There’s a lively discussion taking place online about the shortage of qualified professionals in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.
On one side, you have the argument that there will not be enough qualified educated workers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in the US, which could interfere with the ability for American companies to compete in the global marketplace.
Bayer’s 16th Facts of Science Education Survey, the source of the included infographics, is the most recent study supporting this assertion. The STEM shortage is also one of the reasons cited for the creation of the Federal STEM Master Teacher Corps program.
The opposing viewpoint presents several rebuttals by other sources such as the IEEE’s Spectrum Magazine, and the Economic Policy Institute that claim the STEM Shortage doesn’t exist, though both of these have been debated by various individuals or met with data-based arguments.
In the Bayer study, a convincing case is made by the inclusion of recruiters for Fortune 1000 companies . Who would know better than Fortune 1000 companies have problems luring suitable employees, with the unemployment rate at 7.2%?
Why does this matter to small business owners?
Two reasons. Difficulty filling STEM jobs affects more than the companies in those industries. According to Bayer:
Unfilled STEM jobs appear to be bad for business, regardless of whether or not you’re a STEM company. Roughly half of the talent recruiters report their belief that unfilled STEM jobs at their companies have resulted in “lower productivity” (56 percent) and “limits to business growth” (47 percent). Slightly more than one-third (35 percent) report “lower revenue” due to these STEM job vacancies.
A quick example would be under-staffed IT departments. We all know the nightmare of a sudden computer problem derailing a day or more of work.
Secondly, if Fortune 1000 companies, with the prestige of their brand names, as well as being the top 1000 companies by revenue, are unable to attract STEM talent as new hires, small to medium companies will surely be facing similar challenges.
Bayer’s full 16th Facts of Science Education Survey results were presented live in Washington DC just yesterday, and the highlights are highlighted in the infographics below. More of the data is available on their site - the executive summary opens with an overview of both sides of the STEM talent scarcity debate.
Click each infographic for a larger version.