Why invest in a STEM recruiting program?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is more than a means of classifying jobs, it’s a means of categorizing and quantifying the skill sets that drive innovation, growth, productivity, quality and safety in more 70%* of all jobs.  A recent Brookings Institute research study defines STEM jobs not only by what workers do, such as research, mathematical modeling, or programming, but also by what workers need to know to perform their jobs well.

The importance of recruiting individuals with strong STEM capabilities is gaining broader recognition in corporate circles large and small.  We’ve asked top employers why they are creating STEM recruiting marketing efforts and in some cases entire recruiting teams, and here are their Top 10 reasons for doing so:

1) Almost all employers have unfilled openings in STEM-specific occupations.

The key here is recognizing what STEM jobs are and how they are related.  If you don’t currently track your vacancies by STEM category, here’s a quick exercise:

a. Pull a list of the top ten positions that you will always hire for, that are most difficult to fill, and/or are so critical that you have to replace vacancies with agency staffing rather than leave them unfilled for long periods of time.

b. Now look at that list and even the job descriptions if necessary and identify which of those requires Scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical skills or knowledge to effectively perform the duties of that job function.

c.  Calculate the cost to fill those positions through recruitment, training, staffing and advertising activities.

d. Calculate what percentage of those recruitment, training, staffing and advertising activities currently use separate branding, separate ad budgets, separate team members, or require operational funds.

c. Start putting together a STEM recruitment strategy that will increase your total technical hiring effectiveness while reducing duplicative costs.

2) Workers continue to use STEM competencies more intensely in nearly every job and occupation.

In fact, research has shown that STEM job requirements in virtually every industry have increased by 60% since 1980 with an expectation of rapid acceleration to an even greater extent for the foreseeable future.

One recent study indicated that 97% of jobs now require at least basic STEM literacy to be successful.  This is not a trend that is in decline.

3) STEM-capable workers are diverting from STEM occupations at every level of the talent supply chain.

  • Our K-12 education system produces enough STEM-skilled talent to meet current employer requirements for traditional STEM jobs, but more than 75% of qualified STEM-capable students never pursue STEM education or STEM careers.
  • 38% of students who enter college with a STEM major do not graduate with one, and immediately after graduation, 43% of STEM graduates do not work in STEM occupations.
  • 81% of college graduates in STEM degree programs do not have a job lined up upon graduation.
  • 10 years after entering the workforce, 46% of workers with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline have left the field.

4) STEM-capable workers have the most sought-after soft skills in any applicant pool.

Exhaustive research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a growing number of prestigious universities and research centers have begun to reveal the true value represented by individuals with strong STEM skills.

CRITICAL THINKING – Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems

ACTIVE LEARNERS – Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making

COMPLEX PROBLEM SOLVING – Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.  STEM capable individuals excel in deductive, inductive and mathematical reasoning.

INNOVATION – The value and need for STEM to meet our economic needs as a nation have been documented since the founding of the National Science Foundation in 1945 by President Roosevelt.  In fact, STEM capabilities are recognized as the primary contributing factor in the “democratization of invention” in the US economy.  As early as 1957, roughly half of all patents were filed by individuals without a college degree.  STEM capable individuals at every level of the organization give any employer the innovative potential to achieve groundbreaking success.

LEADERSHIP –  STEM talented individuals rise to the top: 43% of STEM capable workers that start in STEM careers and stay, transition to management within 10 years.


Only 23% of workers in STEM are women (compared with 48% in all occupations) – yet women represent the majority in STEM majors like Biology, Statistics, Decision Science and Mathematics.

5) STEM occupations are the most vulnerable to compliance audits

Since 74% of all traditional STEM workers are non-Hispanic White, and predominantly male, it is clear that the vast majority of those STEM talented students who divert away from great STEM careers are women and minorities.  It is also clear that those jobs are least likely to be in compliance from the perspective of EEOC of OFCCP.

1) COMPLIANCE PLANNING: Our media tools and resources are designed specifically to address diversity sourcing and recruitment strategy.  This begins with an expert team that has years of practical experience inside and outside the beltway.

2) TALENT PIPELINE: Technological innovation is increasing at an exponential rate, requiring employers to think long term in building and maintaining a viable pipeline of STEM candidates.

3) ACCEPTANCE RATES: Establishing your organization as a leader in STEM hiring and employment results in better job acceptance rates on offers to top STEM candidates.

4) WAR FOR TALENT: Labor experts forecast a massive labor shortage by 2016, and increasing competition for the same skilled talent, prudent HR managers will position their company to leverage renewable labor pools.  New graduates are the largest renewable labor pool in the U.S. and they are the singular focus of our media outreach.

5) CRITICAL HIRES: STEMJOBS Branding accelerates all other efforts to address your toughest and most critical positions to fill.

6) Top STEM talent are attracted to a very specific set of job characteristics that are often not possible to address without a coordinated campaign strategy

ACHIEVEMENT – Jobs that allow workers to use the best of their abilities, see the results of their efforts and feel a sense of accomplishment.

INDEPENDENCE – Jobs that allow workers to take initiative and make decisions

REALISTIC – Jobs that involve practical, hands-on activities along with problem solving and operational challenges with a solutions orientation.

INVESTIGATIVE – Jobs that involve working with ideas, critical thinking, research, and problem analysis.

RECOGNITION – Jobs that offer good possibilities for advancement, prestige or that have upward leadership mobility.

7) Job seekers don’t know all that you have to offer, especially jobs that you will always hire for.

Research shows that STEM talent diverts away from STEM opportunities in large part because of poor information.  Here are the top reasons that STEM talent diverts away from your STEM jobs.

1) JOB REQUIREMENTS: Most of THEM have never heard of YOU… or your jobs.

2) EARNING POTENTIAL: They don’t know that STEM means 25% – 50% more pay.

3) ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY They think STEM is a job that their grandfather did, and that it no longer exists.

4) STEM IN NON-STEM: They have no idea that EVEN MEDIA DESIGNERS use math and technology every once in awhile.

5) LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Because “technician” sounds a lot like “total failure” not “tremendous future”

6) VALUE: Because THEY need to know that YOU value STEM skills.

7) Because they don’t realize just HOW COOL STEM is.

7) By duplicating recruiting efforts and investment for multiple technical positions, you are wasting money.

Since STEM positions are the toughest to fill and take the longest to fill of all job categories, operations leaders are undoubtedly breathing down your neck to get their jobs listed and filled.  Every company we have talked with faces this exact problem.  And generally it means creating campaigns


STEM Jobs provides solutions that arise from a wealth of experience in job transition, employment branding, and workforce development experience.  Victory Media produces segment-leading media such as GI Jobs Magazine and MilitarySpouse.com.  Our top-notch design and multi-media exposure translates into a highly read and widely disseminated offering.  This in turn means that your ad will be well received with positive brand-building and quality response.

ABOUT US:  Our co-founders are acknowledged business leaders with nationally recognized expertise from years of experience representing federal service at the US Department of Labor and the United States Military, to leadership in corporate recruitment and post-secondary education.  Our passion for addressing the STEM skills gap by bringing students, employers and educators together is evidenced on every page of our magazine and in every portion of our patent-pending online tools that are continually rolling out and advancing the state of the art in talent management.  Thought leadership, however, takes continuous, vigorous, and active engagement, which is why our STEM Advisory Council is such a vital part of our engagement with employers, students, educators and guidance counselors across the nation.