3-minute read

Includes FIVE of the best ways to source STEM talent.

You’re not alone—It’s not easy to find STEM talent

Roles in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—or ‘STEM’ for short—are unquestionably the most challenging roles for organizations to fill. There’s been a talent gap in STEM subjects for decades.

A 2019 report into the STEM talent shortfall found that between the years 2000 and 2010, STEM-based jobs grew at three times the rate of non-STEM jobs. At the end of 2018, nearly 2.4 million STEM jobs went unfilled.

Many in commerce put the blame firmly at the feet of social academics, arguing that a broadening in the variety of subjects being taught ‘to create well-rounded young people’ has come at the price of fewer youngsters reaching work age with strengths in STEM subjects.

According to the National Math and Science Initiative, only 36 percent of all American high school graduates are ready to take a collegiate science course.

It’s not just a US-specific issue. According to some estimates, the shortage of STEM skills is costing UK businesses £1.5 billion a year in recruitment, temporary staffing, inflated salaries and additional training costs.

 If your organization relies on STEM talent, what’s the best way of sourcing it? In this article, we look at some of the more creative options now available to employers.

Five Ways to source STEM talent

#1 Meet STEM candidates inside University

Attracting University graduates to your job opportunities before they complete their course is becoming one of the new ways to source STEM talent. There is a growing industry framing up around this activity, with agencies helping employers to put together videos and promotional campaigns to boost visibility of their businesses and their brand appeal.

Some companies are getting more creative than simply using advertising and promotion, sponsoring university societies and sports clubs, participating in best lectures, sponsoring university peers to sell the idea of working for your business, and even working with academic contacts to ‘encourage’ the best talent in your direction.

#2 Invest in internship programs

Generally, University graduates are hungry to get work experience on their CV and will consider internships programs a way to achieve that while blending work experience with learning. There are several agencies (some commercially sponsored, others social businesses and charities) that work to encourage and coordinate internships.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to sign-up to a funded internship, where a large corporate has sponsored a program to pay the costs of the intern. Some of these internship programs offer employers the option to take an intern for a 6 or 10 week period that can be stretched across a semester (to provide part-time work experience), or in one block—as a short full-time contract.

Governments too are now sponsoring internships, given that so many University leavers have shifted in quick time from University to permanent jobless totals. In the UK, HM Government has launched a 6-month free employment contract offer to employers that source individuals presently registered as unemployed.

#3 Train young people with promise in STEM

People aren’t born with STEM subjects etched into their brains. Young people who chose not to do STEM subjects at college or University might still have the passion and acumen to learn STEM subjects later in life. Some companies, like USTECH SOLUTIONS and MICROSOFT, are funding education programs to train worthy candidates in STEM subjects, thereby making them a better fit for the employment market. In 2020, Microsoft committed $75 million over three years to its YouthSpark initiative, which is focused on expanding access to computer science education for youth from underrepresented backgrounds.

#4 Expand your recruiting horizon and look further afield

Some companies miss out on capable STEM talent because they put too many barriers in the way by restricting access to their roles. As the world has become better connected, and virtual, there’s no reason why many roles can’t be fulfilled by workers living overseas. Sometimes, it takes a mindset shift in recruiting policy (and perhaps a global partner arrangement with a talent company like USTECH SOLUTIONS that offices in most territories and global reach) to source the STEM talent you need.

#5 Bite the bullet and pay more for STEM talent

If none of the above ticks your STEM talent sourcing check box, then this one might be your only option. Like any marketplace, there is a price to pay for the best STEM talent. Increase your rates to above the market price, and your sure to find a willing audience of talented individuals applying for your roles!