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Statistics on Scientific and Technical characteristics system. This system was instituted in Personnel

1972 and became fully operable in 1974. It has three

components, each designed to measure the This review examines data collection activities of characteristics of a particular segment of the scientific the Federal Government in the area of scientific and and technical labor market. The first component is technical personnel, and is divided into two major concerned with the characteristics of doctoral sections. The first is concerned with a description of scientists and engineers, and is obtained by a sample responsible agencies and core programs. The second survey selected from the doctorate roster maintained is concerned with gaps and limitations in Federal

for NSF by the National Academy of Sciences. statistics for scientific and technical personnel. (The Doctoral data are published periodically in reader should also see the comprehensive treatment Highlights and Reports of Doctoral Scientists and of manpower statistics in the Framework chapter on Engineers. The second component is the National labor statistics.

Sample of Scientists and Engineers, maintained by

the Census Bureau for NSF. This allows for surveys Responsible Agencies and Core Programs

every two years of a sample of scientists and

engineers identified as members of the science and Statistics on scientific and technical personnel may

engineering populations in the 1970 decennial census. be classified according to their primary concern with

Information collected in these surveys is published in utilization, supply, or characteristics. Utilization

Highlights and Reports of the National Sample. The statistics include such items as number employed, in

third component is a survey of new entrants, designed total and by occupation, employer, location,

to obtain data on the characteristics of recent industry, and the relationship or utilization of

graduates entering the labor force since 1970. This scientific and technical personnel vis-a-vis other

survey is conducted for NSF by private contractors. workers in specific industries and economic sectors.

Analyses and tabulations of these data are published Statistics on the supply of scientific and technical

in Highlights of New Entrants to the Science and personnel are concerned with the number of persons

Engineering Labor Force. trained in science or engineering, the number of

The manpower characteristics system develops degrees awarded annually in science and engineering,

information every two years for scientific and migration, and the mobility of scientific and technical

technical personnel on sex, race, age, highest degree, personnel into and out of the total personnel pool

employment status, field of science or engineering, and between specific fields. Supply statistics also

primary work activity, type of employer, geographic cover such variables as attrition rates from the labor

location, and other characteristics. force, fungibility (substitution) of persons from one occupation or field to another in the science and NSF collects statistics on the utilization engineering labor force, and motivational factors (employment) of scientific and technical personnel in leading to careers in science and engineering.

a number of sectors, including universities and col

leges, nonprofit organizations, government, and Statistics pertaining to the characteristics of

private industry. Data for the university and college scientific and technical personnel include demo

sector include utilization information by field of graphic and economic elements such as age,

science, employment status, sex, type of institution, education, race, sex, income, geographic location,

educational attainment, and major functionemployment status and work activity.

teaching, research, and so on. Data are also collected

on the number of and sources of support for scientists National Science Foundation

and engineers holding postdoctoral appointments. The NSF has primary responsibility within the

Estimates of the full-time equivalent number of Federal Government for the collection and analysis

scientists and engineers engaged in R&D in private of statistical information on scientific and technical

industry are collected for NSF by the Census Bureau

on an annual basis. These estimates are available for personnel. These activities are carried out by the Division of Science Resources Studies. The data and

major industries within the private sector, and analyses are published in three summary report

characteristics descriptive of employers, such as size series: Composite Report of the Manpower

of firms, employment, source of funds and total Characteristics System, National Patterns of R&D

R&D expenditures. R&D manpower information is Resources, and Science Indicators.

also collected. Information on the Federal

employment of scientific and technical personnel is The major NSF vehicle for developing information developed by NSF based on data from the Civil on the demographic and economic characteristics of Service Commission and is published in Reviews of scientific and technical personnel is the manpower Federal Scientific and Technical Personnel. In ad

dition, occasional surveys are conducted on The BLS, Department of Labor, maintains two employment in nonprofit institutions and in State data bases that include information on scientists and and local governments. Recently, NSF has provided engineers. The Current Population Survey (CPS) is support to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to conducted monthly for BLS by Census in aphelp expand BLS's occupational employment survey proximately 55,000 households throughout the program in order to obtain estimates of the

United States. This survey supplies numerous employment of scientific and technical personnel by statistics on employment, unemployment, and labor occupation and detailed industry within the private

force status, as well as extensive data on demosector.

graphic, occupational, and industry characteristics. Basic data on the number of students and

Although adequate for the purposes for which the graduates majoring in science and engineering, by

data are collected, the sample design and survey size field and degree level, are collected by the National

do not generally permit the publication and use of Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

data pertaining to scientific and technical personnel.

