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Top reasons to consider a career in the STEM fields

STEM is the term that loosely connects the educational paths and related careers brought together by science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM jobs cover a number of fields, from research to finance, construction, medicine, manufacturing and - of course - IT. IT roles such as information security analysts or systems developers are excellent examples of STEM skills in practical action.

Almost every UK organisation today needs people with STEM skills – in fact, according to CBI statistics, 72% of UK businesses rely on people with STEM skills, and figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills claim that 58% of all new jobs will be STEM-related.

What’s more, despite an uncertain economic future, STEM jobs are out there for the taking and because there is currently a shortfall (CBI figures from 2015 suggest that 52% of UK firms are experiencing a lack of staff with relevant STEM experience), if you’re prepared to study for an appropriate degree and follow a STEM career you’ll stand a better chance of getting a good job. US studies have also shown that the gender pay gap is smaller in STEM fields than in others, and also that STEM careers are more racially and gender diverse.

Perhaps the key reason to consider a career in a STEM field is how far your core skills will take you. Intermediate and advanced STEM skills are economically valuable and while specialist knowledge (particularly in the sciences) is vital to certain careers, general STEM skills such as research methodology, problem-solving, maths and statistics are desirable and transferable. And yes, we all know that technology is advancing all the time, but these key non-tech disciplines will always be valuable. These critical thinking skills are also useful in “real life”, helping you organise your personal finances, for example. Of course, technological progress is also an excellent reason to follow a STEM career path: if you’re at the cutting edge of healthcare research or AI you’ll be making a genuine difference to millions of lives around the world.

And here’s a bonus: figures from the USA suggest that STEM degrees actually boost your salary: the website study.com claims that 47% of people with a BSc in a STEM subject will earn more than those with a PhD in a non-STEM field.

So, there are plenty of reasons to consider a STEM role, but while this blog has concentrated on degrees, there are other paths towards STEM occupations – for example, in the UK, the CBI is particularly keen on boosting apprenticeships in relevant industries.

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