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  • The Target Industries of Class of 2015 STEM Majors

    March 09, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A computer science student works on some hardware.

    TAGS: STEM, student attitudes, surveys, spotlight

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    While some Class of 2015 STEM majors were interested in a diversity of industries, others were almost singularly focused on a particular industry, lending support to the popular notion that some majors are “piped” into particular types of jobs, according to NACE’s Students in Demand: An Insight Into Class of 2015 STEM Graduates.

    For example, computer science majors—both men and women—were interested in a diversity of industries, the foremost of which were computer/electronics manufacturing and information. (See Figure 1.) Men were also interested in the engineering services industry, while women also targeted the miscellaneous professional services consulting industry.

    The same is true among physical science majors, again regardless of gender. The top target industry for these majors was government, with other top-target industries including chemical/pharmaceutical manufacturing and engineering services. In addition, men also expressed interest in the education and the recreation and hospitality industries, while women indicated interests in the healthcare industry.

    On the other hand, mathematics majors are starkly divided into two distinct groups: those who aspire to work in a “Wall Street” type of job and those who aspire to be school teachers. This characterization is evidenced by significant interests in both the education and the finance, insurance, and real estate industries, and little to no interest any other industries. (Note: Due to a small number of respondents, mathematics majors are not split up by gender.)

    Similarly, biology and engineering majors tended to have a narrow focus. In the case of biology majors, it was on the healthcare industry, while engineering majors’ sights were primarily locked in on the engineering services industry.

    Students in Demand: An Insight Into Class of 2015 STEM Graduates will be available later this winter.

    Figure 1:Top target industry, by major and gender

      Rank Men Women
    % of respondents
    Computer Science 1 Information 35.0% Computer/Electronics Mfg. 29.2%
    2 Computer/Electronics Mfg. 26.8% Information 25.0%
    3 Engineering Services 14.6% Misc. Prof. Services Consulting 14.6%
    Engineering 1 Engineering Services 41.8% Engineering Services 40.3%
    2 Computer/Electronics Mfg. 10.2% Healthcare 9.4%
    Oil & Gas Extraction 10.2%
    Misc. Mfg. 10.2%
    3 Motor Vehicle Mfg. 5.9% Misc. Mfg. 8.6%
    Engineering Technology* 1 Engineering Services 36.0%
    2 Construction 12.0%
    3 Computer/Electronics Mfg. 8.0%
    Motor Vehicle Mfg. 8.0%
    Misc. Mfg. 8.0%
    Mathematics* 1 Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate 36.5%
    2 Education 25.7%
    3 Accounting Services 5.4%
    Government 5.4%
    Misc. Prof. Services Consulting 5.4%
    Biology 1 Healthcare 56.1% Healthcare 49.7%
    2 Education 14.6% Education 14.5%
    3 Chemical/Pharma. Mfg. 7.3% Chemical/Pharma. Mfg. 14.5%
    Government 7.3%
    Physical Sciences 1 Government 21.9% Government 33.3%
    2 Chemical/Pharma. Mfg. 12.5% Healthcare 18.2%
    Education 12.5%
    Engineering Services 12.5%
    3 Recreation & Hospitality 9.4% Chemical/Pharma. Mfg. 12.1%
    Engineering Services 12.1%
    Source: Students in Demand: An Insight Into Class of 2015 STEM Graduates, National Association of Colleges and Employers
    *Please note: Due to a small number of respondents, environmental science and science technology majors are excluded from this analysis; in addition, engineering technology and mathematics majors are not split up by gender.