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Strategies to Overcome STEM Careers Shortages

If you’re struggling to find talent to fill positions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) roles, you’re not alone. Burning Glass, a labor market analytics firm, recently reported that there are approximately 40,000 computer science bachelor’s degree earners each year to fill roughly 4 million job vacancies for computer workers. And, according to a recent study from the Brookings Institute, hard-to-fill vacancies in STEM occupations like engineering and IT, take more than twice the time to fill than other fields because of a lack of qualified candidates.

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If your company is experiencing difficulty filling STEM positions, here are a few great strategies to increase your talent pipeline:

  • Reskill/Upskill Your Current Employees – Take a good, hard look at your current staff to identify potential candidates who have some of the requisite skills to fill your open positions, and consider how you might be able to train them on the other skills they would need to succeed. Develop a training program to specifically address the skills you need your employees to learn, whether it’s new software, manufacturing processes or soft skills. It’s critical that leadership and management teams are on board with this training. In fact, engaging your leadership to facilitate aspects of training will provide them with the valuable opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise throughout the organization.
  • Hire “Almost-There” Candidates and Train Them – Adjust your sights to consider candidates who may be lacking slightly on your expectations of skills and experience for the job and plan to “grow your own” talent to fit the position. Investing in training programs that develop employees with the skills they need to succeed, and toward long-term career goals, have been shown to increase job satisfaction, encourage employees to stay with your organization longer and boost productivity.
  • Partner With Higher Education Institutions – Consider developing meaningful relationships and collaborations with colleges, universities and trade schools that are leaders in training for the skills and careers you need. Whether it’s setting up programs to mentoring select students throughout their studies and hire them afterward, or investing to support faculty and infrastructure to help ensure graduates are job-ready, partnering with higher education offers the opportunity to build strategic partnerships to help build your business.
  • Enhance Your Employer Brand to Make Your STEM Jobs More Attractive – In recent blog posts we’ve talked about the importance of employer branding and using social media to drive your efforts. In addition, effectively presenting your organization as a great place to work for those in STEM careers across every recruiting channel is essential for attracting top talent.
  • Encourage Young People to Purse STEM – Creating connections with young people and showing them how exciting STEM careers can be is one of the most important strategies your company can pursue to build your long-term talent pipeline. Reach out to local schools to work with students and speak about STEM jobs or assist with after-school STEM-related activities. These efforts create a vested interest between students, teachers and industry.

As the competition to fill STEM careers continues, make sure your company is strongly positioned to succeed by deploying strategies to keep your talent pipeline flowing for years to come.