The Future is STEM
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The Future is STEM
STEM refers to any discipline that lies under the umbrella of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, STEM is so much more than that. STEM develops critical thinking skills, assists in problem-solving, and instills a passion for innovation, all of which will help individuals to succeed in any of their future endeavors. These valuable skills combined with the substantial projected growth of STEM jobs in the future are why it is increasingly important for individuals to get involved in STEM professions.
Looking from a post-pandemic standpoint, total employment of STEM professionals is projected to increase in several developed countries by the year 2030, in comparison to occupations such as sales and food services which are expected to decrease in employment . As a matter of fact, COVID-19 will actually cause STEM occupations to grow at a faster rate than was predicted before the pandemic. This vast projected increase is a result of the increasing attention to healthcare as well as an increasing demand for individuals who are capable of creating innovative and advanced technologies .
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences is expected to grow by 8.4% in the next decade if considering a moderate pandemic impact going forward . Employment in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing is projected to grow by 19% in the next decade  due to the growing demand for more advanced medical technologies. Prior to the pandemic, employment growth in computer systems design and related services was predicted to grow by 26.1% in the next decade which was already much higher than the average projected growth for all other industries, 3.7% . Taking the impact of the pandemic into account, the projected employment growth increased to 29% in the next decade for computer systems design and related services due to the increasing demand for IT support systems and cybersecurity . In addition, the pandemic is projected to accelerate the adoption of automation and AI, especially in workplaces that have high levels of physical proximity in order to maintain safer work environments .
Due to the fact that the pandemic had such an immense negative impact on low-wage jobs, the majority of the labour demand is expected to grow in high-wage jobs. This means that most displaced low-wage workers will need to shift to higher-wage jobs if they wish to remain employed in the future . More specifically, labour demand will grow in STEM jobs as they pay approximately 99% more than all others . On top of the higher wages, 70% of employers view STEM qualified professionals as being the most valuable employees, even in work areas that aren’t STEM focused . As a result of these inevitable occupational shifts and overall value to the workforce, it is crucial that STEM education and skills are integrated in learning from a young age, in order to better prepare the next generation for a more STEM dominant workforce in the future.
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