Step Aside, Hedge Fund Managers: Geek is Chic
Jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields may not sound very sexy and exciting at first, but once you realize that those fields, traditionally considered the realm of the Geeks, pay better and are growing faster than any others, you might change your tune. These days, positions that are plentiful and lucrative, no matter what the field, are among the most admired and desired.
The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) just released a new report that profiles U.S. employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or what are often referred to as (STEM) fields. It's obvious why the term "STEM" is preferred to "Geek," although this report shows that the latter term could well be considered a status symbol. The report, called STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, would encourage any one with a facility for numbers and a tendency toward left brain functions to say it out loud, "I'm Geek and I'm proud!"
"This report illustrates how we can win the future by encouraging the pursuit of 21st century jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," U.S. Commerce Gary Locke said. "STEM jobs are essential to a competitive, innovative and technologically advanced U.S. economy." In other words, STEM jobs are not just good for the individual, they're good for the entire nation.
Among the report's fascinating findings:
- Over the past ten years, the number of STEM jobs grew three times faster than any other category, and that growth is expected to accelerate over the next ten years. Geeks are in hot demand.
- Those employed in STEM positions are less likely to be unemployed than workers in any other category.
- STEM workers' salaries are 26 percent higher than those of workers in other fields -- including finance.
- If you hold a degree in one of the STEM categories, you'll make more than those who don't, even if you work in a totally non-STEM related job.
- Starting positions in STEM fields for college grads pay better -- no matter what you majored in. Of course, if you graduated in Communications, it would probably be a little difficult to get a staring position as an electrical engineer, but you never know.
"A STEM education is a pathway to prosperity -- not just for you as an individual but for America as a whole," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "We need you in our classrooms, labs and key government agencies to help solve our biggest challenges, and that's why we are investing heavily to promote STEM education."
So it would seem that Geek is no only chic these days, but it's also lucrative, and downright patriotic. Looks like the rest of us better start working on our Geek salutes.
Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.