Human resource professionals consistently rank the scientific, technical, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as the hardest positions to fill. Today’s supply of STEM workers is currently very tight, but the current situation is just the tip of the iceberg.
Economic, demographic, and educational trends all point to the shortage of STEM workers getting significantly worse over the next decade. As the U.S. economic recovery continues to gain momentum, the demand for STEM professionals will surge. This surge will happen at a time when the STEM workforce in the United States is aging and U.S. schools are not producing enough new STEM graduates to meet the growing demand.
Consider the following statistics:
• Since 1950, the number of scientific and engineering jobs in the United States has grown at an average annual rate of 5.9%, compared with 1.2% for the general workforce, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF)
• From 1993 to 2008, the median age of U.S. scientists and engineers increased from 37 years to 41 years and the portion of those workers older than 50 increased from 18% to 27%, according to the NSF
• The unemployment rate for workers with master’s degrees in the STEM fields is only 3.4%, compared with 7.3% for the overall U.S. workforce, according to the Information Technology Industry Council
• 68% of HR professionals surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said that the lack of STEM graduates would have a “major impact” on the workplace over the next five years
Being able to attract and retain STEM talent will be one of the biggest challenges for companies in 2014 and beyond. In this ultra-competitive environment, finding and developing highly skilled employees will increasingly be what separates the winners from the losers.
At the Messina Group, we are committed to helping our clients prepare for and navigate the trends affecting the STEM labor market. For the past 50 years, we have specialized in finding highly qualified STEM consultants, contractors, and permanent employees for our clients.