Friday, May 24, 2024

The top 10 most common jobs for Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers

Revelo used data from the NCSES to identify the most common occupations for Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers.

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Woman working behind microscope in lab.

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Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have grown by almost 80% in the past three decades. Part of the increased need for STEM professionals can be attributed to the U.S. government's efforts to bolster American competitiveness in strategically essential technologies such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

Revelo used data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics to identify the most common occupations for Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers. The report considered scientists and engineers to be U.S. residents younger than 76 with a bachelor's degree or higher degree in science and engineering, or those working in science- or engineering-related jobs. The NCSES analysis is based on the 2021 National Survey of College Graduates.

Although the STEM fields play a vital role in U.S. advancement, Hispanic Americans continue to be underrepresented in the sector. Only 8% of all STEM workers are Hispanic as of 2021, according to the Pew Research Center.

In 2021, unemployment rates for Hispanic and Black American STEM workers were more than double that of their white and Asian American counterparts, a 2023 diversity in STEM report by the National Science Foundation noted.

Though underrepresented, Hispanic and Latino Americans have made major contributions to science and technology. Among the most notable scientists include physicist Luis Alvarez, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968, and Albert Báez, a co-developer of the X-ray reflection microscope.

According to NSF data, around 3 million Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers are employed in the U.S. About 225,000 of them work as teachers, with 63,000 employed as postsecondary instructors.

'Potentially unwelcoming' experiences in STEM

Hispanic and Latino engineers are underemployed in fields for which they are educated and qualified; around 48% work in nonscience and engineering occupations, as opposed to 42% of all scientists and engineers. Management and health-related occupations are among the top jobs for Hispanic and Latino engineers and scientists.

A 2022 Pew Research Center report found that most Hispanic and Latino Americans consider professions in science as "potentially unwelcoming" to Latino people. The report also found that 34% of Hispanic college graduates employed in STEM professions recalled negative experiences during their STEM education, compared to just 22% of white respondents.

Most surveyed Hispanic and Latino adults said watching Hispanic scientists become high achievers in STEM will encourage more people from their community to participate in the field.

Increasing Hispanic representation in STEM fields will not just help alleviate social justice issues but also contribute to innovation. A 2018 Harvard University study found that companies with above-average diversity tended to generate more innovation-related revenue and earning margins than their below-average counterparts.

The U.S. government has undertaken several initiatives to increase Hispanic and Latino visibility in STEM fields. In September 2023, the Biden administration announced it would award over $40 million in grants to support the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program, which supplies funds to bolster programs in science and engineering for minority institutions.

The NSF's Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science program is another federal government initiative that aims to increase underrepresented groups' participation in science and engineering through grants and partnerships with institutions.

#10. Science and engineering manager, including health

Team of engineers working at table.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 91,000 (3.1% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 1.1 million (3.8%)
- About this profession: These managers oversee teams of engineers or scientists while leading technical activities and research and making data-based decisions. Engineering managers are vital in virtually all related sectors, including mechanical, civil, environmental, and biomedical fields. In the sciences, managers are sought to coordinate and direct research of teams studying everything from climate change to cancer.

#9. Science and engineering technician/technologist

Engineer working at computer.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 103,000 (3.5% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 1.1 million (3.6%)
- About this profession: Science and engineering technicians resolve technical problems by setting up and maintaining equipment, conducting experiments, gathering data, and tracking results. An electrical engineering technician, for example, might assemble and wire control panels or maintain other equipment. These workers also regularly undertake projects related to research and development.

#8. Nonscience and engineering precollege teacher

Teacher instructing students in a classroom.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 111,000 (3.8% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 862,000 (2.8%)
- About this profession: This category includes K-12 teachers who don't specifically teach science or engineering; a fifth-grade teacher or high school history teacher would fall into this category.

#7. Sales and marketing

Professionals developing a marketing plan.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 132,000 (4.5% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 1.3 million (4.3%)
- About this profession: Scientists and engineers in sales and marketing roles can include doing everything from selling software or lab equipment to graphic design and product marketing. With more technical knowledge, marketers and salespeople from STEM backgrounds can more often speak to the technical side of what clients may need.

#6. Social service and related occupations

Healthcare worker showing badge at the front door.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 161,000 (5.5% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 1.1 million (3.6%)
- About this profession: Social services are an even more common non-STEM career path for Hispanic and Latino scientists. These roles include things like social workers and parole officers. Those who feel called to community work may be especially inclined to move into these roles. 

 

#5. Nonscience and engineering manager

Industrial engineer wearing safety helmet in factory.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 185,000 (6.3% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 2.2 million (7.3%)
- About this profession: This broad category includes managers and leaders across specialties, from marketing managers to nonprofit executives. It only excludes managers in STEM fields.

#4. Computer and information scientist

Computer scientist works at monitor in development laboratory.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 303,000 (10.3% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 3.6 million (12.0%)
- About this profession: Computer and information scientists include programmers, software developers, and database engineers: any role for those with degrees in computer science, information science, or data science. These are the workers building the computer technology of the future.

#3. Management-related occupations

Team working in modern office.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 341,000 (11.5% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 3.1 million (10.2%)
- About this profession: These roles refer to non-STEM roles for those who previously studied or worked in science and engineering. "Management-related occupations" refer widely to any job in which a worker is overseeing employees, as is the case with chief executives, educational administrators, or managers in transportation, storage, finance, or construction.

 

#2. Other nonscience and engineering occupations

Engineers discuss blueprints.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 440,000 (14.9% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 3.8 million (12.5%)
- About this profession: This is another broad category including all non-science and engineering occupations except for managers, arts and humanities professionals, teachers, sales and marketing workers, and social services employees. The vast range includes roles such as clerks to cashiers and laborers to administrators.

 

#1. Health-related occupations

Cropped view of medical professional holding tablet.

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- Number of Hispanic and Latino scientists and engineers in this occupation: 575,000 (19.5% of all Hispanic and Latino scientists)
- Total U.S. scientists and engineers in this occupation: 6.1 million (20.3%)
- About this profession: Health-related occupations include doctors, nurses, public health officers, and others who devote their careers to addressing human health. These are some of the most public-facing STEM careers, and representation here can make all the difference for Hispanic and Latino Americans seeking medical help.

Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Story editing by Shannon Luders-Manuel. Copy editing by Paris Close.

This story originally appeared on Revelo and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.