In fact, let’s talk more broadly about STEM, baby.

Untitled design(1)It’s the World Science Festival in our home town of Brisbane this month so what better time to talk about the need for a focus on STEM in our future workforce.

Digital technologies is one of the fastest growing parts of Australia’s economy and yet the number of graduates with science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) qualifications has declined.

A report by Deloitte and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) found that the economic contribution from digital technologies grew in the past three years to a 5.1% share of Australia’s GDP – from $50 billion in 2011 to $79 billion in 2013-14.

Despite the strong growth in demand, Australia has a declining rate of STEM-related tertiary course completions which, according to the AI Group have decreased over the past 10 years from 22 per cent to 16 per cent.

52% of ICT workers are in industries outside ICT itself.

Today, where technology increasingly permeates everything we do, in nearly every profession, we need to ensure there is an adequate workforce equipped with the necessary STEM skills. Currently 52% of ICT workers are in industries outside ICT itself, including professional services, public administration and financial services. This creates an enormous opportunity for students considering a career in ICT.

So why are the number of STEM graduates declining?

According to the ACS we need to boost both awareness and opportunity around ICT skills development. Promoting a better vision of today’s technical paths within an organisation will make technology positions more attractive to graduates.

“We need to look beyond stereotypes and see the future ICT professional with new eyes, with digital disruption creating jobs requiring ICT skills within a diverse range of sectors and professions. The data shows there is huge versatility in ICT.” – ACS CEO Andrew Johnson

How do organisations particularly in the tech industry attract these graduates, and also encourage more students to enter the field? The changes technology has brought about in our lives is remarkable and this is something we need to get across to potential students, that these tech skills can be used to tackle problems that matter to them and in so doing build a career with purpose. Make it a part of your communications strategy to engage with universities and training organisations and get involved with mentoring programs to build some excitement around tech.

More about the author – Caroline Murphy, OTM consultant.

Isabel Taylor

About Isabel Taylor

It is not hard to love what you do when you are working in a great team, in a fantastic location, with progressive clients! Working with OTM I am able to support clients to engage with both internal and external stakeholders through a variety of different communication strategies. I spend my days doing digital marketing, creating content, implementing strategies, managing campaigns, delivering events, monitoring analytics and creating client reports, directing creative, mentoring our new team members...and so much more.