Upping the Numbers
Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis
Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis Advances in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have been key factors in contributing to past and future economic performance and success of both developed and developing countries. This success has then been translated into higher living standards and improved quality of life for their citizens. Such advances were the products of educated and skilled STEM workforces. However, these countries are facing a likely skill shortage of workers knowledgeable and skilled in STEM. The STEM workforce, comprised mainly of white males, is aging, with many on the verge of retirement. Immigrants from developing countries such as China, India, Russia and Singapore made up a signiﬁcant percentage of the STEM workforce in North America and Europe in the past, but as their home countries become increasingly developed, fewer choose to leave. In addition, women, minorities and the disabled, though talented, have historically been underrepresented in STEM education and occupations. It has been shown that these groups face unique challenges at all stages of the STEM pipeline. They are less likely to choose careers in STEM, more likely to drop out of STEM educational programs and STEM occupations, and less likely to advance in STEM careers, in both academic and business settings. These outcomes reﬂect the failure to create the conditions in which talented women and minorities can fully and fairly participate in STEM should they choose to do so. This may have negative eﬀects on the quality of STEM education and...