A Quarter of College Graduates and About Half of Doctorate Holders in Science and Engineering Occupations Were R&D Workers in 2019
Employed college graduates and doctorate holders performing R&D, by broad occupation: 2019
|Occupation||College graduate, all degree levels
|All science and engineering occupations||23||49|
|Computer and mathematical scientists||12||38|
|Biological, agricultural, and other life scientists||59||70|
|Physical and related scientists||47||56|
|Social and related scientists||30||29|
National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Survey of College Graduates, 2019, https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf22310.
In 2019, among the 50.5 million employed college graduates in all occupations across the nation, approximately 3.7 million (7%) were R&D workers (that is, graduates who reported that their primary work activity was in basic research, applied research, or experimental development). Roughly 1 in 5 (23%) of approximately 7.5 million graduates in science and engineering (S&E) occupations were R&D workers. Among the subset of 2 million employed doctorate holders in all occupations, approximately 638,000 doctorates (31%) reported that their primary work activity was in R&D. Roughly half (49%) of the 938,000 doctorate holders in S&E occupations were R&D workers. Biological, agricultural, and other life scientists had the highest concentration of R&D workers among them (59%), followed by physical and related scientists (47%)—concentrations within these two groups of scientists were even higher for those with a doctorate degree. These findings and other characteristics of employed college graduates in the workforce with a degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can be found in the report National Survey of College Graduates: 2019.
Note: NCSES recently revised its definition of R&D workers to better align with international data on R&D employment. See the InfoBrief Measuring R&D Workers Using NCSES Statistics.
Suggested Citation: Foley D, Doreste Rodriguez A; National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). 2022. A Quarter of College Graduates and About Half of Doctorate Holders in Science and Engineering Occupations Were R&D Workers in 2019. NSF 22-339. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation. Available at https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf22339/.
September 29, 2022