text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text TranscoderSkip all navigation and go to page content Skip top navigation and go to directorate navigation Skip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
InfoBriefs
Related Information
Detailed Statistical Tables
123
Past publications
National Center for Science and
  Engineering Statistics (NCSES)
NCSES Home
About NCSES
Topics: A to Z
View Staff Directory
Contact NCSES
Search NCSES

Diversity in Science and Engineering Employment in Industry

NSF 12-311 | March 2012 | PDF format. PDF  
Bookmark and Share

by Jaquelina C. Falkenheim and Joan S. Burrelli[1]

In 2008, 19 million scientists and engineers were employed in the United States.[2] This figure includes 4.9 million employed in science and engineering (S&E) occupations, 5.5 million employed in S&E related occupations, and 8.8 million employed in non-S&E occupations with S&E related degrees.[3] More than half (53%) of these scientists and engineers worked in industry (figure 1).


FIGURE 1. Employed scientists and engineers, by sector of employment and level of highest degree: 2008.

  Figure 1 Source Data: Excel file

This InfoBrief examines sex, racial/ethnic, and disability characteristics of scientists and engineers employed in industry, including breakouts by highest educational degree, occupation, primary and secondary work activity, and management occupations.

Compared with their proportions in the U.S. population, women, blacks, Hispanics (regardless of racial background), American Indians and Alaska Natives, and persons with disabilities are underrepresented in the industrial S&E workforce; Asians and whites are overrepresented.[4] White men who are not of Hispanic origin account for half of the scientists and engineers working in industry, and white women who are not of Hispanic origin account for another 25% (table 1). Minority women account for 10% and minority men account for 15% of scientists and engineers working in industry, with about half of all minorities being Asian.[5] Six percent of scientists and engineers employed in industry have disabilities.

TABLE 1. Scientists and engineers employed in industry, by sex, race/ethnicity, disability status, and level of highest degree: 2008
All degree levelsa Bachelor's Master's Doctoral
Sex, race/ethnicity, and disability status Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Both sexes 10,204,000 100.0 6,374,000 62.5 2,536,000 24.9 300,000 2.9
White 7,639,000 100.0 4,886,000 64.0 1,792,000 23.5 196,000 2.6
Asian 1,311,000 100.0 646,000 49.3 471,000 35.9 84,000 6.4
Black or African American 470,000 100.0 313,000 66.6 112,000 23.8 8,000 1.7
Hispanic 542,000 100.0 351,000 64.8 121,000 22.3 8,000 1.5
American Indian or Alaska Native 36,000 100.0 26,000 72.2 7,000 19.4 * *
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 44,000 100.0 34,000 77.3 6,000 13.6 1,000 2.3
Multiple race 161,000 100.0 118,000 73.3 26,000 16.1 3,000 1.9
Without disability 9,561,000 100.0 5,940,000 62.1 2,396,000 25.1 283,000 3.0
With disability 643,000 100.0 434,000 67.5 140,000 21.8 17,000 2.6
Female 3,587,000 100.0 2,310,000 64.4 872,000 24.3 70,000 2.0
White 2,575,000 100.0 1,687,000 65.5 607,000 23.6 45,000 1.7
Asian 471,000 100.0 258,000 54.8 148,000 31.4 17,000 3.6
Black or African American 232,000 100.0 156,000 67.2 54,000 23.3 4,000 1.7
Hispanic 208,000 100.0 136,000 65.4 48,000 23.1 3,000 1.4
American Indian or Alaska Native 13,000 100.0 10,000 76.9 2,000 15.4 * *
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 16,000 100.0 12,000 75.0 1,000 6.3 * *
Multiple race 72,000 100.0 52,000 72.2 12,000 16.7 1,000 1.4
Without disability 3,397,000 100.0 2,176,000 64.1 832,000 24.5 68,000 2.0
With disability 190,000 100.0 134,000 70.5 41,000 21.6 2,000 1.1
Male 6,617,000 100.0 4,064,000 61.4 1,664,000 25.1 229,000 3.5
White 5,063,000 100.0 3,200,000 63.2 1,185,000 23.4 151,000 3.0
Asian 840,000 100.0 389,000 46.3 323,000 38.5 67,000 8.0
Black or African American 238,000 100.0 156,000 65.5 59,000 24.8 4,000 1.7
Hispanic 334,000 100.0 216,000 64.7 73,000 21.9 5,000 1.5
American Indian or Alaska Native 23,000 100.0 16,000 69.6 5,000 21.7 * *
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 29,000 100.0 21,000 72.4 5,000 17.2 * *
Multiple race 89,000 100.0 67,000 75.3 13,000 14.6 2,000 2.2
Without disability 6,164,000 100.0 3,764,000 61.1 1,564,000 25.4 215,000 3.5
With disability 453,000 100.0 301,000 66.4 99,000 21.9 15,000 3.3

* = estimate < 500.

a Total includes professional degrees not broken out separately.

