It’s no surprise that access to a skilled workforce is still one of the most critical — if not the No. 1 —challenge that companies face when looking to expand, consolidate or relocate their operations. Not only is this true for professional services companies that struggle to recruit and retain workers with in-demand computer and technical skills, but it’s also a challenge for manufacturers to identify a steady stream of engineering talent. As a result, it’s more important than ever to identify the best sources of talented STEM workers across the nation.
As a result, Site Selection Group, a global site selection and economic incentives firm specializing in labor analytics, used recent data from the Department of Education to compare the concentration of graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by state. STEM degrees for this analysis included mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, biological sciences, engineering and engineering technologies, science technologies, computer and information sciences, agricultural sciences, and natural resources and conservation.
The interactive maps below show how each state ranks in terms of the number of STEM graduates, and you can hover or select a state for more detail. Similar to the previous year’s data, California is the No. 1 producer of STEM graduates with more than 70,000 students graduating last year. Texas, Pennsylvania and New York also rank high in total number of graduates.
For companies looking to hire STEM graduates, the total number of graduates is one indicator, but it is also conflated with population as larger states tend to produce more graduates. To mitigate this bias, it is also helpful to compare the total count of graduates with the overall size of the university system to gauge the true concentration of STEM graduates. When analyzing STEM graduates as a percentage of states’ overall graduates, sparsely populated states such as Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota rise to the top. At the same time, a handful of more densely populated states such as Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma also rank well under this metric.
In any location search, understanding the broad educational environment in a state is an important preliminary consideration. Analyzing the specific schools and programs offered within a target market and tailored industry partnerships for new and expanding companies are also necessary considerations.