European Union (EU): The EU comprises 27 member nations: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Unless otherwise noted, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data on the EU draw from 28 nations, which include the United Kingdom (UK) prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum, which marked the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
Foreign-born workers: Those whose nativity is outside of the United States, regardless of citizenship. Foreign-born workers can be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Involuntarily out-of-field (IOF) employment: Employment of workers who reported on the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) that they were working “in an area outside the field of [one’s] highest degree” because a “job in highest degree field [was] not available.” The IOF rate is the proportion of all employed individuals who report IOF employment.
Involuntarily part-time (IPT) employment: Employment of workers who reported on the NSCG that they “usually work fewer than 35 hours per week on the principal job [they] held during the week of February 1, 2019” because “a full-time job [was] not available.” The IPT rate is the proportion of all employed individuals who report IPT employment.
Labor force: A subset of the population that includes only those who are employed and those who are not working but actively seeking work (unemployed).
Middle-skill occupations: For purposes of this report, middle-skill occupations refer to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers only, even though middle-skill occupations usually include both STEM and non-STEM workers (see STEM middle-skill occupations).
Noncitizens: A subset of foreign-born workers who are temporarily in the United States on visas or are permanent residents. This includes temporary visa holders on H-1B, J-1, and L-1 visas and Green Card holders.
Non-S&E (non–science and engineering) occupations: Include the following occupation categories for workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher: non-S&E managers; management-related occupations; non-S&E precollege teachers; non-S&E postsecondary teachers; social service and related occupations; sales and marketing occupations; arts, humanities, and related occupations; and other non-S&E occupations. For detailed occupations within these categories, see the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) Taxonomy of Occupations (NCSES NSCG 2017: Technical Table A-1). It includes middle-skill occupations (see Middle-skill occupations) and non-STEM occupations (see Non-STEM occupations).
Non-STEM occupations: Primarily includes occupations in management (excluding S&E and S&E-related managers, industrial production managers, and farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers), sales (excluding sales engineers), transportation and material moving (excluding transportation inspectors and pumping station operators), office and administrative support, and education and training. See Table SLBR-1 for a full list of non-STEM occupations.
Non-STEM workforce or non-STEM workers: A subset of the U.S. workforce in non-STEM occupations (see non-STEM occupations).
Postdoctoral researcher (postdoc): A temporary position awarded in academia, industry, government, or a nonprofit organization, primarily for gaining additional education and training in research after completion of a doctorate.
R&D and design: Includes the work activities of basic research, applied research, development and design of equipment, processes, structures, and models.
Scientists and engineers: Individuals who have an S&E or S&E-related degree or who work in an S&E occupation (see S&E occupations) or S&E-related occupation (see S&E-related occupations).
S&E degree fields: Degree fields at the bachelor’s level or higher in the following categories: (1) computer and mathematical sciences; (2) biological, agricultural, and environmental life sciences; (3) physical and related sciences; (4) social sciences; and (5) engineering. At the doctoral degree level, the medical and health sciences are included under S&E (i.e., science, engineering, and health [SEH]) because these data correspond to the doctorate holder’s research or scholarship degree level, which are research-focused degrees. For detailed degree fields within these major categories, see the NCSES Taxonomy of Disciplines (NCSES SDR 2019: Technical Table A-1).
S&E occupations: Occupations in the following five major categories: (1) computer and mathematical scientists; (2) biological, agricultural, and environmental life scientists; (3) physical scientists; (4) social scientists; and (5) engineers. For more details and examples of the minor and fine S&E occupations, see the NCSES Taxonomy of Occupations (NCSES NSCG 2017: Technical Table A-1).
S&E-related degree fields: Degree fields at the bachelor’s level or higher in the following categories: (1) health, science, and mathematics teacher education; (2) technology and technical fields; and (3) other S&E-related fields. For detailed degree fields within these categories, see the NCSES Taxonomy of Disciplines (NCSES SDR 2019: Table A-1).
S&E-related occupations: These occupations require science and technology expertise but are not part of the five major categories of the S&E occupations. S&E-related occupations include these four minor occupations: (1) health, (2) S&E managers, (3) S&E precollege teachers, and (4) technologists and technicians. For more detail and examples of fine S&E-related occupations, see the NCSES Taxonomy of Occupations (NCSES NSCG 2017: Technical Table A-1).
Skilled technical workforce (STW): Workers in S&E (see S&E occupations), S&E-related (see S&E-related occupations), and STEM middle-skill occupations (see STEM middle-skill occupations) who do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Stay rate: The proportion of foreign recipients of U.S. S&E doctorates who expect to stay or stay in the United States after receiving their doctorate.
STEM middle-skill occupations: A range of occupations that require a high level of scientific and technical knowledge, although these occupations do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry (see Middle-skill occupations). STEM middle-skill occupations are primarily in construction trades, installation, maintenance, and production. See Table SLBR-1 for a full list of middle-skill occupations.
STEM workforce or STEM workers: A subset of the U.S. workforce comprised of S&E (see S&E occupations), S&E-related (see S&E-related occupations), and STEM middle-skill occupations (see STEM middle-skill occupations).
Underrepresented minorities: Races or ethnicities whose representation in S&E education and S&E employment is smaller than their representation in the U.S. population. This includes Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives.
Workforce: A subset of the labor force that includes only employed individuals.
Key to Acronyms and Abbreviations
ACS: American Community Survey
BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics
CPS: Current Population Survey
EU: European Union
FY: fiscal year
GSS: Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering
IOF: involuntarily out of field
IPT: involuntarily part time
NCSES: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
NSB: National Science Board
NSCG: National Survey of College Graduates
NSF: National Science Foundation
OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OES: Occupational Employment Statistics
R&D: research and development
S&E: science and engineering
SDR: Survey of Doctorate Recipients
SED: Survey of Earned Doctorates
SEH: science, engineering, and health
SESTAT: Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System
STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
STW: skilled technical workforce
USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services