The supply has actually remained steady over the past 30 years, the researchers conclude from an analysis of six longitudinal surveys conducted by the U.S. government from 1972 to 2005. However, the highest-performing students in the pipeline are opting out of science and engineering in greater numbers than in the past, suggesting that the threat to American economic competitiveness comes not from inadequate science training in school and college but from a lack incentives that would make science and technology careers attractive.
The researchers—led by Lowell and Harold Salzman, a sociologist at the Urban Institute and Rutgers University, New Brunswick—argue that boosting the STEM pipeline may end up hurting the United States in the long-term.
This happens, they say, by depressing wages in S&T fields and turning potential science and technology innovators into management professionals and hedge fund managers.
The one criticism against this study was stated in the article:
Susan Traiman of the Business Roundtable criticizes the new study, saying that it gives an illusion of a robust supply because it bundles all STEM fields together. There may be an oversupply in the life sciences and social sciences, she argues, but there is no question that there are shortages in engineering and the physical sciences. The findings "are not going to make us go back and re-examine everything we've been been calling for," she says.
There are definitely indications that this is true. The exploding funding for the NIH has caused a huge surge in jobs related to that funding and therefore, gives the illusion that there is an increase in students pursuing STEM subject areas. That's why there may be an oversupply in the life sciences. I don't have any clue about the social sciences, and why this would even be considered as part of the STEM field.
As far as I'm concerned, my interest in physics education is more towards having student be literate in physics and how it is done, rather than trying to gear them towards specializing or majoring in physics. I don't care if they end up as physicist or not, but they shouldn't be ignorant of what physics is, and how we gather our knowledge.