important to engage with the best of your opponent's data. 

Anyway, I found this graph by Dr. Rothwell particularly demonstrative of the difference in real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) wages over the years between people working in certain sectors of the computer industry (in this case "computer software developers") and chemists and biological scientists. It's apparent (to me, anyway) that when people say that STEM workers make good salaries with strong wage growth, they just mean TE. 

1 comment:

  1. Or, in the case of Rothwell, they really mean "healthcare." (I guess that's the "H" in STEM. STEHM. It's been missing all these years!)