In PGi’s latest infographic, “The Case for Systematic Change,” we shared some startling numbers about the current STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) job market. While applicants outnumber non-STEM positions 3.6 to 1, the opposite is true for STEM positions: they outnumber applicants nearly 2 to 1! This disparity is due to a lack of emphasis on STEM fields in education, but a number of groups, including GirlStart and Junior Achievement, are looking to bridge that educational gap for today’s youth.
From a business perspective, today’s workplace is undeniably technology driven. Our work lives revolve around laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, email, project management apps, collaboration apps, customer relationship management apps—the list is practically endless! Regardless of your educational background, job role or industry, a certain level of technological comfort and know-how are required to get work done.
Finding STEM Leaders
STEM leaders in your company may have a variety of unique roles and backgrounds, even if they didn’t initially get started in a science, technology, engineering or math discipline. Take Nikki Santoro, who I recently interviewed about her unique work background and STEM education. Nikki didn’t necessarily pursue STEM specifically; however after several years working closely with the development teams at Microsoft, she gained the knowledge necessary to work and communicate effectively with technically minded teams. The impact of this knowledge was so effective that she’s now managing entire product teams herself for PGi, combining her skills as a product manager with the tools and know-how required to coordinate and collaborate with developers and designers.
Certain departments such as IT are uniquely positioned to drive home the value of STEM knowledge and innovation in the workplace. They understand how even a surface-level knowledge of technology can immensely improve a worker’s efficiency and productivity and empower them to communicate more effectively across disciplines, while also reducing the support strain on IT teams. IT can contribute to a workforce’s overall understanding of STEM concepts through simple, fun ways, such as a Tech Tip of the Week or even providing casual training sessions people can attend (the “lunch and learn” is always a popular choice).
Effectively Communicating with STEM Professionals
Effective communication is an invaluable part of business; we’ve all seen tasks completed incorrectly or priorities mixed up all due to simple misunderstandings. One of the biggest challenges for any worker is communicating effectively with coworkers outside of your team or functional role. Having an even basic knowledge of workflows, technology capabilities and limitations, and general technical terminology can make a world of difference when trying to convey information or ask questions.
For more great insights and statistics on STEM education, check out PGi’s STEM infographic today!