NOTES: Scientists and engineers include persons who have ever received a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree in a science and engineering (S&E) or S&E-related field through 30 June 2007, persons holding a non-S&E bachelor's or higher degree who were employed in an S&E or S&E-related occupation on 1 October 2003, and persons who held a non-U.S. S&E degree and were in the United States on 1 October 2003. American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, whites, and persons reporting more than one race refer to individuals who are not of Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. Detail may not add to total because of rounding.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT): 2008.

  Table 1 Source Data: Excel file

Highest Educational Degree

Most scientists and engineers (63%) employed in industry have a bachelor's degree as their highest degree (figure 1, table 1). Another 25% have master's degrees, and 3% have doctoral degrees. Although the percentage with doctoral degrees is small, the number of scientists and engineers with doctorates in industry (300,000) is second only to the number of scientists and engineers with doctorates who are employed by 4-year colleges and universities (381,000).

Male scientists and engineers employed in industry have higher levels of education than their female counterparts. Among scientists and engineers employed in industry, women are more likely than men to have a bachelor's as their highest degree and men are more likely than women to have a doctoral degree. Black, Hispanic, and white scientists and engineers in industry have fairly similar educational attainment, but Asians, Asian men in particular, are more likely than any other group to have master's or doctoral degrees (table 1). Compared with scientists and engineers without disabilities, those with disabilities are more likely to have a bachelor's as their highest degree and are less likely to have a master's as their highest degree.

Occupation

Of the 10 million scientists and engineers employed in industry, about 3 million work in S&E occupations, over 2 million work in S&E-related occupations (primarily doctors and nurses), and nearly 5 million work in non-S&E occupations (primarily top-level management, management-related occupations, and sales). Among those employed in S&E occupations, by far the largest numbers are employed as computer and mathematical scientists and engineers (table 2).

TABLE 2. Scientists and engineers employed in industry, by sex, race/ethnicity, disability status, and occupation: 2008
(Percent)
S&E occupations
Sex, race/ethnicity, and disability status All occupations (n) Computer and mathematical scientists Biological, agricultural, and other life scientists Physical and related scientists Social and related scientists Engineers S&E-related occupations Non-S&E occupations
Both sexes 10,204,000 14.1 1.4 1.5 1.1 12.1 24.4 45.4
White 7,639,000 12.4 1.3 1.5 1.2 12.0 24.3 47.4
Asian 1,311,000 26.3 2.1 1.8 0.8 14.7 23.6 30.7
Black or African American 470,000 12.6 1.1 0.9 0.9 7.2 27.2 50.4
Hispanic 542,000 10.0 1.7 1.3 0.9 11.8 26.4 48.0
American Indian or Alaska Native 36,000 13.9 D S S 8.3 33.3 41.7
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 44,000 13.6 * D D 15.9 27.3 40.9
Multiple race 161,000 13.7 1.2 1.9 1.2 12.4 22.4 47.8
Without disability 9,561,000 14.1 1.4 1.5 1.2 12.1 24.7 45.1
With disability 643,000 12.8 0.9 1.7 0.8 12.6 21.2 49.9
Female 3,587,000 9.3 1.8 1.3 1.4 4.2 33.8 48.1
White 2,575,000 7.9 1.7 1.2 1.6 3.5 34.6 49.3
Asian 471,000 18.5 2.8 1.9 1.1 7.4 29.5 38.9
Black or African American 232,000 9.9 1.3 0.9 0.4 3.0 37.5 47.0
Hispanic 208,000 5.8 1.9 1.0 1.0 4.8 30.3 55.3
American Indian or Alaska Native 13,000 S D D D 7.7 46.2 38.5
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 16,000 D D D D S 37.5 43.8
Multiple race 72,000 8.3 S S 1.4 5.6 29.2 52.8
Without disability 3,397,000 9.3 1.9 1.3 1.4 4.3 34.0 47.9
With disability 190,000 8.9 1.6 1.6 1.6 2.1 31.1 53.2
Male 6,617,000 16.6 1.2 1.6 1.0 16.4 19.4 43.9
White 5,063,000 14.6 1.1 1.6 1.0 16.3 19.0 46.4
Asian 840,000 30.7 1.7 1.7 0.8 18.8 20.4 26.1
Black or African American 238,000 15.1 0.8 0.8 S 11.3 17.2 53.8
Hispanic 334,000 12.6 1.5 1.8 0.6 16.2 24.0 43.4
American Indian or Alaska Native 23,000 17.4 D * D 8.7 26.1 43.5
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 29,000 13.8 D D D 20.7 20.7 37.9
Multiple race 89,000 18.0 S 2.2 S 16.9 16.9 43.8
Without disability 6,164,000 16.8 1.2 1.6 1.0 16.4 19.5 43.5
With disability 453,000 14.3 0.9 1.8 0.4 17.0 17.0 48.6