Monthly unemployment rates for engineers, Each year, NSF surveys collect information on the however, can be obtained from the CPS. Annual support of graduate students in scientific fields. These estimates of persons employed in selected science and surveys also produce graduate enrollment data as a engineering occupations are also available. byproduct. Data are collected on sources of support,

The CPS uses self-identification to classify persons and types of major support, by sex and citizenship status.

occupationally; this classification differs from the

NSF manpower characteristics system, which uses NSF supports and is the operating agency for the additional variables such as education to classify doctoral roster maintained for NSF, and for the persons into various scientific and engineering Office of Education, the National Institutes of occupations. Health, and the National Endowment for the

The BLS occupational employment survey is a Humanities by the Committee on Human Resources of the National Academy of Sciences. The doctoral

Federal-State program designed to provide roster is based on data collected in an annual survey

employment estimates for detailed occupations in of earned doctorates. Information is provided for the

detailed industries. For scientific and technical detailed field of science, and for sex, race, citizenship

occupations, data also are collected on the number status, and martial status. In addition to the basic

employed in R&D activities. BLS has received supdemographic characteristics, data are developed on

port from NSF since 1977 to help expand this system planned employment or postdoctoral study plans,

to all States and provide aggregate U.S. employment

estimates for scientific and technical occupations. and on the time lapse from bachelor degree to doctorate degree.

In addition to the CPS, the Census Bureau collects The data base on supply is augmented by

a wide range of data on the labor force status and the information on immigrant scientists and engineers

economic and demographic characteristics of persons developed by the Immigration and Naturalization

in scientific and technical occupations, as part of the Service. Based on NSF analyses, these data serve as

decennial census. Again, data are collected using a

"working as" or self-identification occupational inputs to the estimates of supply and utilization and

classification. are presented in Highlights of Immigration of Scientists and Engineers.

The NCES in the Department of Health,

Education, and Welfare collects data on earned Other Federal Agencies

degrees and on students enrolled in graduate pro

grams by specific field of science and technology, and Various other Federal agencies collect and analyze

by sex, race, and geographic location of schools. labor, demographic, education, and social statistics.

Information on enrollments and earned degrees Although some of these Federal data systems in

provides basic inputs to the NSF system for clude information on scientific and technical

estimating the supply of scientific and technical personnel, none are primarily designed to collect data

personnel. The higher education surveys also provide for this segment of the population. The scientific and

an educational context for assessing trends in enroltechnical personnel components of major Federal

Iments in specific fields, in comparison to other data systems are outlined below. These systems in

disciplines. clude the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census, the National Center for Education Statistics, the The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) National Center for Health Statistics, and the in the Public Health Service is the locus for health Department of Energy.

manpower statistics in the Federal Government.

Some persons in the health field are engaged in research; they are, therefore, also included in the national science and engineering statistics.

The Department of Energy collects data on the employment of scientific and technical personnel in the nuclear energy field. In addition, programs are underway to develop data bases on the numbers of personnel, including scientists and engineers, engaged in other areas of energy development and utilization.

Statistics on Scientific and Technical Personnel -
Limitations and Data Gaps

A number of criteria can be employed to assess the adequacy of Federal statistics on scientific and technical personnel. These criteria include timeliness, quality, comparability, and the relevancy of the data to the needs of policymakers and other users, both currently and in light of anticipated needs.

This review does not attempt to list all possible "gaps" and limitations in the data. The mere fact that certain data elements are not available does not constitute a gap or limitation. Gaps and limitations exist only to the extent that they affect the utility of current data to actual or potential users, or when the absence of information significantly limits policymakers in their decision processes.

Thus, any discussion of the adequacy of Federal data on scientific and technical personnel must revolve around the uses of the data. For example, data on national levels of employment and unemployment are collected and reported monthly because such data are considered to be important in monitoring our economic well-being and are used as key economic indicators. How frequently are monthly data needed on the employment and unemployment levels of scientific and technical personnel? Data on unemployment of scientific and technical personnel, with the exception of engineers, are available only once every two years. This would seem adequate for periods of relatively low unemployment. In the past, when technical manpower unemployment increased significantly, a special one-time survey of current unemployment was carried out by NSF. However, this seems insufficient and a system should be developed to measure technical unemployment more frequently during periods of high unemployment or rapid economic change.

