STEM Employment in the New Economy: A Labor Market Segmentation Approach
AuthorTorres-Olave, Blanca Minerva
Labor market segmentation
STEM degree outcomes
Committee ChairRhoades, Gary
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe present study examined the extent to which the U.S. STEM labor market is stratified in terms of quality of employment. Through a series of cluster analyses and Chi-square tests on data drawn from the 2008 Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP), the study found evidence of segmentation in the highly-skilled STEM and non-STEM samples, which included workers with a subbaccalaureate diploma or above. The cluster analyses show a pattern consistent with Labor Market Segmentation theory: Higher wages are associated with other primary employment characteristics, including health insurance and pension benefits, as well as full-time employment. In turn, lower wages showed a tendency to cluster with secondary employment characteristics, such as part-time employment, multiple employment, and restricted access to health insurance and pension benefits. The findings also suggest that women have a higher likelihood of being employed in STEM jobs with secondary characteristics. The findings reveal a far more variegated employment landscape than is usually presented in national reports of the STEM workforce. There is evidence that, while STEM employment may be more resilient than non-STEM employment to labor restructuring trends in the new economy, the former is far from immune to secondary labor characteristics. There is a need for ongoing dialogue between STEM education (at all levels), employers, policymakers, and other stakeholders to truly understand not only the barriers to equity in employment relations, but also the mechanisms that create and maintain segmentation and how they may impact women, underrepresented minorities, and the foreign-born.
Degree ProgramGraduate College