The low employment relevance of science degrees

Back in February, Chief Scientist Ian Chubb used a report (pdf) on science enrolments to promote the view that we are producing too few science graduates. I disputed that claim.

The recently released Beyond Graduation 2011 report (pdf), of graduates three years out, provides further reason to be very cautious about science boosterism.

One question in the survey asks employed graduates whether their qualification was a formal requirement, important, somewhat important or not important for their job. The figure below shows that after three years those with science degrees are only just saved by the creative arts from having the qualifications least likely to be a formal requirement or important for their holder’s job.

As the text points out, many graduates who rate their degree as not important are in managerial or professional jobs. So the lack of direct relevance may not be a problem from their point of view. But that so many science graduates find employment where a science degree is not required hardly suggests general shortages of science qualifications.