One place they are making extra effort is among women.
The U.S. Labor Department estimates there will be 510,900 engineering job openings in the U.S. by 2024, and another 426,900 software development and programming jobs will be available, all requiring at least a bachelor’s degree.
Administrators say one way to help bridge the gap will be to bring more women into the field.
Women make up more than half of students on U.S. college campuses, but receive only about two of every 10 degrees in fields such as computer science and engineering, according to federal data.
Colleges have launched aggressive marketing campaigns, tweaked curricula and made efforts to promote real-world applications of science and technical fields in a bid to bring more women into the fields.
“Getting more women into STEM is about growing the pie,” said Matt Sigelman, chief executive of Burning Glass Technologies, a labor-market data firm. Figures on how long job postings in those fields stay up “suggest that employers are desperate for talent. Full stop.”
For example, he said, there were nearly 81,000 job postings for mechanical engineers last year, and they tended to stay up 20% longer than other average job openings. Women comprise just 6% of that field.
According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of U.S. Department of Education data, compiled by labor market analytics firm Emsi, women as a share of STEM degree recipients at the bachelor’s level and above increased at nine of the 10 largest such programs between 2012 and 2016.
Six now award at least one-third of those degrees to women.
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