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STEM jobs growing almost twice as fast as other jobs

Jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are growing significantly faster than other occupations, analysis shows.

Analysis of labour force data by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business shows that between November 2014 and November 2019, employment in STEM occupations grew by 19.7%, which is 1.9 times higher than the growth rate for other occupations.

Chart: Employment growth by occupation group, Cumulative change since November 2014

DateSTEM OccupationsNon-STEM Occupations
Nov-20140.00.0
Feb-20151.50.3
May-20152.60.9
Aug-20153.21.6
Nov-20153.42.2
Feb-20163.22.6
May-20163.12.9
Aug-20163.53.1
Nov-20164.33.6
Feb-20175.44.3
May-20176.55.3
Aug-20177.76.3
Nov-20178.96.8
Feb-201810.27.1
May-201811.37.4
Aug-201812.47.9
Nov-201813.58.7
Feb-201914.69.5
May-201916.59.9
Aug-201918.610.2
Nov-201919.710.2

Looking ahead, this trend is set to continue. Over the five years to May 2024, the department projects STEM occupations will grow by 11.6% (303,200 people), whereas all other jobs are projected to grow at 7.5% (771,800 people) over the same period.

Yet, recent findings from the department’s Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences highlight that a majority of employers (56%) have difficulty recruiting for STEM occupations, compared to 41% for all other jobs. The main reason cited was applicants lacking the technical skills or qualifications required for the job.

Labour Market Analyst Ivan Neville encouraged anyone considering a career in STEM to carefully research what skills and qualifications employers expect.

“This will help you choose the right pathway and give you the best chance to succeed in the STEM jobs market,” Ivan said.

“Resources such as the ‘Pathways’ information available on the Job Outlook website enable you to figure out how to train, study and equip yourself for the career you’d like. Simply search ‘STEM jobs’ and find a list of the different careers demanding these skills.”

The 108 STEM occupations, as classified by the department based on labour market analysis, tend to be higher-skilled relative to all other jobs.

At November 2019, 73.9% or 2 million people employed in STEM occupations worked in a job with a skill level commensurate with a bachelor degree or higher, compared with just 21.6 % of people employed in non-STEM occupations.

The remaining 26.1% of people employed in STEM occupations worked in either:

  • Skill Level 2 occupations (229,900 people), commensurate with an Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or
  • Skill Level 3 occupations (477,100 people), commensurate with a Certificate III or Certificate IV.

Chart: Distribution of skill-level requirement by occupation group 2019

Distribution of skill-level requirement by occupation group
Skill LevelSTEM OccupationsNon-STEM Occupations
Skill Level 173.921.6
Skill Level 28.511.7
Skill Level 317.613.8
Skill Level 40.032.0
Skill Level 50.020.8

Given the recent and projected future employment growth of STEM occupations, Ivan encouraged anyone planning their next career move to consider building skills in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“There will be rambunctious growth in job opportunities available in these fields. STEM related skills are likely to provide a solid foundation for a successful career,” Ivan said.

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Correct at time of publication

Last modified on Tuesday 24 March 2020 [10592|124636]