STEM (science, engineering, maths and technology) sector employers are crying out for new recruits to join their ranks, but are having to face the reality of a gulf between the demand and supply of skilled candidates.

Launched this week by Semta – an organisation which ‘is responsible for engineering skills for the future’ – the STEM Alliance hopes to take a multi-thronged approach to tackling STEM skills shortages, forging partnerships with industry and educational institutions in the process.

Highlighting the scale of the recruitment challenge encountered by the STEM sector as the STEM Alliance made its debut, Allan Cook, Chairman of Semta, said: “The skills gap is not impending, it is here now,” added Mr Cook, who is also Chairman of the engineering design group Atkins.

“The companies I work for are having trouble recruiting and motivating the graduates we need, the technicians we need and the apprentices we need. It is a fact this is stifling growth.”

Approximately 90% of the 138,000 firms represented by Semta argue that not enough is being done to attract and retain the latest generation of STEM talent.

Boosting STEM skills is a joint responsibility

With 160,000 STEM students needed each year to meet demand, Mr Cook went on to highlight that education and industry must work jointly to nurture the STEM talent pipeline.

“It is not down to education and schools, it isn’t down to government, and it isn’t down to employers. We have a joint responsibility to be able to satisfy this demand.”

The alliance hopes to pave the way for more young people to enter the STEM sector by carrying out the following measures:

  • Raising awareness of STEM vocational education to attract a greater number of new entrants
  • Get those who are currently working in the sector to work in tandem with HR departments to create a sector-wide recruitment and retention guide
  • Support current teachers of STEM subjects through workshops
  • Establish a register of companies that are willing to commit to helping teachers keep their STEM skills up to date via work placements, secondments and visits

If you are keen to recruit talented STEM graduates for your range of roles, Discovery Graduates can help with all stages of the graduate recruitment process, including attraction, recruitment and retention.