* = estimate < 500; D = suppressed for confidentiality; S = suppressed for reliability.

S&E = science and engineering.

NOTES: Scientists and engineers include persons who have ever received a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree in an S&E or S&E-related field through 30 June 2007, persons holding a non-S&E bachelor's or higher degree who were employed in an S&E or S&E-related occupation on 1 October 2003, and persons who held a non-U.S. S&E degree and were in the United States on 1 October 2003. See http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/docs/occ03maj.html for a detailed description of the occupational classification. American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, whites, and persons reporting more than one race refer to individuals who are not of Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. Detail may not add to total because of rounding.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT): 2008.

  Table 2 Source Data: Excel file

Men and women differ in occupation within the industry sector. Men are more likely than women to be engineers and computer and mathematical scientists, and women are more likely than men to work in S&E-related occupations. With the exception of Asians, most racial/ethnic groups differ little in occupation within industry. Asians are more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to be computer and mathematical scientists and less likely to work in non-S&E occupations. Persons with and without disabilities work in largely similar occupations.

Primary or Secondary Work Activity

In contrast to academia, where most scientists and engineers are engaged in teaching and research, the majority of scientists and engineers working in industry reported that their primary or secondary work activity was management, sales, or administration (69%). Another 30% reported research and development, 15% reported computer applications, and 6% reported teaching (table 3).[6]

TABLE 3. Scientists and engineers employed in industry, by sex, race/ethnicity, disability status, and primary/secondary work activity: 2008
(Percent)
Sex, race/ethnicity, and disability status All work activities (n)a Research and
development
Management,
sales, or
administrationb
Computer
applications
Teaching
Both sexes 10,204,000 30.0 68.8 15.2 5.7
White 7,639,000 28.8 71.0 13.5 5.6
Asian 1,311,000 39.7 55.8 27.3 4.0
Black or African American 470,000 24.7 68.5 12.3 10.0
Hispanic 542,000 28.2 69.7 12.4 7.4
American Indian or Alaska Native 36,000 27.8 63.9 8.3 S
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 44,000 27.3 70.5 11.4 6.8
Multiple race 161,000 29.8 69.6 13.7 5.6
Without disability 9,561,000 30.1 68.8 15.2 5.7
With disability 643,000 29.1 69.4 14.0 5.4
Female 3,587,000 22.2 66.6 9.9 10.2
White 2,575,000 20.7 68.5 8.6 10.6
Asian 471,000 30.8 56.7 18.9 6.2
Black or African American 232,000 20.3 64.2 8.6 14.2
Hispanic 208,000 23.1 69.2 7.7 10.1
American Indian or Alaska Native 13,000 S 61.5 S S
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 16,000 25.0 62.5 D D
Multiple race 72,000 22.2 66.7 11.1 6.9
Without disability 3,397,000 22.3 66.7 9.9 10.2
With disability 190,000 19.5 65.8 10.5 8.9
Male 6,617,000 34.3 70.0 18.0 3.2
White 5,063,000 33.0 72.3 16.0 3.0
Asian 840,000 44.8 55.2 31.9 2.6
Black or African American 238,000 29.0 72.7 16.0 6.3
Hispanic 334,000 31.4 70.1 15.3 5.7
American Indian or Alaska Native 23,000 30.4 65.2 8.7 D
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 29,000 31.0 72.4 17.2 D
Multiple race 89,000 36.0 71.9 15.7 4.5
Without disability 6,164,000 34.3 69.9 18.2 3.1
With disability 453,000 33.1 70.9 15.5 4.0

D = suppressed for confidentiality; S = suppressed for reliability.

a Total includes other work activities (production, operations, or maintenance; professional services; or other) not broken out separately.
b Includes respondents who reported the following work activities: accounting, finance or contracts, employee relations, quality or productivity management, sales and marketing, or managing and supervising.

