Panel Paper: Who Gets Counted As Part of America’s STEM Labor Force? the Implications of Different Classification Approaches for Understanding the Gender Gap in STEM

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8209 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Matthew D. Baird, Robert Bozick and Drew M. Anderson, RAND Corporation

There is a well-documented gap in women's participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at all levels from schooling through employment. Evidence to-date has been based on categorizations of majors and occupations. This study asked a national sample of workers whether they work in STEM, i.e. did not classify based on their reported occupations, but on their self-reports of their job. Contrasting their STEM employment classification based on their self-reports with occupations uncovered a sizeable proportion of the labor market working in STEM jobs while in non-STEM occupations. We find that women are much more likely than men to find themselves in this mismatched STEM environment, and this alone accounts for the observed divergence in STEM work between men and women after college. We examine the wage returns to being in a STEM occupation, a STEM job, and the interaction between the two, and how they differ by gender. This informs how we should interpret this large segment of the women’s STEM workforce that are in non-STEM occupations. We discuss implications for the STEM labor market and the gender pay gap.

Full Paper: