Published Jan 30, 2020 by Melissa Fox
Demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals is high nationwide and is expected to increase 8.8% by 2028, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With the high demand for workers in these fields, many cities are courting young professionals with STEM backgrounds. The personal finance website, Wallet Hub, recently evaluated the 100 most populated metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the U.S. to determine which metros offered the best and worst opportunities for STEM professionals. They found that many of those metros areas come with specific benefits, including the Bayou City.
Wallet Hub found that Houston ranks first among regions with the highest median STEM wage when cost of living is factored in. Houston's annual median STEM salary of $99,000 is well above the national median annual salary for STEM workers of $84,880.
The site evaluated the regions across three key dimensions. The "professional opportunities" category factored in job opportunities for recent graduates, the unemployment rate, the annual median wage, and STEM employment growth. The second category, "STEM-friendliness," considered the importance of how institutions in the region support STEM education. Lastly, "quality of life" factored in the regions' affordability, recreation, family-friendliness and singles-friendliness.
Houston had an overall ranking of 53.01, with the region scoring the highest in the quality of life rank with a score of 52. Houston also received a score of 48 in the professional opportunities category.
Christine Cutucache, associate professor of biology at the University of Nebraska, explained to Wallet Hub why these quality of life factors are so crucial for cities when recruiting STEM professionals. "They aim to live in an interesting, fun, and welcoming community where they can exchange ideas with others and continue to innovate."