Another funny thing happened on the way to the STEM shortage

Comment

Credit: G. Grullón

As the 114th Congress gets underway, the high-skill immigration issue is back. On 13 January, Senator Orrin Hatch (R­–UT) and a bipartisan band of co-sponsors introduced the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015. This bill, also known by its  nickname “I-Squared,” is the updated version of a previous plan to admit many more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers to the country because of the nation’s supposed shortage of workers with these skills.

But the first report on the class of 2015 from the respected National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which conducts multiple surveys of employers’ hiring intentions throughout the year, projects a 9% drop in the salaries of new computer science bachelor's degree graduates, from $67,300 in 2014 to $61,287 this year. Ordinarily, rapidly falling salaries indicate a glut, not a shortage.

[T]he first report on the class of 2015 from the respected National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which conducts multiple surveys of employers’ hiring intentions throughout the year, projects a 9% drop in the salaries of new computer science graduates, from $67,300 in 2014 to $61,287 this year.

Despite this possible downward trend, new computer science graduates “still have it pretty good,” writes computer science professor and labor market scholar Norman Matloff of the University of California, Davis. “No, they are NOT all immediately being snapped up by employers, but their situation is still far better than those who are 10 or 15 years out of school.”

The fate of the class of 2015 cannot be definitively known until they graduate and enter the job market. Still, projections by NACE, which includes many universities among its members, are widely considered among the best such estimates. Senator Hatch, who is known to support “free-market solutions,” and his fellow believers in a STEM shortage may want to take note of what this year’s early labor market signals appear to be telling us.

Their opinion may be moot, however, because senators Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R–IA) and Jeff Sessions (R–AL)—both longstanding opponents of the H-1B visa and increased high-skill immigration—have been named, respectively, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and head of its immigration subcommittee.

Search Jobs

Enter keywords, locations or job types to start searching for your new science career.

Top articles in Careers

Follow Science Careers

A 3D plot from a model of the Ebola risk faced at different West African regions over time.
dancing shoes