To estimate the ratios of job postings in a field to unemployed people in that field, CTEq worked with the American Institutes for Research to collect data from two sources:
For each occupational classification we examined, we calculated the ratio between the average monthly number of new, unduplicated online job postings and the average monthly number of unemployed individuals. We calculated those averages over a span of three years beginning in March 2009 and ending in February 2012. Because monthly data were used for a three year period, it was not necessary to use seasonally adjusted data.
The occupational classifications were defined from the relevant occupational codes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. WANTED Analytics classifies job postings using SOC codes; these codes were used to measure job postings within our chosen occupational classifications. The CPS has different occupational classifications, which changed during the sample period. We used the official crosswalks to ensure comparability in occupational classifications between the two data sources.1
To define STEM occupations, we adapted and expanded definitions from two widely-cited sources: Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW)2 and the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA).3 We then added Healthcare Practitioner and Technical occupations that, according to our review of occupational data, require a substantial STEM background. Because healthcare is a major source of demand for STEM knowledge and skills, we felt our expanded definition would offer a more comprehensive picture of labor market demand for such knowledge and skills.
Our STEM definition includes all the occupations in the CEW definition: all Computer and Mathematical occupations (SOC 15-1111 through 15-2099); all Architecture and Engineering occupations (SOC 17-1011 through 17-3031); and Life and Physical Science Occupations (SOC 19-1011 through 19-2099; 19-4011 through 19-4099). Our definition also includes the three Management occupations ESA lists in its STEM definition: Computer and Information Systems Managers (SOC 11-3021); Architecture and Engineering Managers (SOC 11-9041); and Natural Sciences Managers (SOC 11-9121).
Finally, our definition includes occupations in the Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations category (the precise mappings are provided below). We used the O*Net database, which describes occupations in terms of the knowledge and skills they require, to determine which of those occupations require substantial STEM knowledge and skills.4
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Architectural and Engineering Managers
Natural Sciences Managers
Computer and Mathematical Occupations
All Computer and Mathematical Occupations
15-1111 through 15-2099
1005 through 1240
Architecture and Engineering Occupations
All Architecture and Engineering Occupations
17-1010 through 17-3031
1300 through 1560
Life and Physical Science Occupations
All Life and Physical Science Occupations
19-1010 through 19-2099; 19-4011 through 19-4090
1600 through 1760; 1900 through 1965
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations
Dietitians and nutritionists
Physicians and surgeons
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians
Diagnostic related technologists and technicians
Health practitioner support technologists and technicians
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Other healthcare practitioners and technical occupations
2 A.P. Carnevale, N. Smith, & M. Melton, STEM, Washington, DC: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2011.
3 D. Langdon, G. McKittrick, D. Beede, B. Khan, & M. Doms, “STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future,” ESA Issue Brief #03-11, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011.
4 O*Net is a service of the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration and is available at www.onetonline.org. Because some Census Department Occupation Codes comprise more than one SOC code, our analysis of healthcare occupations in O*Net could not in every instance reflect the level of occupational detail available in the BLS classification system.