A Brand New Report Shows Just How Wrong Silicon Valley Is About A Tech Worker Shortage

A popular meme of the immigration debate has to do with the claim from technology companies that there’s a Science, Technology, Engineering and maths (STEM)

worker shortage in the United States. This is frequently used to bolster the argument that the U.S. should increase the number of temporary visas issued to foreign-born workers in order to fulfil demand in the tech industry for techie talent. 

A new report from the esteemed Georgetown centre on Education and the Workforce presents a pretty significant rebuttal to that claim. 

Released on Wednesday, the annual report looks at how new college graduates are faring in the recession-era economy. 

That it’s titled “Hard Times” should give you a decent idea on how millennials are doing. 

But nost interestingly is the computer sector numbers. Were there truly a STEM shortage — were demand for STEM majors to exceed supply — one would expect that unemployment statistics for recent STEM graduates would be outstandingly low. 

The reality? Nope. From the report:

Unemployment seems mostly concentrated in information systems (14.7 %) compared with computer science (8.7%) and mathematics (5.9%). As noted in an earlier report, hiring tends to be slower for users of information compared to those who write programs and create soware applications.

Let’s get a little perspective here. According to the report, new information science graduates have worse unemployment than sociology (9.9%), archaeology (12.6%) and English (9.8%) majors. 

recent college graduate unemployment

What gives?

If there’s a STEM shortage, why are one in every eleven recent computer science graduates  out of the job?  Why are 1 in every 7 information science majors out of work if Silicon Valley is so desperate to import talent?

The reality is that from an economic perspective we don’t have a STEM shortage.

What we may have is a “STEM majors who have the skills that Silicon Valley prefers” shortage.

But to say we have a STEM shortage is needlessly hyperbolic. 

Read the full report here >

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