NOTES: Scientists and engineers include persons who have ever received a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree in a science and engineering (S&E) or S&Erelated field through 30 June 2007, persons holding a non-S&E bachelor's or higher degree who were employed in an S&E or S&E-related occupation on 1 October 2003, and persons who held a non-U.S. S&E degree and were in the United States on 1 October 2003. See http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/docs/occ03maj.html for a detailed description of the occupational classification. American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, whites, and persons reporting more than one race refer to individuals who are not of Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. Detail may not add to total because of rounding and multiple response to work activity. Totals sum to more than 100% because respondents could select both a primary and a secondary work activity.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT): 2008.

  Table 3 Source Data: Excel file

Partly reflecting differences in occupation discussed above, men are more likely than women to report research and development or computer applications as their primary or secondary work activity, whereas women are more likely to name teaching, regardless of race/ethnicity or disability status. Asians are more likely than any other racial/ethnic group to report research and development or computer applications as their primary or secondary work activity, and they are less likely than most other racial/ethnic groups to report management, sales, or administration. Compared with most other racial ethnic groups, blacks are less likely to report research and development and more likely to report teaching as their primary/secondary work activity. Persons with and without disabilities differ little in work activity.

Management

Just over 1 in 10 scientists and engineers working in industry are managers. Men and women and the various racial/ethnic groups differ in their propensity to be managers, partly reflecting differences in age distributions. Among scientists and engineers in the United States, women are younger on average than men, and minorities are younger on average than whites.[7] Among scientists and engineers within industry, men are more likely than women to be managers, both midlevel and top-level managers, executives, and administrators within most racial/ethnic groups and regardless of disability status (table 4). Asians, blacks, and persons who reported multiple races are less likely than whites to be managers. Similar proportions of persons with and without disabilities are managers.

TABLE 4. Scientists and engineers employed in industry, by sex, race/ethnicity, disability status, and management occupation: 2008
(Percent)
Sex, race/ethnicity, and disability status All occupations (n) All managers (n) Top-level managers, executives, or administrators Mid-level S&E managers Mid-level non-S&E managers Nonmanagers (n)
Both sexes 10,204,000 1,108,000 5.8 3.1 2.0 9,095,000
White 7,639,000 900,000 6.4 3.1 2.3 6,738,000
Asian 1,311,000 97,000 3.6 2.9 0.9 1,214,000
Black or African American 470,000 36,000 3.0 3.0 1.7 434,000
Hispanic 542,000 54,000 5.2 3.0 1.8 488,000
American Indian or Alaska Native 36,000 5,000 8.3 5.6 D 32,000
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 44,000 5,000 S D D 39,000
Multiple race 161,000 10,000 4.3 1.2 0.6 151,000
Without disability 9,561,000 1,044,000 5.8 3.1 2.0 8,517,000
With disability 643,000 64,000 5.0 2.6 2.2 579,000
Female 3,587,000 206,000 2.4 1.8 1.6 3,381,000
White 2,575,000 160,000 2.4 1.9 1.8 2,416,000
Asian 471,000 20,000 2.8 1.1 0.4 451,000
Black or African American 232,000 12,000 1.7 2.2 1.3 221,000
Hispanic 208,000 12,000 2.9 1.0 1.9 196,000
American Indian or Alaska Native 13,000 S D D D 12,000
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 16,000 D D D D 15,000
Multiple race 72,000 2,000 D S D 70,000
Without disability 3,397,000 196,000 2.5 1.7 1.6 3,201,000
With disability 190,000 10,000 S 2.6 S 180,000
Male 6,617,000 902,000 7.6 3.8 2.3 5,715,000
White 5,063,000 741,000 8.4 3.8 2.5 4,322,000
Asian 840,000 77,000 4.0 3.9 1.3 763,000
Black or African American 238,000 25,000 4.6 3.8 2.1 213,000
Hispanic 334,000 42,000 6.6 4.2 1.8 292,000
American Indian or Alaska Native 23,000 4,000 13.0 D D 19,000
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 29,000 5,000 S D D 24,000
Multiple race 89,000 8,000 7.9 1.1 S 81,000
Without disability 6,164,000 848,000 7.7 3.9 2.2 5,316,000
With disability 453,000 54,000 6.4 2.9 2.6 399,000

D = suppressed for confidentiality; S = suppressed for reliability.

