VC firm study: High-skilled STEM talent shortage in U.S. is real

Summary:According to a new study from a venerable VC firm, the U.S. still has serious shortage of high-skilled STEM employees.

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There is a highly contested debate in the technology industry as to whether or not the United States is actually experiencing a significant shortage of highly-skilled employees, from software developers to engineers.

A new study from the Silicon Valley venture capital group Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers suggests that is still the case.

Specifically, the 2013 Internet Trends report from the venerable firm argues that the U.S. does lack enough talent with "STEM" degrees, or backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The study goes further to say that immigrants to the United States are often the ones filling the gaps, making them "especially important to the vibrancy of tech companies."

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However, as immigration moves more into the spotlight of the U.S. political agenda this year, analysts at the firm appear to be worried that this talent pool is going to be shut out.

Researchers behind the report take issue with "government policy," which the authors argue "send qualified foreign high-skilled workers home."

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Furthermore, the report calls out opponents by citing the 2010 U.S. Census, highlighting that 99 percent of Americans are "immigrants or descendants of immigrants."

Additionally, high-skilled immigrant workers accounted for one percent of the total population as of three years ago. That translates to four million out of a total 310 million citizens nationwide.

The recent emergence of FWD.us , a technology-focused lobbying group with support from the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, lends credit to this side fo the debate. The group has issued some specific demands to make it easier for foreign workers with specialized skill sets to be hired in the United States.

Looking forward, researchers projected that by 2020, the average annual number of job openings requiring a bachelor's degree in computer science, for example, will grow to approximately 122,300.

Yet the forecast also predicts that there will only be roughly 51,474 graduates in the U.S. to meet those demands.

To see the complete 2013 Internet Trends report, flip through the slideshow below.

Topics: Tech Industry, Government : US, IT Employment, Software Development, Web development

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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