As automation and technology change the nature of work from physical to technical labor, as manufacturing jobs transition from physical assembly-line occupations to those tied to supporting automation and robotics, a strong STEM skill set will be of the utmost importance in the new economy.Unfortunately, this skill set is exactly what our workforce lacks at the moment. In recent years, the skills gap has received much attention, and rightfully so.
Technological change has been reshaping human life and work for centuries. The mechanization that began with the Industrial Revolution enabled dramatic improvements in human health, well-being, and quality of life—not only in the developed countries of the West, but increasingly throughout the world. At the same time, economic and social disruptions often accompanied those changes, with painful and lasting results for workers, their families, and communities. Along the way, valuable skills, industries, and ways of life were lost.
The robots are coming, but not necessarily for your job. The likelihood that robots, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will completely wipe out large swaths of the workforce is exaggerated, a new MIT report finds. The report, from MIT's "Work of the Future" task force, examines the relationship between technology and work, drawing on research from more than 20 faculty members.
While women made up more than 50% of higher education students in those subjects - known collectively as STEM - their numbers fell dramatically with seniority, found a study by the University of Michigan and the New York Stem Cell Foundation. On average, women filled about 40% of assistant professor jobs, 30% of associate professor positions, and 20% of full professor jobs, it said.
When asked what’s driving the growing skills gap, the most cited reason (given by 37% of respondents) was that changing technology required a new set of skills. Respondents also said that the necessary skills have to be upgraded often. In fact, 40% of respondents estimated that workplace skills are usable for just four years or less before becoming obsolete.
Rapid changes in the nature of work, education, technology, workforce demographics, and international competition have led the National Science Board (NSB, Board) to conclude that our competitiveness, security, and research enterprise require this critical, but often overlooked segment of our STEM-capable workforce. Adding to the near-term urgency, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report predicts a shortfall of nearly 3.4 million skilled technical workers by 2022.1
The National Science Board released a report Monday calling for, among other things, a cultural re-evaluation of America's "skilled technical workforce" -- people who use science and technology skills in their jobs, but don't possess a bachelor's degree. While demand for professions like electricians, welders and autoworkers is projected to rapidly increase, the supply of labor for these jobs is estimated to fall short by nearly 3.4 million workers by 2022.
Men and women feel differently about this issue. Roughly four in 10 (42%) women believe that offering female-only opportunities is not a violation of gender discrimination laws like Title IX. Another 34 percent of women believe that it is a violation. Responses from men show almost the exact inverse: 44 percent believe that offering female-only educational opportunities is indeed a violation of Title IX; 34 percent disagree.
Bankrate.com’s report on the most and least valuable college majors ranks 162 majors based on degree holders’ median annual income, unemployment rate and whether the major leads to career paths that don’t demand further education beyond a bachelor’s degree.
These degrees cost money. The U.S. has over 44 million people who owe an average of $29,000 in student loans, exceeding $1.5 trillion in combined student loan debt. With this in mind, why would the federal government, through an executive order no less, implement the F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Visa, which allows over 250,000 foreign students to remain in the U.S. and work in STEM jobs? Moreover, why would the federal government give financial incentives to hire these foreign students over American students with the degrees and skills?