As this TARGETjobs article describes, there’s an increasingly worrying disconnect between the job market and STEM graduates.
Recruiters and employers are underselling technical roles, undervaluing them both in terms of the presentation of such roles’ status and in terms of remuneration – even as STEM skills become more and more integral to the world we live in.
The way I see it, there are three major issues at play here.
STEM and pay
This BBC article describes the shortage of STEM teachers in Scotland. With STEM skills highly prized and often quite niche, salaries tend to be on the higher side – except, of course, in the teaching profession. How can this be combatted? We cannot, of course, raise salaries for STEM teachers and not for teachers of other subjects. The teaching profession has its work cut out to become an attractive proposition to STEM-qualified individuals.
STEM and status
Then there’s the question of how STEM-relevant jobs are marketed and packaged. We need to tap into the enthusiasm that we know people feel for these subjects, and express how these roles let that enthusiasm blossom. We need to make STEM-related roles look vocational, aspirational and desirable. STEM makes the world go round!
STEM and academia
The TARGETjobs article makes another observation that I think might be pertinent, noting that recruiters will often filter out candidates with a 2:2 degree. To me, this shows a lack of imagination on the part of the recruiter. The world is changing so quickly that relative ‘failure’ in examinations – systems that have been rigged up in what amounts to practically a different technological age – does not mean the candidate is unfit for roles in the modern STEM workplace. Of course, recruiters and HR teams need some way of narrowing things down, but it should really be by tests of their own design, rather than relying exclusively on formal academic results.
As a leader, are you encountering any issues around STEM? I’d love to hear how you’re getting on with it – do drop me an email.