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Fewer computer & IT grads than 10 years ago

August 9, 2013

college-grads-studentsU.S. Is Producing Fewer College Graduates With Computer and Information Technology Degrees Than Ten Years Ago
— Study Also Reveals Which Major College Degrees Are Growing the Fastest
By Career Builders,

The demand for graduates with computer and information technology skills continues to rise, but U.S. colleges and universities are producing fewer of these graduates than they did a decade ago.

New research from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists (EMSI) shows that the number of computer and IT jobs grew 13 percent nationally from 2003 to 2012.1 However, the number of computer and IT degrees completed in the U.S. declined 11 percent during that same period.2 The drop in tech-related completions was especially stark in some of the largest metropolitan areas.

The study uses EMSI’s labor market and education database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers. Higher education completion data includes associate’s degrees and above and comes from the National Center for Education Statistics.

“The slowdown in IT degrees over the last decade may have been influenced, in part, by the dot-com bubble collapse and by more recent trends of tech workers being trained by employers or trained through informal programs outside of a traditional academic setting,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “The deficit in IT degree completions is concerning when you consider that there is already a considerable gap between the demand for and supply of IT labor in the U.S. today. Degrees in health professions, engineering, business, liberal arts and education are growing rapidly and we need IT degrees to keep pace.”

Health degrees climbed 112 percent from 2003 to 2012 (most in nursing and allied health fields). Liberal arts and humanities degrees increased 47 percent, followed by engineering (37 percent), business, management and marketing (33 percent) and education (18 percent).

Computer and IT

· 13,576 fewer degrees in 2012 than 2003, an 11 percent decrease

· Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 13.1 percent from 2003-2012, an addition of 311,068 jobs.

· Of the 15 metros with the most computer and IT degrees in 2012, 10 saw decreases from their 2003 totals.

· The biggest decreases in computer and IT graduates among the largest metros included New York City (a 52 percent drop), San Francisco (55 percent), Atlanta (33 percent), Miami (32 percent), and Los Angeles (31 percent).

· Notable metros to increase their computer and IT higher education output were Washington, D.C. (a 31 percent rise), Minneapolis-St. Paul (14 percent), and Salt Lake City (117 percent).

Health Professions

· 288,194 more degrees in 2012 than 2003, a 112 percent increase

· Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 18.6 percent from 2003-2012, an addition of 1,122,618 jobs.

· Many metros have seen their output of health degrees at least double. This includes Los Angeles (109 percent growth), Miami (159 percent), and Minneapolis (193 percent).

· The number of registered nursing degrees has gone from 88,482 in 2003 to 193,528 in 2012, a 119 percent increase. Registered nursing is the third-largest degree-awarding program in the U.S., behind business administration and liberal arts and humanities.


· 37,138 more degrees in 2012 than 2003, a 37 percent increase

· Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 5.7 percent from 2003-2012, an addition of 168,745 jobs.

· Biggest degree increases are in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering.

· In San Jose, Ann Arbor, Raleigh and Tulsa, at least 15 percent all associate’s-and-above degrees awarded are in engineering. Raleigh has the highest concentration at 17 percent.


· 52,391 more degrees in 2012 than 2003, an 18 percent increase

· Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 6.3 percent from 2003-2012, an addition of 453,571 jobs.

· Education degrees make up 8.8 percent of all associate’s-and-above completions, down from 10.6 percent in 2003.

· El Paso has seen a 346 percent increase in education degrees, while Denver (170 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul (125 percent), Austin (114 percent), and Dallas (106 percent) have also seen major gains.

Business, Management and Marketing

· 176,972 more degrees in 2012 than 2003, a 33 percent increase

· Related jobs in the U.S. have increased 1.2 percent from 2003-2012, an addition of 218,173 jobs.

· Nearly 1 in 5 degrees awarded in the U.S. (18.1 percent) are in business, management and marketing, the highest share of any major field of study.

· For many large metros, business degrees make up a sizable percentage of total higher education output (25 percent of all degrees in Chicago and Milwaukee, 24 percent in Washington, D.C., and 23 percent in Atlanta).

Liberal Arts and Humanities

· 124,681 more degrees in 2012 than 2003, a 47 percent increase

· This is the third fastest-growing degree category in the U.S. by total degrees added, behind health professions and business, management, and marketing.

· Liberal arts and humanities degrees make up 10 percent of all associate’s-and-above completions, roughly the same share as in 2003.

Metros that have seen the most significant jumps in liberal arts and humanities degrees since 2003 include El Paso (413 percent increase), Madison (237 percent), Des Moines (246 percent), Houston (148 percent increase), Dallas (134 percent), and Portland (89 percent).
Notable decreases in liberal arts and humanities degrees have occurred in Tulsa (51 percent decline), San Jose (38 percent), San Diego (30 percent), San Francisco (23 percent), and Ann Arbor (20 percent).

[1] EMSI data is collected from more than 90 federal and state sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and state labor departments. EMSI removes suppressions often found in publicly available data and includes proprietors, creating a complete picture of the workforce.

2 EMSI and CareerBuilder’s analysis focused on associate’s degrees and above awarded by U.S. institutions, as tracked by the National Center for Education Statistics. The full list of education levels that were included is as follows: associate’s, award of at least two but less than four academic years, bachelor’s, post-baccalaureate certificate, master’s, post-masters certificate, and doctoral.

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