The Other Gender Gap in STEM

November 2, 2017

Like most other STEM advocates, we have devoted a great deal attention to the critical shortage of women and girls in many STEM fields. A short article in Forbes magazine offers a timely reminder of another STEM gender gap that could have profound effects on our economy: the shortage of men.

Recent projections from the Bureau of Labor statistics underscore the stakes. Between 2016 and 2026, there will be almost 540,000 new jobs for registered nurses (median wage: $68,450), nurse practitioners (median wage: $104,610) and physician assistants (median wage: $102,090). Each of these occupations requires very substantial STEM knowledge and skill, and each is growing much faster than average. According to Economic Modeling Specialists International, more than 90 percent of registered nurses and nurse practitioners are female, as are 65 percent of physician's assistants. It will be much easier to fill these jobs over the next decade if we attract more men to the profession.

So far, so bad. The gender gaps are already enormous in high school:

In fact, the gaps are getting worse, not better:

In STEM CTE, the gender gap is growing

These jobs in health care pay very well, they're growing, and they're critical to our national well being as Americans age. We can't keep drawing the lion's share of our health care workforce from just half the American population.

Tags: women & girls, diversity, jobs & workforce