Tech skills crucial to the rise of the STE(A)M job market

DataIQ News

Technology skills are dominating the expansion of the so-called STE(A)M (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) job market, according to research commissioned by education charity EDT.

As part of a wide-ranging study, supported by global technology company Leonardo, Emsi analysed the key skills posted in job ads for STE(A)M occupations during 2017, identifying those skills/occupation pairings that achieved more than 18,000 job postings during the year.

The study shows that of the major STE(A)M skill categories for which jobs were posted in 2017, 87% were technology related, with engineering and manufacturing jobs the only other major contributor to these new jobs at 11%.

It shows that programming and software development skills hugely in the lead at 53% of these jobs, demand for web design skills at 18% and more general IT skills, such as specialist IT managers and systems designers, at 16%.

The only other skills making an impact include engineering, operations and management skills in the manufacturing sector, registering 11% of job postings.

EDT chief executive Julie Feest said: "Even though I am from the tech sector, I was surprised just how dominant the demand for tech skills were over other STE(A)M skills. The lesson for those looking to prepare young people for careers in the industries of the future is that, within a rounded education, young people must learn and understand tech skills and be encouraged to specialise in these skills as they progress towards further and higher education.

"EDT's experience is that there is no substitute for giving young people experiences of industry where they can see these skills being used in real situations and can try their hand at projects which teach them the possibilities of tech. Equally important is that such experiences are repeated regularly through a young person's school career, not just a 'one off' experience.

"We are already aware of the genuine difficulty tech companies have in attracting people with the right skills. Unless we can work with education to significantly expand the number of young people who see tech as their career future, then we will miss the opportunity to consolidate the UK's position as a world leader in tech."

Leonardo UK HR director Clive Higgins added: "Industry has an obligation to support parents and teachers, so that they understand that the technology sector represents a significant opportunity for young people in terms of rewarding and fulfilling employment. We are keen that all stakeholders recognise the value of a technology centric education system and the benefits this can bring. The current emphasis on broadening technology education is fully supported by these statistics, which also demonstrates how vital it will continue to be for future UK growth and prosperity."