The Canadian workplace is changing, and so are the skills that employers require.
Beyond the traditional career paths that call for a background in science, technology, engineering and math, employers are looking for the skills that STEM helps to foster. A STEM education is desired across a wide range of sectors, some quite unexpected.
As students contemplate their careers, there are four points that young people need to know about the value of STEM learning:
It leads directly to job opportunities that are on the rise.
Statistics Canada reports employment growth in health, natural and applied sciences and related occupations, as well as in trades and related occupations.
Consider these statistics: between 2001 and 2011, employment in health occupations rose by 35%. In natural and applied sciences, the growth rate was 20%. And in the trades and related occupations, employment rose by more than 10%
Tomorrow is looking even brighter in this respect—between 2009 and 2018, almost 75% of new jobs will be in high-skill occupations, and two-thirds of job openings will be in management or require some type of post-secondary education.
Youth need to recognize the range of paths that are accessible through STEM learning. From the lab to the trades, manufacturing to resources, the front lines to management positions, there are endless career possibilities.
STEM-related jobs are well compensated.
Not only do STEM-related jobs pay well today, the wages are continuing to grow.
According to Statistics Canada, the average hourly wage for natural science and related occupations, health occupations, and trades and related occupations all grew by healthy margins from 2001 to 2011.
In fact, wages in these job categories grew well beyond the inflation rate in many cases. For the job seekers of tomorrow, the areas of employment that are in high demand also happen to be ones with attractive compensation.
Just about any career, in any field, benefits from STEM learning.
What are employers really looking for?
Among many sought-after skills, employers often look for the ability to solve problems and make decisions, obtain and process information, and analyze data—all of those happen to be a byproduct of STEM learning.
Yes, STEM learning is about a knowledge base including facts, concepts, and theories—but it’s about much more than that too. The nature of what STEM learning demands of students—probing, investigating, communicating—can help train their thinking in all sorts of ways that pay off in life and at work.
The bottom line? Young people who have a high-quality STEM education will be highly employable—in occupations they might not even envision yet.
Keep an open mind…and keep your options open.
In many ways, STEM education is the “secret to success” across multiple industries and positions. It provides a toolbox that can be applied to help access a dream job and achieve a fulfilling career.
Students don’t always realize this when they’re younger—many adults find they have to return to school because they lack the tools STEM prerequisites they need to access the opportunities they want.
While high-school students might recognize that STEM learning is beneficial in theory for the jobs of the future, they aren’t always putting that understanding into practice. We need young people to think in terms of careers—you can open a world of possibility with STEM learning.
Source: Spotlight on Science Learning: A Benchmark of Canadian Talent