Related to the above limitation is the current inability to determine the labor market experience of recent college graduates who major in scientific and technical subjects. Such data could serve as an early warning system, alerting planners and educators to

possible labor market problems for all scientists and engineers. The availability of these data could also be helpful in the development of career guidance programs and science education policy. NSF's surveys of new entrants attempt to meet these needs; results of these surveys are available every two years.

Serious data gaps also exist with respect to the utilization of women and minorities in science and engineering. Data on sex and race are developed as part of the NSF manpower characteristics system. Since data on the utilization of scientific and technical personnel are collected by sample surveys, extensive or detailed tabulation may raise questions as to the statistical reliability of specific data. This is a complex problem involving trade-offs between benefits and costs. Thus, a sample may be adequate for analysis of data on female scientists by field, but inadequate for an analysis by field and race. Data on employment of scientific and technical personnel by detailed industry collected by BLS are not available by demographic characteristics such as race and sex.

Users of NSF data have consistently requested utilization data analyzed by finer field or specialization classifications than is currently available. Although important to an understanding of the utilization and characteristics of scientists and engineers, such data also are needed to better understand the dynamics of the scientific and technical labor market. Lack of these data inhibits the analysis of supply by obscuring mobility patterns and supply response to changes in relative wages.

Data are also lacking on the possible underutilization of scientific and technical personnel, and on the related question of the employment of persons trained in science and engineering in "nontraditional" fields. However, measurements of underutilization are difficult since subjectivity is often a controlling factor. The extent of the utilization of scientific and technical personnel in nontraditional fields—especially at the Ph.D. levelhas far-reaching implications for science and science education policies.

Scientific and technical manpower data developed by NSF and others contain little if any information on the utilization of social scientists in the private sector. Recent NSF efforts in developing the manpower characteristics system represent a start in overcoming this shortcoming. Much work, however, remains to be done. Particular problems center around defining and measuring the utilization of social scientists in the private sector.

The number of degrees awarded in the social sciences has been increasing at a rapid rate, and the current inability to adequately measure the utiliza

tion

of persons trained in the social sciences understates the magnitude of the scientific and technical population. In addition, this gap prevents the identification of possible problem areas in the social science fields or areas of opportunity. This gap is especially serious since increasing emphasis is currently being placed on “people-oriented" R&D, the type of work frequently performed by social scientists.

The analysis of scientific and technical manpower is limited by lack of information on the utilization of technicians and technologists, especially in the private sector. NSF is taking steps to obtain the needed utilization data as part of its support BLS.

Data on the utilization of scientific and technical personnel in State and local governments and nonprofit organizations are collected on an infrequent basis. The last survey of the utilization of scientific and technical personnel in State governments was for 1972-73; for local governments, the latest data are for 1968-69; and in nonprofit organizations, the latest data are for 1973. This is particularly troublesome because of the rapid growth in State and local government employment years. Statistics available on so infrequent a basis limit the analysis of the utilization of scientific and technical personnel, and may mask significant trends in utilization. The lack of data also presents problems in identifying both problem areas as well as areas of opportunity.

Also lacking are measures of the quality of our scientific and technical personnel. The scientific and technical labor force is increasingly better educated in terms of length of education and training. However, it is not clear that there is a uniform relationship between years of education and quality of the work force. The issue of quality is complicated by problems associated with measuring the output of scientific and technical personnel and by the lack of suitable quantitative measures.

Data relating to the impact of technology on the utilization of scientific and technical personnel needs to be improved if current utilization patterns are to be understood and future utilization levels projected. Related to the above concern are data needs to measure the changing job content of various scientific and technical occupations.

data on retraining of scientists and engineers, and on the extent and nature of informal training received by these workers. Additional data are needed on the attrition of the scientific and technical work force. More needs to be known about death, retirement and other separations from the labor force to help develop sound supply-demand analyses and projections. The need for better attrition data is especially critical to an analysis of the need for scientists and engineers in universities and colleges.

The entire field of statistics on scientific and technical manpower is additionally complicated by the lack of a uniform taxonomy for scientific and technical manpower. Without a uniform taxonomy, statistics developed by one agency may not be of use to another, thereby reducing the effective utilization of available information. In 1966, NSF was directed by OMB to develop standard concepts and definitions for scientific and technical manpower. Although concepts and definitions have been developed by NSF, in consultation with other interested public and private parties, a uniform taxonomy is not in general use.

