Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is not only a means of classifying jobs, but also a way to categorize and quantify 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 by what workers do and what they need to know to perform their jobs.
The importance of recruiting individuals with strong STEM capabilities is three-fold: 1) 67% of all employers have unfilled openings in STEM-specific occupations; 2) workers are being required 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; and 3) STEM-capable workers are diverting from STEM occupations at every level of the talent supply chain. Here are some salient facts:
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.
10 years after entering the workforce, 46% of workers with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline have left the field.