There is no denying that the United States is no longer quite as dominant as it once was on the world stage. Sure, we continue to flex our power in global politics and in the economy, but when it comes to developing future leaders we’re falling behind by not a small margin.
In all studies that look at the various standardized tests the United States is middle of the pack. We aren’t graduating nearly as many scientists, mathematicians, engineers or environmentalists as other countries, which might lead to other parts of the world heading the charge into next generation innovations in all the important industries.
At one time the U.S. led the way in the space program, which gave this country a powerful position in many other areas. Imagine if the major breakthrough in alternative energy came out of China or India? Suffice to say there is a gap, and if you are so inclined, you could step in to fill it.
Those who graduate with a degree in one of the sciences or in one of the practical applications of technology are poised to make a real, lasting difference in the world, not only today but moving forward as well.
There is a huge demand for individuals trained in a STEM field. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and those that excel in one or more of those subjects will find an easy path to career success.
The problem is, there is a real STEM talent gap happening in this country. STEM jobs make up almost 6% of all careers in the United States, but the supply of individuals well trained in these areas is just not keeping up with expanding demand.
So if the U.S. hopes to continue competing on the world stage, it’s going to be up to the next generation to do something about it.
So why should you take on that mantle of responsibility? Well, it does come with some serious perks. First off, you can expect to make a really nice yearly salary in a STEM career.
When you look at all jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, you’ll see an annual salary in the neighborhood of $78,000.
Compare that to the average income in the United States, currently around $43,000, and it’s clear the STEM worker can expect to be more than comfortable. In fact, many STEM jobs come with six-figure salaries and the opportunity to progress into leadership positions.
Working within a STEM career is also incredibly stable. While the national unemployment rate continues to be much higher than most experts are comfortable with, companies in the STEM sector continue to hire.
You can expect a low unemployment rate to stay that way, and more job security than most other people can hope for. So why would anyone go another route? Part of the issue is actually job defection.
Talented STEM professionals regularly leave that career for others, working in the private sector, in politics or internationally. On top of that, you have a dearth of support in math, science and technology education for female and minority students.
Those segments of the population are rarely encouraged to pursue these fields, which leads to them being incredibly underrepresented in the STEM marketplace. Finding a way to balance this out would certainly make a difference.
Regardless of your personal passion within the STEM workforce, you can expect to find opportunities wherever you may go in life. Unlike other fields, which are often centered in very particular geographic regions, STEM jobs exist in every country in the world.
Demand for those jobs is expected to be more than 2% higher than any other job over the next decade. With that level of opportunity out there, you can feel comfortable planning any sort of large move, even if you’ve yet to pass the certificate IV in training and assessment.
Take a long look at STEM career paths. If you want a challenge, if you hope to innovate in your field, or if you want to work at a cutting edge company, you’ll find more opportunity through this path than any other.