One of the most serious limitations in developing a fully operational system is the inability to translate a data base into a dynamic system suitable for input to policy decisions. Only limited progess has been made in measuring the effects of Federal programs on scientific and technical personnel. By imposing regulations and supporting R&D, science education, and alternative opportunities, federal agencies influence the career choice, training, and employment of scientists and engineers. NSF has funded some studies to assess the impact of energy and environmental programs on the employment of scientific and technical personnel, but a comprehensive system which would require manpower impact assessment by all Federal agencies has not been developed.

Financial Statistics on Science and

Technology Science and technology financial data collected and maintained on a nationally aggregated basis within the Federal Government are currently limited to research and development and, to a lesser extent, scientific and technical information activities. Studies of the financing of R&D activities are principally concerned with the flow of funds among the four economic sectors-Government, industry, universities and colleges, and other nonprofit institutions between the sources and performers and with selected characteristics of R&D activity. These data serve a wide range of needs and interests

Few data are available on the impact of productivity on the utilization of scientific and technical personnel, and the contribution of these personnel to changes in productivity.

The limited availability of certain data elements may be more serious. For example, there is a lack of

at various levels of Government, industry and academia by providing the basis for planning and policy formulation and for analytical studies in the area of science and technology resources.

Responsible Agencies and Core Programs

development), field of science, geographic distribution (by State and foreign country performer) and on funding of R&D plant. An historical review is provided for a 10-year period in each report. A separate section of the survey collects data on support for scientific and technical information covering a broad range of activities including publication and distribution; documentation, reference and information services; symposia and audiovisual communication; and R&D work in the information sciences.

National Science Foundation

The NSF is the principal agency within the Federal Government for statistical data and analyses on the financing of science and technology activities. Within NSF, these activities are carried out by the Division of Science Resources Studies through a series of recurring and ad hoc surveys and studies. Recurring survey reports provide information on the magnitude, distribution and characteristics of R&D financing over time. These reports take the form of early, brief summaries (e.g. Highlights, bulletins and press releases) and published final reports. Ad hoc studies focus on special current studies and appear in staff or contractor reports for either internal or general distribution. Quick response surveys are undertaken as needed to deal with current issues for which rapid turnaround is essential.

A different approach to describing Federal funding of R&D is provided in an annual study, An Analysis of Federal R&D Funding by Function. The study is prepared by NSF staff and first appeared in 1971. It provides a view of Federal R&D programs in terms of their primary purposes rather than by agency missions. The 14 functional categories and 40 subfunctions reflect national concerns as viewed from the Federal sector and provide a complete array of the relative support directed to various categories of effort. These data highlight significant program changes and shifts in priorities among functional areas.

Various aspects of Federal R&D activity are explored in detail by special ad hoc surveys which serve to supplement the larger periodic reports. The energy R&D activities of Federal laboratories, for example, were described in a special report, Reviews of Data on Science Resources, Energy and Energy Related R&D Activities of Federal Installations and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers: Funds FY 1973-75 (est.) and Manpower, January 1973-75 (est.). Data were provided on the nature of the Federal energy R&D activity, sources of support and performers.

The Data Collection Activity

Information is collected for each of the four major sectors of the economy-Government (including Federal, State and local), industry, universities and colleges, and other nonprofit institutions (such as independent research institutions and nonprofit philanthropic foundations)—with respect to source of funding and R&D performance. Each sector is surveyed to obtain information on the relative emphasis placed over time on various characteristics of R&D activities such as basic research, applied research and development, and research field. Other data elements selected for collection are more specialized and are unique to the particular sector being surveyed; these provide special insight into its science and technological activities.

State and Local Government

Data on State and local government R&D activities has been collected by the Census Bureau on behalf of NSF. Data were obtained on the character of work (basic research, applied research and development), functional area, source of funds, fields of science, and performer. The data provide only a limited historical overview.

The Federal Government

Industry Sector

The basic source of information on Federal support and performance of research and development activities is the annual survey conducted by NSF staff, Federal Funds for Research and Development and Other Scientific Activities. Data are collected from Federal agencies for a three-year period: the last completed year, the current year, and the budget year. Information is obtained on source of financing by agency and agency subdivision, on R&D performer (by sector) with respect to character of work (basic research, applied research and

Statistical accounts of the research and development activities of industrial firms are collected in an annual survey conducted for NSF by the Census Bureau. The data are published in an NSF report, Research and Development in Industry, which covers R&D expenditures with respect to sources of funds, field of science for basic research and geo

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