As we dive deeper into Industry 4.0, STEM workers are needed across all companies and organisations, even those that are outside of a STEM field. Business owners should always have the big picture in mind when hiring staff, thinking of their needs now as well as their needs in five or 10 years’ time. Data, logistics, analytics and more will only continue to grow in importance as time goes on, meaning it’s vital to draw in the STEM talent you need for the future, today. 

At the same time, it can seem near impossible to recruit STEM talent when it they naturally flock towards companies like Google or one of the Big 4. In fact, an Ai Group survey of 3000 businesses found that nearly half of them were having difficulty recruiting technicians and trade workers with STEM skills. This situation is only set to worsen, as it is estimated that by 2020 there will be more jobs in tech than there are people to fill them. 

This means companies will face more competition than ever before when it comes to recruiting STEM candidates. HR managers and senior team members will need to get potential job-seekers on their radar from the get-go, and focus on building relationships to funnel candidates towards your organisation. 

There is, however, some good news for companies looking to recruit STEM talent. According to the Census Bureau, 74% of American STEM college graduates are in non-STEM jobs in industries such as healthcare, law, education and social work. This means that non-STEM companies do have a unique value proposition that can attract STEM talent – the challenge is how to harness these qualities to attract talent.  

Offer career design 

Often what first catches the eye of STEM graduates are the elaborate office perks offered by big corporations. However, long term career benefits are what will keep STEM talent at an organisation for longer. The opportunity to design one’s own career though projects and innovation time should be central to your offering, as well as flexible working conditions. Candidates will be drawn to the opportunity to diversify their skill set, enhance their exposure and improve their resume. As a smaller company, you will be able to offer more career customisation than a larger company with rigid policies in place, so it’s important that you emphasise this during the networking and recruiting processes. Not only will such flexibility attract STEM talent, but it will also generate benefits for your company in the form of increased innovation among your team. 

Build relationships early on 

Gaining top-of-mind awareness with future jobseekers is a brilliant way of introducing your company to a future talent pool. This can be done by becoming involved on campus (such as by sponsoring events or appearing at Open Days or Career Fairs), working with local educational institutions to offer internships and apprenticeships, or putting on workshops and hackathons. Sending alums back to their campus to conduct talks or workshops can also help in recruiting efforts, as they will be able to relate to students better than a career advisor or HR manager could. 

By building relationships early on, you can build a pipeline of candidates who will have your company at the forefront of their minds upon graduating, as well as gain short-term benefit from the extra support provided by interns and apprentices.

Focus on purpose and work culture 

Young STEM workers are more likely to be driven by purpose over profit, and as a smaller organisation, you can focus on your company’s purpose and culture to retain candidates who care. Purpose-driven organisations also tend to see better financial results, with this change of focus offering your company numerous benefits. 

Young people are also drawn to companies that promote a culture of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, and will prefer small businesses and startups over major corporations if they can offer this. 

However, there may be cases where, despite your best efforts, you fail to recruit as much STEM talent as you need due to the sheer level of competition. To prevent your company from suffering a skills shortage in the near future, begin retraining and upskilling your existing staff. This will equip your existing staff with the skills needed to stay relevant and employable as technology continues to evolve, while allowing you to mould your employees to your exact business requirements. According to an American study conducted by Modis, 38% of respondents said they would go back to school in a STEM field if it guaranteed better career prospects, indicating that many workers are indeed open to a career change but don’t feel they have the required skills. By training these individuals on the job, employers can reduce their overall recruiting and hiring costs and can better future-proof their business. 

Those who don’t equip their organisations with the relevant skills will simply fall by the wayside.

Ai Group Talent Solutions help businesses future-proof themselves by providing innovative STEM talent solutions required for the digital workforce, including upskilling for your existing team. Contact one of our experts today to discuss further.  

E: talent@aigroup.com.au

P: 1300 436 088