The Changing Tide in the Workforce

Only 6 percent of associate degrees and 13 percent of bachelor’s degrees granted to females were in a STEM field


Where are the rest of the females and their interest in STEM careers? Assuming another 37-44% of female students are pursuing higher education, what careers are they pursuing? What choices are our kids making that are going to have a major impact on their future and the future talent pool from which corporations will hire?

A readily observable trend is the decline in pursuit of professions like attorneys and other occupations affected by Moore’s law[ii] and its ability to automate work.  Recently, the Whittier Law School closed due to consistently declining enrollment[iii].  Rising seniors in fields other than Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are realizing that they are not going to recoup their education investment for numerous years after their graduation, if ever, and are even more concerned about the prospects of gainful employment in their chosen field.

My daughter is choosing her curriculum for high school and a STEM program is available to her.  When she states she wants to be a glass blower, how do I tell her that the 3D printer or the sure-to-come Star Trek “Replicator” of the future will obviate the need for glass blowers?  The future of employment will be bifurcated by people with STEM education, and those with mandatory work hours on holidays – service-oriented occupations.


Is it techno-centric to think that everything that contributes to the economy will be driven by technology? Maybe, but later this year Elan Musk and Tesla are planning to release an autonomous 18-wheel tractor–trailer cab, a tipping point which could be as calamitous as the introduction of the Ford Model T was for horse and buggies. What implications does this have for people interested in pursuing a career as a truck driver?  Positions we thought to be untouchable by technological advances are all being influenced.  Picker and packers versus robotics, teachers versus virtual programs.

IT offshore outsourcing, particularly to India-based firms, once thought of as a growing industry is now starting to see compression[iv] as the next way of IT optimization and automation – also known as DevOps – takes hold. What will be the fate of the millions of educated, skilled technology workers supporting offshore outsourcing if this trend accelerates over the next decade?

Weigh in with your opinion in the comments below.