Workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields who live in the Houston metropolitan area stand to make more money than workers in other U.S. metropolitan areas, according to an analysis by personal finance website WalletHub.
WalletHub’s in-depth analysis of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas found that the Houston metropolitan area (which includes Houston, The Woodlands and Sugar Land) ranked first in highest annual median wage. Additionally, the Houston metro area ranked 11th in STEM employment growth, 20th in the projected number of STEM jobs needed in 2020 and 28th in job openings for STEM graduates.
While the Houston metro area looks promising for STEM graduates, there is still the ever-present challenge of attracting more women and minorities to STEM fields. Educators have made efforts to not only attract, but retain these demographics through various methods including educating high school counselors, beginning outreach to students in elementary school and collaborating with the industry to create curriculum for STEM students.
“I think it starts with education,” Jeff Sackaroff, associate director of career services at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, noted in the analysis. “I think we also need to see more employers really commit to their diversity hiring initiatives. Almost every employer I speak with indicates that they want to increase their diversity hiring; however, the follow up is not always there. I think in order to attract diverse candidates, your organization needs to reflect this commitment from the top down. We need more females and underrepresented employees in positions of influence at our corporations. Today’s students … want to know that their employer values diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation beyond just their mission statements.”
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