Critical Read

STEM students ponder public service

help wanted sign

What: An issue brief on college students’ opinions on going into the federal workforce, by the Partnership for Public Service and the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Why: In conjunction with the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the Partnership for Public Service surveyed more than 37,000 students from 646 colleges and universities, on issues ranging from expectations for their first job to whether they would consider a career in government. Employees under the age of 30 comprise only 8.5 percent of the federal workforce, but many college students list government as a viable career path. While just 2 percent of survey respondents planned on entering the federal workforce, one-quarter ranked government (federal, state and local) as one of their top three target industries.

Almost half of science, technology, engineering and math majors surveyed said they expect to earn more than $55,000 annually after college, highlighting the uphill battle the feds face in STEM recruitment. However, STEM majors were just as likely to be attracted to a federal job as non-STEM majors.

Verbatim: “Although STEM majors value starting salary more than non-STEM majors, salary is not at the top of their list when considering an employer. Many federal agencies generate interest among STEM students by emphasizing the opportunity to work on unique, cutting-edge or high-profile projects that may not be available in the private sector.”

About the Author

Reid Davenport is a former FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him on Twitter: @ReidDavenport.

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