STEM, which refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, is becoming a broadly recognized acronym. The Girl Scouts recently began awarding 23 new STEM badges, including  topics such as robot or race car design, and coding. Consequently, the organization is gaining meaningful exposure. The good news is there will be increased opportunities for all STEM-skilled job seekers in the coming years.

Trends in 2018 

U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statics predicts that occupations related to STEM will add about one million new jobs between up to 2022. It is estimated that about half of all STEM jobs do not require bachelor’s degree and one “third of all STEM jobs are in blue-collar occupations”. Because of increasing demand for skilled workers, and earning potential, STEM careers are expected to have great expansion prospects in the coming years, and in 2018 in particular.

Earning a STEM degree seems like a good investment. In the report STEM 2026, the U.S. Department of Education introduces ideas on how to prepare future students for the workforce with STEM-focused education.  STEM-skilled graduates will then be  in high demand in all job sectors because of their knowledge, skills and abilities.The Vast majority (93 out of 100) of STEM occupations have wages above the national average. With an average yearly salary of $87,570, it represents nearly double  the national average compared to other non-STEM jobs with yearly earnings of $45,700.

Women and minorities in STEM

Unfortunately, racial/ethnic minorities and women are still underrepresented in most of the STEM fields. Women represent only 29% in science, 25% in mathematical sciences, 22% in environmental science, 15% in engineering,17% in chemical engineering, or 11% in electrical or computer hardware engineering. Additionally, only 1 in 10 of employed scientists or engineers are minority women. This gap will persist, according to an analysis by RAND corporation and American Petroleum Institute.

White men dominate this industry because women and minorities are less likely to pursue STEM majors.  Even when they do, they are less likely to graduate or to switch out of STEM majors prior to graduation. These disparities are likely to persist in the following years. Overall, STEM jobs will continue to be financially attractive. The biggest challenge is that among all people earning STEM degrees, only about 40% will actually work in STEM fields.

Further trends in STEM 2018 include:

Spread of technology and digital platforms

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Innovative technologies

Internet of Things