To remain competitive in today’s global economy, businesses and societies rely on contributions from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. This report provides an overview of the STEM labor force and details its size, growth, educational pathways, salary, and diversity. As in the previous Science and Engineering Indicators report “The STEM Labor Force of Today: Scientists, Engineers, and Skilled Technical Workers,” this thematic report uses an expanded definition of STEM, which includes science and engineering (S&E) occupations, S&E-related occupations, and STEM middle-skill occupations, with the latter defined as occupations that require a high level of knowledge in a technical domain and do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry. There is not a standardized way to define the STEM workforce, and other agencies may identify different occupations for their products on the STEM workforce depending on their analytical goals. Readers should use caution when comparing STEM estimates from this thematic report with those from other sources. This thematic report frequently separates people associated with STEM occupations into those with a bachelor’s degree or higher and those without one of those degrees. As with previous labor reports, this thematic report focuses on the non-institutionalized population ages 16–75 years but limits analysis to the civilian population due to limited data on the occupations of active-duty military personnel in some of the data sets used. Those enrolled in primary or secondary school are not included. This thematic report’s focus is on occupations that people hold or have held. The majority of this report is about the employed population. In the few sections that discuss those who are not employed, only those records with an associated occupation are included. The data used for this thematic report were primarily from the American Community Survey (ACS), the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG), and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR).

In the 2021 ACS, among the civilian non-institutionalized population ages 16–75 years, 77.1% of the population were retained for analysis in the employment rates section of the report. About 10,778,018 people were currently enrolled in primary or secondary school (4.4%), and another 42,853,443 were missing occupation data (18.3% of total), had no work experience or had not worked in the last 5 years (0.4%), or previously held military occupations (0.3%).