Search form

Research and Analysis

4.0 Workforce and Education

Section 4.0, Workforce and Education, provides data on the current state of the space workforce. It shows trends in both the commercial and the government workforce in the United States, and looks at changes in industry salaries. It provides discussion of workforce transitions occurring in the United States, particularly at NASA, including demographic changes. The space workforces of Japan and Europe are also analyzed in detail.

The education subsection looks at developments at the primary, secondary and university levels of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, comparing the United States to other major spacefaring nations.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the size of the U.S. space workforce declined for the fifth year in a row, dropping nearly 4 percent, from 252,315 in 2010 to 242,724 in 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available). The changes varied by sector, with some portions of the space industry growing while others contracted. The U.S. military space workforce in 2011 was 16,739; however, due to a change in law, military space workforce numbers are no longer regularly tracked and reported. The size of the civil servant workforce at NASA centers has been relatively stable over the past 10 years, although it is undergoing a demographic shift as many employees approach retirement. Nearly 60 percent of the NASA workforce is between 36 and 54 years old, with less than 15 percent under age 35. Both Europe and Japan saw increases in their space workforce. This year for the first time, The Space Report includes information on the workforce size of 20 space programs around the world.

Based on predictions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the numbers of aerospace engineers, astronomers and atmospheric scientists working in the United States are all expected to grow in the coming years. The Space Report 2013 includes data on interest in science careers among 15-year-olds in a variety of nations, and shows that the number of science and engineering degrees granted around the world continues to rise, with China increasing most rapidly.


Pre-Order The Space Report 2014

Live Sun Image

Share This Page

Share this page with friends and bookmark for future reference.

Facebook Share on Facebook Twitter Tweet This LinkedIn Share on LinkedIn

Additional networks and bookmarking websites:


Give Us Feedback

We want to hear from you! Feel free to send us your comments about this page. General feedback for the Space Foundation is also welcome.