S&E = science and engineering.

NOTES: Scientists and engineers include persons who have ever received a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree in an S&E or S&E-related field through 30 June 2007, persons holding a non-S&E bachelor's or higher degree who were employed in an S&E or S&E-related occupation on 1 October 2003, and persons who held a non-U.S. S&E degree and were in the United States on 1 October 2003. See http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/docs/occ03maj.html for a detailed description of the occupational classification. American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders, whites, and persons reporting more than one race refer to individuals who are not of Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. Detail may not add to total because of rounding.

SOURCE: National Science Foundation/National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT): 2008.

  Table 4 Source Data: Excel file

Data Sources and Availability

Data presented here are from the 2008 Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), which comprises three large demographic and workforce surveys of individuals conducted by the National Science Foundation: the National Survey of College Graduates, the National Survey of Recent College Graduates, and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients. The 2008 SESTAT included 100,313 individuals representing a population of about 19 million scientists and engineers, including people trained in S&E or S&E-related fields or working in S&E or S&E-related occupations. The 2008 SESTAT surveys had a reference week of 1 October 2008. All demographic, employment, and education data on scientists and engineers represent the status of these individuals during the reference week. The full set of detailed tables from the SESTAT integrated database will be available in the forthcoming report Characteristics of Scientists and Engineers in the United States: 2008 at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/us-workforce/.

Definitions

Scientists and engineers: Persons who have ever received a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree in an S&E or S&E-related field through 30 June 2007, persons holding a non-S&E bachelor's or higher degree who were employed in an S&E or S&E-related occupation on 1 October 2003, and persons who held a non-U.S. S&E degree and were in the UnitedStates on 1 October 2003.

S&E fields: Biological/agricultural/environmental life sciences, computer and information sciences, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, psychology, social sciences, and engineering. S&Erelated fields include health, science and mathematics teacher education, technology and technical fields, and other S&E-related fields, such as architecture/ environmental design and actuarial science. See http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/docs/ed03maj.html for a detailed description of the educational classification.

S&E occupations: Computer and mathematical scientists; biological, agricultural, and other life scientists; physical and related scientists; social and related scientists; and engineers. S&E-related occupations include health-related occupations, S&E managers, S&E precollege teachers, S&E technicians and technologists, and other S&E-related occupations, such as architects and actuaries. See http://ncsesdata.nsf.gov/docs/occ03maj.html for a detailed description of the occupational classification.

Race/ethnicity: All graduates, both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, are included in the race/ethnicity data presented in this report. American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, whites, and persons reporting more than one race refer to individuals who are not of Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Disability: The SESTAT surveys ask the degree of difficulty—none, slight, moderate, severe, unable to do—an individual has in seeing (with glasses/contact lenses), hearing (with hearing aid), walking without assistance, or lifting 10 pounds. Respondents who answered "moderate," "severe," or "unable to do" for any activity were classified as having a disability.

Primary and secondary work activities: These activities were self-defined by the respondent in response to the following question: "On which two activities... did you work the most hours during a typical week on this job?" Numbers for work activities sum to more than 100% because of multiple responses.

Notes

[1]  Jaquelina C. Falkenheim (jfalkenh@nsf.gov; 703-292-7798) and Joan S. Burrelli (retired), Science and Engineering Indicators Program, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 965, Arlington, VA 22230.

[2]  In this report, "industry" includes private for-profit noneducational institutions, persons who are self-employed and incorporated, and other for-profit noneducational employers.

[3]  National Science Board (NSB). 2012. Science and Engineering Indicators 2010. NSB 12-01. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.

[4]  For data on demographic characteristics of the U.S. population, see National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics (NSF/SRS). 2011. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering. Special Report NSF 11-309. Arlington, VA. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.

[5]  A minority is a racial/ethnic group that is a small percentage of the U.S. population. Minority groups include blacks or African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, Asians, and persons who reported multiple races.

[6]  Totals sum to more than 100% because respondents could select both a primary and a secondary work activity.

[7]  National Science Board (NSB). 2010. Science and Engineering Indicators 2010. NSB 10-01. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.


National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics
Diversity in Science and Engineering Employment in Industry
Arlington, VA (NSF 12-311) [March 2012]


Back to previous page. Back to previous page


Print this page

Back to Top of page