Real-Time Demand for STEM

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Patrick Clapp

Jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM[1]) are expected to grow faster than the average occupation over the next 10 years, but what does demand for STEM vs. non-STEM look like today?  Real-time intelligence from online job ads can help compare these occupation groups.

In 2017, STEM ads closed at about the same rate as non-STEM ads but took a slightly longer time to fill, suggesting it may be harder for employers to fill openings for STEM occupations. Out of the nearly 27 million deduplicated online ads collected in 2017, more than 2 million were for STEM-related occupations. Over this period, 85% of both STEM and non-STEM ads were closed (a proxy for hiring). However, on average, STEM jobs were active online for a median duration of 29.5 days, nearly two days longer than the average median duration for non-STEM ads (27.8 days). The table below shows the STEM occupations with the longest median durations.

Online Job Ads for STEM Occupations, 2017
SOC Occupations Median Duration (days) Total Ads
17-3025 Environmental Engineering Technicians 42 2,303
25-1054 Physics Teachers, Postsecondary 42 0,839
25-1052 Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary 41 1,539
25-1022 Mathematical Science Teachers, Postsecondary 40 2,568
25-1061 Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary 37 0,706
15-2021 Mathematicians 34 0,130
19-1029 Biological Scientists, All Other 34 3,906
19-1032 Foresters 34 1,851
19-1099 Life Scientists, All Other 34 1,940
25-1032 Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary 34 1,820
Source: JobsEQ

Though STEM ads as a whole were generally online longer, many individual non-STEM occupations had longer median durations, also suggesting difficulty filling these positions. The table below shows duration and total ads for non-STEM occupations that were active online the longest in 2017. Note that some of these occupations are healthcare related, and often included in definitions of STEM-H occupations.

Online Job Ads for Non STEM Occupations, 2017
SOC Occupations Median Duration (days) Total Ads
49-9043 Maintenance Workers, Machinery 129 0,929
51-9194 Etchers and Engravers 56 1,127
29-1131 Veterinarians 51 8,448
29-1041 Optometrists 49 4,264
19-3041 Sociologists 48 0,073
29-1127 Speech-Language Pathologists 47 81,381
25-1064 Geography Teachers, Postsecondary 46 0,147
47-2071 Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators 45 5,596
25-1062 Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary 43 1,283
33-9092 Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers 41 18,294
Source: JobsEQ

From this analysis, it seems STEM ads may generally take somewhat longer to fill than non-STEM jobs, but some detailed occupations within both groups appear especially difficult to fill. Further analysis of online job ads may yield additional insights. For example, differences in hard and soft skills most often required or differences in advertised wages may be the subject of future blogs.


[1] STEM occupations were identified based on the SOC Policy Committee recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget; health occupations were excluded. For more on defining STEM, see our related blog

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.