The talk around STEM employment (jobs in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering) has largely circled around jobs that require a great deal of education.
The idea is that as manufacturing jobs continue to slip away in the US (although not always in the Columbia area), the economy must replace them with jobs in the "Information Economy", many of which rely heavily on STEM fields.
A new report from the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank, says that when you consider all the blue-collar fields that rely on STEM training, these jobs already make up a sizable portion of the economy. As much as 19% of the Columbia workforce falls under this less narrow category.
The report, called "The Hidden STEM economy" says that 50% of current STEM jobs don't actually require a bachelor's degree. Our colleagues at St. Louis Public Radio wrote on this report earlier today and noted that STEM jobs already make up 20% of the St. Louis economy. “These jobs pay relatively high wages,” the report's author told St. Louis Public Radio. “The average STEM worker earns $66,000 compared to $38,000 for non-STEM workers in the St. Louis metropolitan area.”
The report includes a useful infographic on the St. Louis Metropolitan area, available here.
According to the report's data, Columbia STEM works do alright for themselves too. STEM workers here make an average of $57,974 per year. Non-STEM workers pull $30,815.
The report notes, however, that education still plays a leading role in a worker's earnings. In Columbia, a STEM worker with a Bachelor's degree or higher will earn on average: $71,269 per year. Those with Associate degree's or lower will earn, on average, $47,450.