Surviving The STEM Shortage

Michelle Rafter at Workforce delves into the difficulties many American companies face in finding workers with science and technology backgrounds, and what they’re doing to cope:

Executives such as [Craig Technologies’ HR director Michael] Higgins maintain there are enough U.S. STEM workers — at least in some fields if they can coax them away from their current jobs. Others are bumping up against honest-to-goodness deficits, especially in highly sought-after tech fields, that are causing skyrocketing pay and even auctions for the right for recruiters to fill positions. They predict the situation could get worse in 2016 given the nation’s unemployment rate is forecast to dip as low as 4.5 percent.

Some recruiters and industry insiders argue that the country’s STEM jobs problem is exacerbated by companies’ outdated attitudes toward talent acquisition. They maintain too many companies refuse to drop strategies adopted during the recession when labor supply outstripped demand by so much that employers could find candidates with the exact skills they needed and didn’t have to offer training to get new hires up to speed.

Though the recession is long since past, the economy and workforce are changing so fast that companies remain extra conservative about spending on training, said Rosemarie Christopher, president and CEO at MEIRxRS, a STEM staffing, recruiting and search group in Glendale, California, that fills regulatory, clinical research and medical affairs positions.