STEM workers thrive in denser labor markets

STEM workers

New Study Reveals Link Between STEM Workers Job Opportunities and Labor Market Density

Dartmouth College researchers have conducted one of the first studies examining the geography of STEM workers degree-job matching, uncovering a significant relationship between job opportunities and the density of STEM labor markets. Contrary to popular belief, the study found that the concentration of STEM jobs in large cities does not necessarily improve the chances of STEM workers finding employment in their field. Instead, the research suggests that working in medium to large metropolitan areas with thriving STEM clusters, such as San Jose, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Raleigh-Durham, and Austin, increases the likelihood of job matching.

While previous studies have explored various factors influencing STEM employment, such as human capital, occupational specialization, and gender and racial disparities, this research focuses specifically on the impact of labor-market size and density on job matching. By analyzing data from the Minnesota Population Center, the American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the study evaluates the matching probabilities for STEM workers across different demographic groups.

The findings indicate that the advantages of STEM agglomerations extend beyond race and gender, benefiting a broader range of workers. Although women, blacks, and Latinos experience relatively lower matching probabilities compared to white men, they still have better matching prospects within STEM clusters. However, the study also reveals that STEM agglomerations do not significantly improve job matching for women, blacks, and Latinos compared to white men, highlighting the persistent labor-market inequalities that cannot be easily resolved by geographic concentration alone.

STEM workers

Lead author Richard Wright, a geography professor at Dartmouth College, emphasizes that the STEM employment sector is diverse and subject to spatial and temporal variations. While the study focused on job matching across the broader category of STEM, further exploration of the geographic distribution of STEM jobs will uncover additional complexities within the employment landscape.

This research sheds light on the intricate relationship between STEM job opportunities and the geography of labor markets. It underscores the importance of considering factors beyond simply the size of cities when strategizing efforts to improve STEM employment prospects. By recognizing the influence of labor market density and promoting the development of thriving STEM clusters in metropolitan areas, policymakers and stakeholders can foster a more effective approach to tackling the STEM talent shortage and enhancing job matching in these high-demand fields.

Learn more about STEM workers at Stemta Corporation

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