The skills and experience of STEM-qualified (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) workers are now being utilized across a broader range of industries, and this is increasing the already tight labor market conditions for these critical skill sets.
Today, STEM innovation doesn’t exclusively take the form of advances in basic science. The reach of product innovation is expanding, extending far beyond traditional R&D into fields that connect cultures, communities and individuals in new ways. Today, there are more routes into STEM-related fields, more ways to apply technology to different aspects of life, and greater market demand for these new applications. Specifically, the demand for greater efficiencies, new products, and global business growth is increasing the need for the type of knowledge, skills and abilities commonly associated with STEM workers.
From 2000 to 2010, STEM jobs grew at three times the rate of other fields. And, the demand for STEM professionals is only projected to increase—growing 16.8% from 2010 to 2020. Demand will be greatest for computer-related occupations, with numbers in this category expected to jump 21.8% from 2010 to 2020.
There are six fundamental factors that are fueling the demand for STEM workers:
1. Technology explosion: use of the internet, proliferation of web applications, social communities and mobile apps are increasing the demand for more sophisticated technology.
2. An aging and growing worldwide population: demand for new products and medical and scientific advancements will grow rapidly in response to aging population trends.
3. Renewed focus on innovation: cost pressures coming out of the global recession will force companies to improve and update product designs and optimize existing manufacturing processes.
4. Conservation and green energy: environmental pressures, international legislation, and the higher costs of fossil fuels are creating new market opportunities.
5. Heightened security measures: the need for security and security systems technology is on the rise in both the public and private sectors.
6. Adoption of nanotechnology: the U.S. National Science Foundation estimates that nanotechnology industries worldwide will require 2 million workers by 2015.
This 6 factors are extracted from How to Find (and Keep) STEM Talent, a new ebook on the growing demand of the STEM workforce in the U.S. You can download a free copy here.