The demand for students graduating in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is ever-increasing.
According to Australia’s Chief Scientist 2016 Report on the state of the Australian STEM workforce, Australia’s size of science-based sector (share of economy) is 14% as compared to Italy (7%)) Netherlands (10%) and the UK (9%) “This demonstrates how much society relies on technology for economic development and prosperity, therefore the vitality of the STEM workforce will continue to be a cause for concern,” says Gemma Lloyd, engagement director at Diverse City Careers.
“In ten years’ time, I believe most employers will solely search for prospective candidates who can think and analyse multi-dimensionally, rather than lineally or too methodically.”
STEM is fast becoming one of the most demanded skillsets within Australia and globally. But having studied science, technology, engineering and mathematics doesn’t mean students are limited to working directly in those fields.
Studying STEM can mean an exciting career which can lead to many areas and working at the head of innovation. Organisations such as Accenture, which offers career opportunities spanning digital, consulting, technology, operations and digital have a wide range of traditional and non-traditional career paths for STEM students.
“Almost every industry from retail, banking, fashion, healthcare, agriculture to manufacturing has digital technology at the forefront,” says Lloyd. “Whether you want to work in a large enterprise or a start-up, the opportunities with a STEM background are endless.
“In addition to this, STEM is key to solving social and environmental issues. For example, you could be working on developing applications to mitigate bullying or becoming a scientist to solve climate change. “
While there is a significant shortage of software developers and engineers in Australia, Lani Pauli, account director at marketing agency Deane & Co says a career in STEM is not just for developers.
“We’re now in a world where both data and customer experiences are the new oil fueling business growth. Software engineers, developers, analytical-driven marketers and user experience designers are in incredible demand right now, and there is limit supply of top talent in the marketplace,” she said.
“From large financial and consulting services to small fin-tech startups, large retailers to startup supply chain management software, from large media and content distributors to small independent and niche blogs, to your local hardware store, your success relies on understanding how to drive the right traffic to your business, then how to provide an incredible user journey, and then retain and increase the lifetime value of your customers.
“Today, we have far greater insight into our customers, an incredible amount of easy-to-access data thanks to tools like Google Analytics, and the challenge is pulling this into meaningful information which can provide change and results. At the same time, customer expectations are far greater. Customers expect more secure information at their fingertips, while security is always being increased at exponential rates to avoid cyber-attacks.”
Academic and founder of DICE Kids, Erin-Watson Lynn says that in an economy with higher levels of casualisation, and less full-time employed scientists and STEM graduates, it’s important to consider skills like adaptability, creativity and critical thinking. “Graduates will need to think about how to differentiate themselves in the job market beyond simply investing in skills training.”
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